Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2,000th Post Celebration: Actium Maximus- War of the Alien Dinosaurs

I've made a terrible mistake.  After 1,999 Posts, I have finally bitten the bullet on one of the worst pieces of shit ever made.  This film stands strongly beside such films as Jaws in Japan, Hobgoblins 2, Good-Bye Uncle Tom and Traces of Death.  The film- Actium Maximus: War of the Alien Dinosaurs.  Using the rule of 'silly title = bad film' (usually), you know that you can't expect anything good.  Well, it's worse than you could ever imagine.  This film fails in pretty much ever major way.  Cinematography- yes.  Writing- yes.  Special Effects- BIG YES.  This is essentially Mark Hicks' big, epic film....but it's all set-up.  This may or may not have been a Pilot for a TV Show.  Regardless of what it may have been planned, it makes for an awful film being given a terrible ending (more on that later).  In hindsight, I 'planned' this well, as I reviewed an Australian film that I love for my 1,999th Post and am now covering a shit Australian film.  The 'story' is all about the Actium Maximus...or is it about the leader of the planet battling a mostly-unseen resistance...or is it about his assistant going to a different planet to get some new alien dinosaurs.  Unfortunately, the answer is 'yes' to all of them.  I blame Bob for convincing me to torture myself with this film instead of doing something like 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  His penance was watching it with me.  I'll let him say his peace on the film in the Comments. For now, enjoy my pain and read on...
The film builds up to the initial reveal of the titular Alien Dinosaurs (even if they are actually excised from the Title- see above).  Are you ready?
Oh dear God- my eyes!  This...this is what you went with?  Really?
Oh wow- you got it even worse.  What's next- visible strings?

SPOILER Alert: there are LOTS of visible strings too.
Our villain is this Dalek-lite thing that runs the Planet, but faces resistance from some calamari-looking aliens. At least, they keep telling us that they do.
Who's our hero?  If you guessed 'nobody,' then you'd be right.

Instead of that, there's this guy going to an alien planet to retrieve some more creatures.  Oh and this lady who was apparently added to the shot in Post-Production.  Why?  It's one of the few real sets!!!
The whole 'aliens are trying to kill the villain' plot finally has some merit when one manages to shoot and...um, wound it.  It doesn't die, but uses it as an excuse to kill more of them.

Nah, just kidding.  Instead, they just TELL US that it's doing that.  Tell, don't show?
I'd like to just stop this Review cold to randomly show you some of the cheap, model sets.  Why not?  They do it in the actual film, after all!!!
The film's two plots drag on for a while, before both reaching dramatic points.  The people looking for a new alien dinosaur get confronted by one...and just kind of stand there in fright.  Meanwhile, on Actium, another calamari-looking alien goes to attack the villain.  Naturally, this leads to...
...a cliffhanger ending?  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?
Allow me to sum up my feelings on this decision by Mark Hicks properly.  The End.
This is an insult to the word 'film.'  Let it first be said that I don't attack Mark Hicks for trying to make a film. I welcome people to try and make their own films, especially if they consider it to be their magnum opus.  While every one won't end up being like Kubrick or Spielberg's first films (for example), they will at least be their own.  That said- I wish Mark Hicks had not made Actium Maximus: War of the Alien Dinosaurs.  The reason is simple: he didn't make a film.  He seemingly-raised a small amount of money to basically make a book disguised as a film.  So much of the 'film's' run-time is built around just telling us the history of Actium ad nauseum.  If you want to do that, make a book!  As for the rest of it, it's two disparate stories that, again, would be fine as a book.  The split-narrative would be more acceptable if it was simply Chapters.  In a film, it comes off as needlessly-confusing for a film that already makes little sense.  Obviously the Special Effects would not be a huge deal if this were a Book too.  In a film, you need a lot of money to make all of this stuff 'come to life.'  He doesn't have that and he doesn't achieve that.  This is what I call the Tim Burton Problem, only on a very small scale.  Because of his success, Tim Burton appears to have no oversight on his films, leading to numerous issues with Writing, Pointless Scenes and a bit of Nepotism.  Mark Hicks plays a number of roles in the film and, as such, has nobody overseeing the production and second-guessing his choices.  The best thing I can say about this 'film' is that it has some good Music.  While it's generally entirely wrong for the scene in which it is placed, it is good at times.  Seriously, that's it.  In 1,000 posts, I've gone from the infamous (and flawed) Faces of Death to Actium Maximus.  Where will the next 1,000 take me?
Up next, I cover a film suggested to me via Project Terrible.  Surprisingly enough, I kind of dig it (in a weird way).  Stay tuned...


  1. Congrats!

    I can't even make out what is happening in those stills. That can't be a good sign; either my eyes are going or this movie looks like a big pile of jumbled ass.

    1. It definitely looks like a pile of jumbled ass.

  2. I was going to say exactly what Thomas said - I stared at some of those stills for 30 seconds or more and I still have no idea what I'm seeing. Terrible!

    1. It isn't any better in motion. (In fact, I'd say that it has to be even worse.)

  3. Oh man....this film hurt my feelings.

  4. Woot woot! Congrats to 2000 posts of cinematic magic and pure insanity! Let's drink to the next 2000 :-)

    btw, I'm really, really glad that you didn't gave me that one xD

  5. Congrats on your 2000th post!

    This movie looks just... just... well, as mentioned above "a jumbled pile of ass" really suits this movie best of all.

  6. Thanks for all the kind words everyone. This movie can really be described as 'jumbled ass.'

    With any luck, I'll get this blurb on a DVD like Maynard did. I would, of course immediately follow that up with tracking and destroying all copies of the actual DVD- just not the cases.