Tribeca 2012 Review: JOURNEY TO PLANET X

Who doesn't love a good doc about the trials and tribulations of the aspiring filmmaker? I'm not talking your Heart of Darknesses or Burden of Dreamses, as classic as those films are. I'm talking VHS Kahloucha, Audience of One, and the great granddaddy of them all, American Movie. Films about the 15-minutes-of-famers, the never-beens. The never-will-bes. At this point, it's almost a genre unto itself. There's just something inherently fascinating about the quest of the would-be artist, whether it ends in triumph or tragedy (but hopefully tragedy).

So which of the Dionysian masks of the theater will the latest addition to the canon don? 

Myles Kane and Josh Koury's Journey To Planet X is the story of two uber geeks (and I mean that in the best way possible), scientists both, who make cheesy, green screen sci-fi flicks in their spare time. The film follows the pair of besties as they mount their most complex production yet- the low budget epic, Planet X.

As the film and the shooting on the film within the film progress, the differences in the friends' motivations begin to surface. Eric makes films as an escape, an act of joy; Troy has aspirations of breaking into the dreaded 'business.' It is a microcosm of the art versus commerce argument that plagues everyone who yearns for a career in creativity.

One of the best things about Journey is the actual clips from the films Eric and Troy make. The acting, dialog, and special effects are all pretty hilarious, even if they don't think so. But while it may seem like a mockery at first (not to say that the pair are actually being mocked), Journey is really about the love of the game. These guys put their hearts and souls into their movies, and their enthusiasm is infectious. It's a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

The only problem is that there really isn't much conflict driving the film. Eric and Troy experience minor setbacks, but there is no real threat. The directors of Journey do their best to manufacturer some, in the form of Eric and Troy's differing ideals, and the will they/won't they festival finale, but overall the film is kind of slight. A sweet little confection full of empty calories.

Still, if you love film and film making, Journey To Planet X is an entertaining watch, and you could do worse with your 80 minutes. 

Joshua Chaplinsky is the senior editor for LitReactor.com. He also writes for ChuckPalahniuk.net. He was a guitarist in the band SpeedSpeedSpeed, and is the poison pen behind thejamminjabber, although he's not so sure he should admit it.


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