|LEXX: I WORSHIP HIS SHADOW
|Copyright 1997 Chum Television and Salter Street Films
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 June 2001
- Kai - The last of the Brunnen-G, a race of troubadour warriors who were exterminated by the Shadow over two millennia ago. He was also killed, but had his soul drained and his fluids replaced with proto-blood. It's a long story.
- Zev - Started out as a big girl, but after her "love slave makeover" goes awry she is part human, part cluster lizard, and all vixen. She would never make it as a dentist, except on a planet full of young Jack Nicholsons.
- Stanley Tweedle - Nincompoop! After betraying the rebellion and delivering information to the evil empire that helped them create a super weapon he still only manages to be a peon security guard. He's screwing that up too.
- 790 - Droid head (separated from his body through an unfortunate accident) that ends up receiving Zev's love slave brainwashing. That means he is completely in love with the girl and who can blame him?
- Thodin - Barry Bostwick! Denounced as a pirate and terrorist by the Shadow's clerics. He plans to steal the Lexx and use it against the evildoers. Unfortunately Kai adds another orifice to Thodin, right in the center of his chest.
- Giggerota - Freaky cannibal woman! Plummets to her death (not really, but it looks that way).
- His Divine Shadow - Shrouded figure whose evil lifeforce has transcended the ages and now guides civilization down a brutal path. Banished, for now, by Kai's efforts.
- The Divine Predecessors - Brains in tupperware! They were removed from previous hosts of the Divine Shadow and give the current titleholder their wise counsel.
|Many of my fellow capitalist pigs (Americans) are familiar with the LEXX series by its alternate title "Tales from a Parallel Universe." This, the first of four films (call them episodes if you like), immediately caught my eye during a late night of channel surfing. Bruce should have checked channel number fifty-eight, because these suckers will grab your attention pronto. The acting is over the top and complimented by effects comparable to a good quality video game. Plot and atmosphere are where things get ten shades of weird. Helicopters that look like big bugs! Brains being extracted and protected against freezer burn! A platinum-blonde beauty with a serious attitude! All part of the mix.
The first ten minutes of this story are absolutely fantastic. A small force of Brunnen-G pilot their fighters toward His Shadow's warship. Watch Kai, because he turns his head and looks at his companions with uncertainty, even while a rousing war chant issues from his throat to join their voices. Seeing a young warrior full of pride in his cause (heck, I'm not Brunnen-G and that chorus still gets my fighting spirit up), but just a little afraid was a perfect moment. He has good reason too; their ships are woefully outgunned compared to the enormous vessel they are facing.
His Shadow is soon firing massive webs of energy at the Brunnen-G homeworld, each obliterating equally massive areas upon impact. The warriors desperately use their rockets, but to no avail; with an audible scream the planet is rendered a lifeless husk. Kai is enraged and instructs the remaining ships to crash into the control pod and even succeeds himself. Unfortunately his ship's design works against the kamikaze attack. The Brunnen-G are piloting giant insects and the problem is that somehow these creatures fly through space without any sort of volatiles on board! While the collision does briefly compromise the hull integrity, it does not cause a really big boom.
Lots of bug guts litter the bridge in the aftermath, but Kai was thrown free and is promptly subjected to an impromptu sacrifice by His Divine Shadow. Good thinking by the evil overlord on that point; a prophecy foretold that one of the Brunnen-G would destroy the Shadow. Inexplicably he does not allow the body to be incinerated, but instructs his guards to store it for use as a programmed assassin. Why in the world would he do something like that? Prophecies are pretty much a death sentence for tyrants; don't tempt fate by keeping a member of the race around. Toss that body into a nuclear furnace and avoid visiting museums with Brunnen-G exhibit's (darn thing is likely to fall over and squash you - destiny always finds a way).
Note to self: Upon becoming the Emperor, be proactive and make certain to kill everyone with "Prophet" under "Job Title" in the imperial database of unwilling subjects.
Jump forward a couple of years (like two thousand and eight) to a time when His Divine Shadow's influence falls over twenty thousand worlds. Things are bad and human rights are at an all time low. Stanley Tweedle is doing poorly in his assigned profession as a security guard; so bad that he is disciplined and told to report for punishment. Initially the little worm balks at the sentence, mainly on account that they are going to remove three of his organs. Imagine losing a kidney, an eyeball, and a testicle due to a bad performance evaluation! Kinda sounds like Microsoft, doesn't it?
Stanley is actually one of the lucky ones. A transport full of prisoners arrives at the capitol city and they are bound for the penal system. Considering how serious a punishment is levied against workers for not living up to the boss' expectations, those accused of crimes are hating life. Most are subjected to organ removals (as in all of them, even the vital ones), with the remaining parts being sealed in ziplock bags and shipped to the local Spam factory. "You're eating people!" Hehehehe! Seriously folks, don't try pulling a Charlton Heston and screaming at someone who puts Spam in their grocery cart. You'll be asked to leave the store and instructed to never return. Besides, the useless body parts are being fed to the Lexx, I was just kidding.
