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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 06.26.08] post apocalyptic movie review

Year: 2008
Release date: Contact Quiet Earth for DVD details
Director: Simon Boivin
Writer: Simon Boivin & Fed Gaudreault
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

Written and directed by two of our favorite French Canadian misfits, Simon Boivin & Fred Gaudreault, 2027 Le Départ is 17 minutes and 44 seconds of masterfully filmed, 80s infused, post-apocalyptic good times. Like watching Enzo G. Castellari filtered through the lens of a young Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this film comes loaded with ambition but, with its Vic Morrow dress code and cast of gimps and radioactive crazies, is also just as happy to let you take in all the visual pomp and guilty pleasures of your favorite old PA cliches without fear of film snob reprisal. And, after all, isn't that what the best PA films are all about? Taking totally plausible end of the world scenarios and pushing them just to the outer edges of fantasy and science fiction without giving a damn? Well anyway, if you can't already tell I loved the sheer fun and admiration for the 80s heyday that this film possesses. So much so in fact, that I tracked down director Simon Boivin to get the full scoop on the past, present, and yes, even the future of the 2027 project. So I guess what follows is sort of like a review / interview.

Like Boivin and Gaudreault, I'm totally OCD when it comes to 80s genre films. When other kids were vegging out to Saturday morning cartoons in the 80s, I was busy soaking up The Beastmaster, The Gate, or The Road Warrior (which might explain why I couldn't care less whether there's a Transformers 2, a Thundercats movie, or indeed if Voltron will ever get made). Vaguely apocalyptic films like Walter Hill's The Warriors or Castellari's Bronx Warriors made a particularly huge impact on my still impressionable young mind; so when I say that Boivin gets his 80s style right, I mean it. Everything, from the 80s era Italian style model work (just look at that awesome 2nd still!) to Dominic Tremblay's Walter Rizzati-esque technorock score, screams 80s pa-xploitaion.

Being a fan of practical FX myself, I probed Boivin further to tell me why he made the decision to use models for the film's opening shots instead of just filming abandoned factories or using bad CGI like most people. Boivin told me that, besides hating CGI, he learned about models while working with his friend and colleague Eric Bilodeau on the upcoming scifi flick Hunting Grounds. "I saw the use of models like a big challenge" he said, going onto admit that "it's also because mostly all the PA movies from the 70s & 80s use models, like Logans Run and 2019."

The story of 2027 is a simple one; Two guys (Jake and Kreg) live with a strange mechanic. They need an alternator to get their car on the road again so they decide to brave the dangerous terrain to go to "the Clan" to barter for one. However, their trip turn sour when they are made to fight "The Beast" to win it.

By the end of the 17 minutes I was definitely ready to get on the road with Jake and Kreg and continue exploring this zany world further. So when a cryptic title card saying "end of part 1" popped up on the screen I was intrigued to say the least and set out on a mission to find out more. According to Boivin, Le Départ is indeed part one of an intended series that will run for at least 3 episodes:

"I have started writing a second episode with the character of Jake trying to escape a new gang of baguys" said Boivin of the next film he will direct; "this episode will start with Jake being captive and escaping his prison. He will team up with a new character named Raven."

"Fred Gaudreault is working on writing an episode taking place in the Clan (the bad guys from Le Départ) with all the members we've seen in Le Départ and a few more. In this episode the Clan has been betrayed by Seth (the guy with the Grey gas mask carrying The Beast before the combat) who is seeking revenge. Fred will directed this one."

"and we have a few ideas for a couple of episodes including one with Jake and Kreg taking place in a cold nuclear winter... and one with an alliance between Jake, Kreg & Kaniss with Klerk and the Clan."

Of course, because 2027 Le Départ was made on a micro-budget, it is at the mercy of various production limitations. For instance, like all those Italian films of the 80s, it was filmed without sound with all the sound FX and dialog dubbed in later. In one way, this gives the film another layer of 80s feel, but on another, it could distract some viewers from the overall flow of the narrative. But when a film looks this good, and has such a impressive vision and sense of adventure, it's hard to knock it for the things it can't help.

I really can't wait to see more from Boivin and Gaudreault and the rest of their crazy ambitious Quebec crew. Simon tells me that he and Fred are working on a monster movie over the summer before they start work on another installment of 2027 and even that aounds good. We've got a review of Hunting Grounds coming up right away as well so stay tuned.

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quietearth (13 years ago) Reply

Awesome, I love the accessory design and the photography, I can't wait to see this!


cyberhal (13 years ago) Reply

i often prefer models to CGI too


Saladyn (12 years ago) Reply

I saw it and it's simple but beautiful. There will be more episodes to see.

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