Sometimes I see a title, or a trailer and I think to myself ‘this is probably awful, but I should give it a chance’. I really need to stop doing that! With that said I reluctantly need to talk about Platypossum the movie.
Kids are playing hide and seek, find a dead fish, and poke it with a stick. Then we get the credits… Never see the kids again. The rest of the movie follows the plot of a transplant from Australia or New Zealand living in the American Midwest. He has a platypus that he brought with him so that he can have sex with it. The platypus gets loose and has sex with a possum in a pool of chemical waste that has surfaced due to fracking. This creates a hybrid Platypossum monster that starts killing off the locals. There is a big fight and then the movie is over.
Whenever I review and independent movie that I like I always note that I have to dig thru a pile of god-awful ones to get to anything decent. This is one of those and I really hated it and myself for sitting thru it. But I have a rule and that is if I start something, I have to finish it. So, if this review sounds a bit angry, I apologize. Here we go.
Let me list the mistakes that this movie makes. First, they don’t have enough material for a feature film. I will keep beating this dead horse but if you are an independent filmmaker the only thing not limited by budget is your story. Make sure you have a fully fleshed out script before picking the camera up! For most of this movie the scenes switch back and forth between random characters walking in the woods talking to each other. When I say talking, I mean horrible dialogue filled with awkwardly delivered lines and jokes that aren’t funny. After boring the viewer for a few minutes, they meet up with the Platypossum and get killed. This gets repeated a couple of times.
The other scenes have the same antifracking crusader talking science and explaining why fracking is bad. I don’t necessarily disagree with that but if I want to see someone talking in front of a digital camera with poor lighting and even worse sound, I’ll tune into my local cable access channel. There are some funny bits with the guy who loves his platypus and the men that work for him, but it is buried in all of this other nonsense and really is about fifteen minutes worth of material.
Second, I’ve already mentioned that the sound and audio is bad. I don’t think I can stress enough exactly how bad it is though. I found myself fiddling with the volume as the dialogue between characters is at radically different levels. This is a rookie mistake and shows that they had one mic and that it wasn’t placed an equal distance between the actors. Thus, the different levels of audio. They also clearly didn’t have any idea how to light a scene because at times the interiors are too dark and at others washed out. I get that some people want to make an excuse that this is an independent filmmaker shooting without a budget, but these are basics that you should know how to do before making your movie. Just because you have a camera doesn’t mean you are a filmmaker. Learn your craft before shooting and trying to sell your “movie” to the public.
Finally learn how to edit. The transitions between scenes are awkward and you actually get noticeable black screens between the scenes. Not just when the action moves from one location to the other but while people are walking along! To do this shit right takes a few minutes poking around menus on a fifty-dollar piece of software. How lazy can you be? A bigger and much worse mistake is to make the movie ninety-one freaking minutes long! I see this all the time with independent filmmakers. They fall in love with their material and refuse to cut it. There is a lot of garbage here that serves no purpose at all. Cut the annoying science lady and her anti fracking crusade right out. I mean it isn’t going to save the movie, but it would lessen the pain… a little.
I could go on about the horrible use of green screen and the acting, which is atrocious, but I think by now you are getting the point. The only thing that I did appreciate about the movie was that they used a very basic sort of stop motion effect to bring the creature to life on the screen. That sort of old school monster was a nice touch. That isn’t enough to justify sitting thru Platypossum. Please make my sacrifice worth it and stay far away.
© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer
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