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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Michael Heagle

Leitha Matz
Heidi Fellner
Alan Struthers

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What's it about
In the Z grade future, two female bounty hunters are looking for a secret government container, with two psychic psychos close behind. Along the way, a bunch of folks have bad computer graphics crush them and kill them in other bloodless ways.
Is it good movie?

There were some interesting ideas that ran throughout Planetfall, very few original ones, but a couple of clever concepts. So it’s too bad the movie is as painfully dull as it is. When two female bounty hunters are hot on the trail of a missing government container, a horde of other folks have similar interests in it. This includes two psychics who really, really want it. What’s in the box, you may ask? Well that’s part of the twist and I’d hate to give it away. But let’s just say it’s worth a whole bunch of money and they wants it, they wants it precious… Sorry, had a Lord of the Rings moments there, and apparently so did the filmmakers with this spaghetti, science fiction western in its final moments. Not that it was really a problem, but it felt tacked on and I didn’t care at all. There are too many characters, really bad special effects and a dozen more reasons to lose interest here. A major complaint would be the music; it is beyond cheesy and is much too loud a couple of times. So loud that you can’t really understand what dialogue is being said. Okay, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

As I said before, there are some interesting ideas. And if there was no such thing as Joss Whedon and Firefly or the feature film Serenity, I think I would have found it to be a bit more original. But the folks making this fine feature chose a couple of interesting lead actresses including Leitha Matz as the cowboy-ish one and Heidi Fellner as the more sexed up one. Both ladies are lovely and quite talented. I also would have liked to see the movie focus on just them instead of needlessly adding other characters with zero interest. Not that all the other performances were bad, it’s just they felt unnecessary. There was no getting around the bad effects and the poor dialogue. But throwing in some worthwhile performances and a few moments of surprisingly inspired direction by “Gianni Mezzanotte” (Michael Heagle) helped make it better than awful. Gianni moves his camera… a lot. And sometimes it works but he also keeps the pace on snail and gets a bit too shaky at inappropriate times. So pardner… you willin’ to take this movie on? I guess that’s a question you best be askin’, but what’ll ya see the extras.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a pretty good 16x9 Widescreen transfer, considering it was shot on consumer grade Mini-DV.

Audio: The sound didn’t fare so well. The Dolby 5.1 Surround couldn’t have sounded much better when the sound didn’t seem to be all that good in the first place. “Turn down the music, I’m trying to say my lines.” the actors should have said.
The Extras
Kudos to the cast and crew on making this DVD a worthy investment! There are some great extras here including 3 Commentaries. The first is with filmmaker Michael Heagle which is also the most interesting. He talks about the making of the film, the casting and the challenge of making a low budget feature.

Next up we get actors, Heidi Fellner and Snype Myers taking their turn with the commentary. This is a competent listen but it loses some of the interest after awhile. We also get a separate one from actors Leitha Matz and Troy A LaFaye (also a producer). I love Ms. Matz spunk yet there is too much dead time. I think they would have been better off having just one “actor commentary”. They are still worth a watch and listen.

Next up is the making of documentary Doc, You Sucker: Feature Documentary (1:00:36) which is a fantastic look at those behind the making of this feature and I felt this to be a better watch than the movie itself. I applaud these folks for trying to create a homegrown movie studio outside of Hollywood. A must see for anybody with no-budget and hopes to make a movie.

You wanna see what got cut? Well you get your chance with A Few Scenes More: Deleted Scenes. This includes “Alternate Bar” (2:48), “Tira and Shark” (:42), “Machinata Ceremony” (2:08), “Lux’s Regrets” (2:26), “Liles – Lavelle’s Bet” (:54), “Earthquake in the VZ” (:36), “Syrus Theed and Lux” (1:56) and finally “Original Cave Edit” (2:05). The best thing here is to see Ms. Fellner give a couple of nice moments, she’s a good actress and is able to get past much of the weak dialogue.

Okay kids, its time for a quick history lesson with Once Upon a Time in the Mill (21:13). This would be great on The History Channel. It’s a look at the history of the Pickwick Mill, one of the locations used in the film. But as an extra on the film… It’s a bit odd.

My Name is Still Gianni (3:40) is a few cast and crew interviews about an infamous director (who doesn’t exist). This is a funny, if all too short mockumentary on crazy spaghetti western directors.

You want to know about the weapons used in the film? Here comes Fans of Style: Designing Planetfall (8:14) which is a bit short but it really didn’t need to be any longer. I will say that the weapons used looked damn good for the budget.

For all of those who have Grindhouse on the mind, this is a great watch. Corpse Grinding: Interview with Ted V. Mikels (6:48) is a fascinating interview with a man who was making those kind of features, including “Corpse Grinders”. He also plays the President in “Planetfall”. You have to watch this just to see his collection. Great stuff.

Finally, we have Discovering Rosemount Ruins (6:13) which is a cheap but funny spoof on the Unsolved Mysteries type of television series even if it looks like it was shot on somebody’s home video camera. It’s still pretty funny so hey…
Last Call
Planetfall is a grade Z flick with lame dialogue and some really ridiculously awful special effects. There was promise with the casting of Leitha Matz and Heidi Fellner who give a good show, along with a couple others, especially the dudes who played Liles and Lavelle, they had me laughing out loud. But that alone cannot make this film anything better than really dull. I will admit that these folks really tried to make it work but borrowed heavily on other sci-fi, adventure flicks and it cannot live that down. With the negative, I still recommend you check this DVD out for the extras alone.
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT

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