The guy who left the (near empty) theatre ahead of me described Wing Commander in the simplest of all manners, “Boy, did that suck.” I try not to write reviews that use the word “suck” because it’s not too “professional,” but, in this case, I have to: Boy, did this movie suck.
Being in my early to mid-twenties, I have the fortune of playing all five of the Wing Commander games. So, I was looking forward to this movie. The movie is directed by Wing Commander game creator Chris Roberts and the script is based on his story. The problem is that Roberts has never done a major motion picture before. The difference between shooting the cut-scenes between shoot ‘em up segments in a game and shooting a major motion picture is tremendous. And lets just say that with the movie Wing Commander the exciting shoot ‘em up portion of the series is dearly missed. Without the shoot ‘em up portions of the game we’re left with a meandering, uninspired, and boring movie that leeches from ever sci-fi film known to man.
The film focuses on the main character of the game, Christopher (Freddie Prinze Jr.) Blair, who is some sort of hybrid human that can navigate through space using his gift (can you say “The Force?”) There is an evil race of cat-like beings headed straight for Earth to annihilate the human race and the only people who can save Earth are onboard the Tiger Claw, a space carrier that Blair is assigned to. That’s the whole story of the film. Fill in the amazingly large gaps of time with sub-standard dialogue, boring one-dimensional characters, cliched love stories, and video-game-like space dogfights and you have two hours of pure space-hell.
The script by Kevin Droney is absolutely horrible and should’ve been ejected into deep space long before it got green lighted to be shot. Roberts who showed that he knew a little about how to direct a small screen film does what he can with the script. Though, his directing skills still need a bit of work, especially in coercing good performances out of the cast. The whole cast gives bland performances. And who can blame them given the material they’re working with. I guess everyone needs a paycheck between good films.
There were lots of holes in the film that stuck out, but there are two that I want to point out. When attacked, both the humans and the Kilrathi seem to forget that they’re in deep space where things can move on three axes. When the carriers are torpedoed, the captains of the respective ships yell, “Hard to port!” Hey, captains, how about “Pull up and hard to port!” or “Dive and hard to port!” The second thing are the weapons. It’s so many hundred of years in the future, man has flown to the deepest portions of space, and these ships are still shooting machine guns with bullets? Where are the energy weapons? Where are the lasers?
Sometimes with special effects driven movies, like Wing Commander, I can at least recommend renting the film on video to see the special effects. Godzilla is an example one of these types of films, horrible script, but pretty good special effects. It’s too bad that Wing Commander is not only deficient in the story arena but also in the special effects arena.
Originally slated for release straight-to-video, Wing Commander might have been enjoyable as a rental, but on the big screen? It’s a waste of money. I’m sorry I shelled out money and spent time sitting through this movie. Creator/Director Chris Roberts makes a cameo appearance late in the film as a search and rescue pilot; it’s too bad there’s nothing Roberts could have done to rescue this piece of space debris. Skip, skip, skip Wing Commander.