Ah yes, the Lexx. One of the things that His Divine Shadow learned from the Brunnen-G was their technology for breeding enormous space faring insects and the Lexx is his crowning achievement. First time observers often have some impure thoughts about what the ship resembles (sickos). Perish the thought; the greatest warship ever made (grown, hatched, pupated?) is based on a humble dragonfly. It is able to cross the vastness between stars with little effort and has a devastating main weapon. With it the Shadow intends to purify the universe; which is to say he will destroy any heretic planets not under his rule.
Two thousand years is a long time for a human, or close facsimile, to live and the Shadow has a unique way of renewing his youthful vigor. The body is no more than a vessel for a nexus of dark energy passed from host to host. When the old body is failing a new unfortunate bastard is chosen for cleansing and possession. Cleansing? Being zapped in the temples with high voltage, that always purifies the spirit. Surgeons (I hope anyone with that many sharp instruments is a doctor) then remove the brain from the old body and place it into a special container; thus may the older personages provide the new Shadow with advice. Catholics should say thanks that the Pope does not possess a new body every fifty years.
Remember the prisoners? Good, because there are two with special importance. One is Zev, who is sentenced to become a love slave for embarrassing her husband. The second is Thodin, a man who successfully fought a guerrilla war against the empire's forces and destroyed over two hundred spacecraft loyal to the monarch! Little love is lost between the defamed "pirate" and his body-swapping adversary. Luckily the Church does not burn people anymore; it feeds them to baby sandworms instead. Thodin has a trick or two up his nose; he hopes to avoid a public execution and deploys a cool little "bug bomb!" It finds the network conduit that controls the arena and other functions, then detonates. Chaos results as the cluster lizards are set free on the spectators, instead of the innovative freedom fighter. Stanley is now eluding arrest and termination after missing his appointment at the detention center. Events will bring him, the remixed version of Zev, 790, and Thodin to the Lexx at the same time.
Kai is awakened and sent to stop the good guys from stealing the Lexx. Between the undead assassin and rampaging cluster lizards it comes to pass that only Zev and Stanley arrive at the ship's bridge. Of course 790 is there too, whispering sweet nothings that often contain some shockingly lewd ideas to his sweetheart, but I'm getting sidetracked. The nincompoop lucked out and had the energy key, required to command the Lexx, passed to him. That is the only reason Zev does not commence to banging Stanley's head against various solid objects; he managed to become indispensable. Meanwhile, in a chamber full of the Divine Predecessors, Kai has his memory and soul restored (destiny is knock, knock, knocking on the tyrant's door) after coming into contact with the brain of the Shadow that killed him. Darn thing even recorded the Brunnen-G war chant in surround sound!
A number of spacecraft, including the massive flagship, pursue the fugitives. Lexx is unable to fire at the attackers due to a few "if then" programming statements, so the protagonists opt to flee through the fractal core; it's sort of a weak spot in the wall between dimensions. His Divine Shadow is fed up with useless underlings and sneaks aboard to kill the revolutionaries himself. The last of the Brunnen-G is on board! NO YOU FOOL! The results are predictable and jumping realities also rearranges the pesky "if then" statements, allowing the huge dragonfly ship to wallop its tormentors. The story of the Lexx and its crew shall continue.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Snowflakes of sufficient size can be used as weapons (anything a thousand miles across is potentially lethal).
- Do not get saucy with someone who can electrocute you.
- Lawyers may be evil, but they are better than holograms.
- You will become invisible for a short period after losing an eye.
- Being a brain in tupperware has its disadvantages, like giant brain munching worms.
- Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.
- Fractals play hell with computer programs.
- Never take your eyes off the guy with a spring-loaded head chopper.
- 3 mins - Nothing between you and death other than a thin membrane of clear material? I hope you don't run into anything.
- 6 mins - A bad day to get assigned freezer number eleven...
- 12 mins - Those look like 1/2" nuts. I'm a lot more accurate with 9/16" myself.
- 28 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A HOUSEKEEPING DROID!
- 40 mins - Not exactly the woman I would make a topographic scan of.
- 45 mins - Yeah, that's about how love works: you worship her, but she punts your head across the room.
- 52 mins - I think that I'd shoot him instead.
- 68 mins - Ouch! In hindsight you could have used some anesthetic, at the very least a few shots of hard liquor.
- 78 mins - Fiend Without a Face homage?
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Shadow: "And how will we know which planets shelter enemies of order, which planets are to be chosen for destruction?" |
Divine Predecessors: "That will be your task."
Shadow: "Then my task is complete. I choose to destroy them all."
||Bug Bomb: "Bug bomb lost head!"
||Stanley: "But Lexx, that was one of His Shadow's ships!" |
Lexx: "Who is 'His Shadow?'"
790: "I perceive that much of Lexx's memory was erased when we passed through the fractal core."
||Zev: "What kind of robot are you?" |
790: "I am a robot that wants to live in your underpants."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Two guards were closing in on Zev and Stanley until they opened door number one. Normally this would mean chitinous segmented death, but she can speak "Cluster Lizard." Is screaming a language? (Insert Barbra Streisand joke here.)
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