Sci-Fi London 4

Curzon Cinema, Soho, London Sunday 30 January to Tuesday 01 February 2005

The film list below represents the films Arthur went to see at this festival. For a full listing please visit the Sci Fi London 2005 website.

Films Shown

  • Steamboy
  • The Machinist
  • Blue Sky
  • Lady Death Strike
  • Parasite Dolls
  • Rahxephon

Arthur's Review of Sci-Fi London 4

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 here

After the success of last years festival it was only natural that Arthur would attend again this year. In fact exactly the same people came along as well. Looking at the festival line up the group chose the all night Japanese animation along with 2 of the individual films, Steamboy and The Machinist. This also left a nice gap for a trip to Pizza Hut, just like the year before.

Unfortunately, despite Arthur reminding everyone about the festival way in advance, 2 of the group still managed to book tickets to see Rammstein live in Brixton on the same night. However it worked out quite well as the concert was on at the same time as The Machinist and finished before the all nighter started, so they just went off to the concert and arrived back in time for the all night session, having grabbed a burger to eat on the move on the way back.

It was exactly the same format as the previous year in the same cinema. Short films were shown before each of the main features (The Netherbeast of Berm-Tech Industries was excellent; very funny) and there was free ice cream and Red Bull during the all nighter. One difference though was that everyone attending the all nighter got a free goodie bag including magazines and DVDs (this had not happened the year before although the people attending the Japanese animation may have got such treats whilst everyone else missed out).

Steamboy was quite good but not in the same league as Akira, the director's previous film (one character, a whiny little girl, spoilt the film somewhat). The machinist was also good but in a more harrowing way. It also confirmed Arthur's suspicions that Christian Bale was a complete nutter (The actor lost loads of weight for the film and looked like he'd spent several years in a concentration camp).

The all night Japanese animation was held in the biggest screen at the Curzon cinema (hooray!) and kicked off with competitions and various treats being thrown into the audience (Arthur got a small Steamboy collectable toy). The films started with Sky Blue which is better known to Arthur by its proper title Wonderful Days (Arthur had the film on Korean DVD but it was still good to see it on a big screen). Next up was Lady Death. A representative of the company who made the film came out and talked up the film, telling everyone how it was a high quality US production but with the values of Japanese animation. However once the film began, it quickly became apparent that it had more in common with an episode of the original He-Man cartoon than anything from Japan. It was a fairly poor effort that was livened up by being so cheesy it easily attracted plenty of heckling. After the film the studio rep, who had given it such positive praise, was mysteriously absent. Arthur had been looking forward to Parasite Dolls as it was set in the same universe as Bubblegum Crisis, one of his favourite animations. However the episodes shown were a bit dull; OK but nothing special and instantly forgettable. The final film of the night was Rahxephon and it was definitely in the mould of Neon Evangelion (from the 2000AD festival a few years before) for being totally incomprehensible. Every time the film seemed like it was ending it just went on again, much to the amusement of the audience.

Again an enjoyable night was had by all and after catching the tube back to Ealing, Arthur had a nice snooze in the car on the way home as it was someone else's turn to drive!