Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (2005)

Jason Flemying as Quatermass
THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (2005 telefilm). Director: Sam Miller.

This new version of Nigel Kneale's television serial, The Quatermass Xperiment, was broadcast live over the BBC. Things do not begin auspiciously when a rocket goes off course and there are only three people inside the control room -- not exactly like NASA! [If the BBC wanted to save money they should have used stock footage.] In the past the actors who played Professor Quatermass were at least middle-aged and kind of crusty, so for this production they get a much younger and handsomer Jason Flemying [X-Men First Class], who comes off more like an older male model than a scientist, not that his acting is bad. The plot is the same as the original -- rocket returns from space and two of the three astronauts are missing --  and it adheres more to the 1952 TV production than the 1955 film version thereof. The Quatermass Experiment seems to exist in an alternate universe. Everything about it screams "1950's" yet there are computer terminals and other signs of the 21st century. The shame of it is that this version does manage to get across the horror and especially pathos of what has happened to Victor Carroon and the other two missing astronauts -- in this the music helps -- but the ending misfires (and drags) and we never see any kind of creature, for shame. Indira Varma is fine as Mrs. Carroon, as is David Tennant [Fright Night]as her lover, Dr. Gordon Briscoe. Little Greg Sheffield does a nice job as the very frightened boy who comes across Victor Carroon, and there are some other very decent supporting performances.

Verdict: This is one experiment that fails. **.

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