Sci-Fi London 3
The film list below represents the films Arthur went to see at this festival. For a full listing please visit the Sci Fi London 2004 website.
Special GuestsGreg Pak (Director of Robot Stories)
- Tamal 2010: A Punk Cat from Outer Space
- Robot Stories
- Goke: The Bodysnatcher
- Full Metal Yakuza
- Battle Heater
Arthur's Review of Sci-Fi London 3
This festival was of a mixed format. The main festival ran over a period of 4 or 5 days showing various different sci-fi films and viewers were able to buy tickets to each individually. However it also had several all night marathons showing 4 related films back to back. The archived website for this festival, giving full details of all the films shown, can be found at http://www.sci-fi-london.com/2004web/main.htm
When Arthur found out about the annual sci-fi film festival in London he knew he had to go. Contacting his friends who had all attended the 2000AD sci-fi festival the year before and enjoyed it, they all agreed on a selection of films to see from the list. There were several different all night options including Japanese animation, sci-fi/action and Japanese sci-fi/horror films. All were on the Saturday night. The group chose the Japanese films all nighter and also decided that a couple of the other individual films screening earlier in the day would also be worth seeing. It was also a good excuse to make a day of it and do a bit of shopping as well, visiting the various comic shops around the area.
The Cinema was the Curzon in Soho, a nice independent cinema right in the middle of London. Unfortunately of the 3 screens at the cinema, 2 of them were a bit small but they did all feature a THX sound system which was good (The cinema had originally been one massive screen but had been subdivided into 3 smaller ones some years earlier to cope with increased competition in the cinema market and to cater to smaller, art-house type audiences). The cinema also featured a nice big lounge area (which is always good for film festivals) and a bar.
Before each film started, they showed the Sci-Fi London film festival trailer and one of the Short films in competition at the festival (Arthur can't recall what these were but seems to remember one featuring some cheesy martial arts on the street of London in the style of a video game).
The 2 films seen during the day, Robot Stories and Tamala 2010 were both good in their own way. Robot Stories was 3 short stories with a robot/sci-fi theme. All three were good character and plot driven stories and demonstrated that sci-fi isn't always about special effects. Tamala can only be described as surreal, drug induced adult animation. Arthur cannot imagine why it hasn't been released on DVD outside of Japan yet.
After Tamala there was enough time for a visit to Pizza Hut for, unsurprisingly, some Pizza, before heading back to the cinema for the all night marathon. Remembering his Pro-plus related trauma from the 2000AD sci-fi event the year before, Arthur was a bit more careful when keeping himself awake this time, nibbling small doses of the pills during each film! During the intervals between films they also gave away free Red Bull (Arthur didn't have any as he hates all fizzy drinks) and mini tubs of Ben and Jerrys ice cream (which Arthur ate lots of because he likes ice cream).
The films at the all nighter were shown, somewhat disappointingly, via video projector rather than 35mm film (Arthur has a video projector at home and can watch it any time he wants). Saying that, it was a very good, high resolution, commercial video projector and didn't spoil the viewing experience too much.
The films were mostly of the "so bad they're good" variety. Goke was cheesy Japanese sci-fi from the 1960's and the terrible acting, bad dubbing and low tech special effects only added to its entertainment value. Full Metal Yakuza was a surreal Japanese film from Takashi Miike and featured his usual brand of extreme violence and bizarre plotline. Battle Heater, the final film, was more in the vein of a Hong Kong monster comedy (like Mr Vampire) and featured a mutant table/heater that came to life and ate people. The only serious film of the night was Spiral, the official sequel to The Ring. It was a bit slow but interesting to see, especially as Arthur liked The Ring films. It also wasn't the type of film where audience heckling added to the experience and the over-enthusiastic festival newbies who started shouting out what they thought were great comedic quips, were soon told to shut up.
The festival ended at around breakfast time (Arthur seems to recall there were some free doughnuts upon leaving) and the group caught the first tube back to Ealing, where the car was parked and Arthur drove everyone home to Reading with the windows down and the radio turned up to keep himself awake.