THE DIAMONDS OF METRO VALLEY
- Director: Aaron Arendt
- Written by: Mary McIlwain
- Running Time: minutes
- Language: English
- MPAA Rating:
- Cast: Mary McIlwain , Jon Cohn , Paul Plunkett , Tifanie McQueen , Adriana Roze , Dallas Richard Hallam , Takeshi Miura , Robert Poe , Jonathan Silsby , Michael Price , Bennett Jones , Todd Veneman , Martin Alatorre
Here it is 2010 all ready and I do not fly a hover car to work. Back growing up in the '70s and '80s it was made apparent to me by all the media that in 2010 we would have hover cars and all sorts of cool futuristic stuff, but apparently someone made a mistake. This fact irks me to no end.
On the bright side though, one fact this same mistaken media of my youth failed to mention was that we would in 2010 have really awesome and affordable computers and movie making equipment. These days one does not have to have a film studio and a prohibitive amount of money to make a movie. And not just that, now with digital FX, low-budget film makers no longer have to write their scripts around their budgetary limitations. With some good software and a little know how independent film makers can emulate anything the big studios do. Although this is not quite as cool as a hover car, it makes a z-budget movie producer like me happy that I can maybe have that exploding car or even automatic weapon fire in my movies. But there are those film makers who take these digital FX abilities to the next level and even way beyond. And this brings us to our movie, THE DIAMONDS OF METRO VALLEY.
Now I've seen quite a few Independent movies where the film makers have relied heavily on digital FX. Although many of them are fine efforts and enjoyable (to me at least) often the digital FX stick out and scream 'this is not real, it's fake' in the same way cheesy rubber monster suits did the same thing in the '50s. They do bad things for the suspension of disbelief and often make the movie look campy when it was not meant to be. This, however, is NOT the case with THE DIAMONDS OF METRO VALLEY.
Sure you can tell everything is digitally done, and I do mean literally everything; the sets, the robot dinosaurs, the cars, the explosions, in fact, the actors are about the only real life thing in most scenes, but it's done in such a way that it's a stylistic thing, much in the way Sin City was done. The viewer is so immersed in digital FX that he excepts it as real, much in the way one excepts anime or cartoons. Clearly moving drawings are not based in reality but we unconsciously except them as such when the entire movie is made of them. This movie is a lot like that. Of course, it's no Avatar, but the digital FX do add a whole new dimension to the mood and atmosphere. It's like a comic-book, (err, excuse me, graphic novel) or video-game come to life.
So it's got eye catching digital FX, but what's it about? This movie is a full on amalgam of genres. It's sci-fi, it's action, it's a crime thriller, it's got liberal doses of comedy and is neo- Film Noir with all the quirky hardboiled dialogue that goes with Film Noir. There is even a political statement in there with the mayor being a puppet, seriously, he is literally a puppet.
Two beat cops end up getting killed when the addict they are shaking down turns out to be one Dr.Thadeous Price who happens to have his big invention R.O.N.A.L.D.(a Remote-Operated, Nocturnally Aggressive, Lizard Device), which is a robot dinosaur which can grow to various sizes, in his pocket at the time. The two cops inadvertently activate R.O.N.A.L.D. which not only results in their brutal demises but forces Price to self-destruct R.O.N.A.L.D. in order to save himself. This is unfortunate for Price because notorious gangster Jonas Caine, who supplies Price with his drugs, is counting on Price to use R.O.N.A.L.D. to steal some very special diamonds for him. Now Price has to work like his life depended on it, because it does, to rebuild the robo-lizard in record time. Only now, because of the dead cops, the police are involved in trying to find the killer and the mayor has ordered a crackdown on crime. Everything converges on a spectacular diamond heist, where bullets fly, police airships attack, explosions explode, and by the end of an epic, action-packed car chase, you WILL believe a lizard can drive!
Now I must admit, I am particularly partial to movies with Robot Dinosaurs, especially ones that can change size. So as soon as R.O.N.A.L.D was turned up to 11 and activated, I was hooked. There doesn't seem to be enough robot dinosaur movies made on this side of the world. That seems to be Japan's domain and they seem to make them more kid oriented and weird. This movie shows you don't have to be Asian to make cool Robot Dinosaur movies, and although the kiddies might get a kick out this movie, there is some strong language and drug use, so viewer discretion might be advised. This movie more for the adult that likes cool kid stuff like Robot Dinosaurs or souped-up jet cars.
So whats not to like? Not much really. The acting, while not really bad by any means, is nothing exceptional, but then acting in front of green screens with no set to get oneself into character is prolly not the easiest thing to do. And there were a couple digital FX that I did find a bit irritating, like the fake walking on the spot while the back ground scrolls behind. I've seen this in a few movies, and just don't like it. It never looks natural. And the fake cigarette smoke just didn't quite cut it either. But then this is just nitpicking on my part. There are digital FX in 300 and Avatar that just didn't work for me either. Overall the good far out-weighs anything bad, especially so far as the climatic road chase goes. If you've ever played Spy-Hunter or Carmageddon or Car Wars, you will totally appreciate this.
Check out the THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE HERE. If you are looking for something totally different, packed with lots of action and hard boiled crime, you could do a whole lot worse than THE DIAMONDS OF METRO VALLEY!