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Clone

Image // Unrated // August 8, 2006
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted September 15, 2006 | E-mail the Author
In the aftermath of World War III humanity is on the verge of extinction; due to nuclear fallout, every living person is rendered infertile. Four years after the death of his daughter, a mourning Chancellor Derek Strombourgh (Jeff St. Clair) has come close to bringing life to thousands of clones, but needs a specific DNA in order to render them cognizant as well as rational- thus the only hope for the human race lies within the consciousness of one man, idealistic student Orin Stalward (Bill Caco) who seems to have the right genetic makeup. Meanwhile an underground rebellion is taking place- a terrorist-type war against his new world order regime is being waged by anti-government anarchists, determined on not allowing such power to fall into Strombourgh's hands.

This is one morass of a movie. The premise is somewhat interesting and I was looking forward to it, hoping for a decent post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, even if it were of the made for cable quality. Well, this movie isn't quite that good. It attempts to set an Orwellian ambiance and blend it with the kind of unrest one might watch, say, in Total Recall, while also employing decent special effects to keep the viewer's attention. The premise of needing one person in order to bring something akin to a soul to these dormant hunks of flesh is hard to really wrap one's mind around; add to that the subplots wandering in and out of the movie- Strombourgh is a character I'm not sure whether to root for or against in his efforts to save humanity. At times his aim seems valiant, but in the next scene we see him covering up some snafu to the public at hand, bringing in that perception one is watching a variation on "1984". Still again we see him as an emotional wreck, grieving over the loss of his young daughter years before, living in a world of indifferent, self-indulgent people who fear they are the last generation, and wanting to bring the beauty of children and procreation into the world again. Problem is, the society of the world that "Clone" presents seems one that might not appreciate that kind of beauty even if Strombourgh proves to be successful. Its a cold, bloodless story of a world that I'm not sure is worth saving, and leading a viewer to that mindset makes for a rather unpleasant entertainment experience.

Not only did I have trouble following the plot with all its meanderings and high mindedness, I couldn't decide when the effects were headed towards good or bad; at times camera lighting seems to do some very interesting work, but at others this looks like a television pilot trying to stretch every dollar in order to get the thing made. Sets are at best uninteresting and as often as not less praiseworthy than that, buildings looking utterly military housing project ornate, larger sets looking like the inside of a mall. Acting? Its bad. It isn't just one particular actor, its most everyone I saw on the screen, actors giving readings that seem to come from reading the script on their way to the shooting, but not knowing what inflections the director is calling for. No one stands out for me here; all the characters here seem unremarkable in both presence and execution of their roles.



Video-

Aspect ratio here is 2.00:1 widescreen. Given the manner in which the film was shot the picture is fine; there is some odd haze here and there, and colors could be better, but this was a movie shot very inexpensively and for the cost looks great.



Audio-

Available audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Surround Sound and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. All three are adequate, the best being the DTS track.



Extras-

Commentary by Director Jason J Tomaric- A good track, Tomaric gives us insight on all manner of Clone related facts from a number of perspectives, what with the film being such a close project to him personally.
Commentary by Production Designer Greg McDougall- McDougall talks at length about the efforts that went into making the film look the way Tomaric's vision played out on the storyboard. If you like the film you'll find it of interest, but too dry for me to sit through.
Deleted Scenes- There are six deleted scenes; an alternate opening and ending, Joshua Adam's Fest, Alan Kingsley, and After The Attack; total time for all is about 12 minutes and it isn't hard to see why they were snipped away from the movie.
"Making Of Clones" Featurette- Clocking in at 45 minutes, this documentary gives the viewer some insight into the conception of this film from young Ohio native Tomaric, how he was able to squeeze so much high tech from so little money spent, and the difficulties in doing so. Featuring many of the main actors and film staff, this is a feel good piece and gives one a better idea as to how much effort went into the filming of Clone; 7 years in production with tons of footage shot over and over again, its amazing the movie was made for $25,000.



Final Thoughts-

I tend to be a forgiving reviewer, but this film just left me cold. There are bound to be many supporters of the movie as it does have a rather inspired background and the overall concept is quite ambitious, especially when one notes that the film was made in Cleveland, Ohio by basically a group of filmmakers and actors who were learning as they went. I understand that the film has an interesting history, being conceived and shot very inexpensively. Unfortunately, the storyline is a plodding, confusing mess, I personally didn't care for the visual effects, and the acting seemed uninspired. Skip it.
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