Sci-Fi London 5

Apollo Cinema, London Thursday 27 April to Saturday 29 April 2006

The film list below represents the films Arthur went to see at this festival. For a full listing please visit the Sci Fi London 2006 website.

Films Shown

  • Survive Style 5+
  • Karas: The Prophecy
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  • Places Promised in our Early Years
  • Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children

Arthur's Review of Sci-Fi London 5

This year the Sc-Fi London film festival was a few months later than previous years. This meant the weather was warmer and it would be lighter outside when the all nighters finished. This year also marked a change of venue moving to the Apollo cinema half a mile down the road from the Curzon. Previous festivals had been held at the Curzon cinema and also the Metro Cinema (2002), The Other cinema (2003 and 2004) or the Odeon Panton Street (2005). Having multiple venues was always difficult as it meant running between cinemas to see films especially if things were running late at one venue.

The Apollo cinema has 5 luxury screens and the entire event can therefore be accommodated under one roof. it also has a little conference room for the special quests to sit in that has creepy glass that you can only see though when you look at it from an angle; stabnd next to it and try and look straight through and it goes all swirly and misty. As it that wasn't enough it is decorated with pink and blue neon everywhere. And to top it all off the toilets are filled with sparkly crystals that look like ice for you to pee onto! (this was just the urinals - Arthur didn't examine the contents of the regular sit down toilets due to long queues and his fear of pooing in a public places).

The fiyer waiting area wasn't as big as the Curzon cinema and it got quite packed when eveyone at the all-nighters was out there but it just about coped. The biggest prblem was the air conditioning or lack thereof. For the first film Arthur went to see the screen was lovely and cool but for the all-nighter it was a different screen and the air conditioning failed to cope (or simply wasn';t turned on in some cheap arse money saving scheme) and it was somewhat like a sauna for 12 hours solid. More annoyingly the other screens were apprently just fine all night!

Anyway, the films themselves were a generally good selction this year. The first (and only) film Arthur saw that wasn't part of the anime allnighter was Survive Style 5+. Shown via video projector (it looked OK but wasn't fantastic) Arthur knew nothing about this film but was sold by the words "extreme", "surreal", Japanese" and "Vinnie Jones" in the summary description. And indeed it lived up to its reputation. Party comedy, part surreal horror it combined 5 separate stories that slowly became connected over the course of the film. It was genuinely laugh out loud at several points mainly becasue of the bizarre plot twists. Arthur will definitely be buying this when it appears on DVD.

After the customary trip to Pizza Hut for pizza (duh!) and a brisk walk across the Thames, past the London eye and the House of Parliament to kill a bit of time, Arthur and friends got back to the cinema to find it totally packed with people waiting to get the best seats for the all-nighters. With some sneaky maneuvering Arthur and Rich managed to wiggle they way to near the front of the crowrd (it was so packed you couldn't really call it a queue so Arthur felt less quilty about pushing to the front!) ans ecured some good seats for everyone in the group.

After the usual bag of freebies and stuff thrown into the audince hungry for any old free tat (Arthur got some Anime DVD), the evening began with a short film shown via video projector called Voices from a Distant Past about impossible love between 2 mech pilots. A bit slow and "odd" but nicely done with good characters. However the immediately obvious downside was that the sound balance was wrong with more sound coming from the left and even that was rather quiet.

The first proper film of the evening was Ghost in the Shell 2. Even though Arthur had seen this before on DVD at home, it was still fantastic to see it on a big screen, espcially as it was a proper 35mm film print rather than video projection. It also had the bonus that sound balance problem was not present (clearly this was only a problem for video projected material). A really good film that looked gorgeous and Arthur didn't find it anywhere near as slow as he'd expected. After some Red Bull and Ice cream came Karas: The Prophecy which was more of a traditional, old school animation with lots of extreme shape changing demons ripping off heads, limbs and alike. It made no sense whatsoever and this was only compounded by the fact they were showing the first few episodes of a series, leaving what little comprehensible plot there was completely unresolved

, probably in some lame attempt to sell DVDs to people desperate to know how it ended. (Arthur is not that desperate).

Next up was Final Fantasy: Advent Children, the eagerly awaited film of the evening. Even better was the fact it was a proper 35mm print and it looked even more stunning than Gits2 with high quality computer animation

throughout. This was proepr japense sci-fi with unfeasible robots, oversized swords and guns and insane battles that went on forever! Arthur suspects that everyone in that cinema will be buying a copy on DVD when it comes out!

Finally there was Places Promised in our Early Days which was from the same people who had made the first short film of the evening. It had a similar love story but the plot was a bit harder to follow (something about stopping an alien inavsion). Again, although nice, it was way too slow to end the evening - in fact in retrospect, it probably wasn't the best film festival material (OK to view once at home but not really best for a fun, action filled night out)


Again, a good night out with plenty of free stuff and some excellent films to see on a big screen. Unfortunately Arthur had to stay awake long enought to drive everyone home but did enjoy the amusing sight of the 2 useless birds trying to build a nest at Acton tube station - they just couldn't balance the twings on the barrow beam they had chsoen as their ideal nesting spot and they kept falling off lerading to a huge pile on the platform but not many actually making up their nest!