Saturday, October 24, 2015

The History of Future Folk

This review is Spoiler-free.

On the distant planet of Hondo, there lived a little boy named Trius who promised his mother that when he grew up he would find a way to destroy the comet that was heading toward their home planet. He grew into the greatest Hondonian General ever known, and one day set out to save his people. He crash-landed on a planet called Earth, which was the perfect planet for the Hondonians to relocate to.

But -- just as he was about to release a toxin to eradicate the current inhabitants, he heard something in the local Costco: music. Hondonians don't have music, and he had never heard anything so amazing before. It changed him. He learned how to play the Banjo and started up an act in a club. He got married, and had a kid, and years went by. But he never forgot his mission or his promise.

General Trius (right) and the mighty Kevin.

The two stars of this strange, strange little film -- Nils d'Aulaire who plays General Trius, and Jay Klaitz who is Kevin, an assassin sent to kill Trius and complete his mission -- are actually a musical duo with an act like the one in the movie. In fact the movie was made because of their success and is based on the fictional backstories they created for the show. They are called Future Folk (now the movie's title make sense) and they play space-themed folk music. Yes, you heard that right. Space-themed folk music. And it's awesome. The two are enormously talented, and their music is equally beautiful and hilarious.

The movie is worth watching for the musical scenes alone. Unfortunately the rest of the film suffers by comparison. It does have a consistently engaging plot though. There's decent acting, and even a few interesting and humorous filming techniques. The writing is hit-and-miss. The feel is decidedly Indie and the deadpan tone enhances the humor of it all very well. But none of it quite reaches the level set by the musical performances. It's an imbalance that enhances the music and dulls everything else, and the shifts between the two are a bit jarring.

But, much like the combination of sci-fi lyrics with folk-music sound, it's all part of the charm.

Knowing that the main point of the film is the music makes the few low-budget shortcomings easily forgivable. Plus the total-geek vibe sent out by cheesy costumes and laughable fight sequences gives this wacky flick that distinctive cult feel, and that makes me think it's perfect exactly the way it is. It's themes are simple, but sweet and positive, giving just the right amount of heart to this very, very strange, shamelessly geeky, and impressively folk-y musical adventure.

Hondo!

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