Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Hyperions: Movie Review

Lacklustre superheroes.
The Hyperions is a superhero unlike any superhero movie. A mix of a low-budget 60s action-comedy plus superheroes plus dysfunctional family drama. An odd mix to be sure. I get why people might gravitate towards this. It looks familiar but is actually very different and unique, and filmgoers are generally starved for uniqueness especially when superheroes are involved.   2022

Directed by: Jon McDonald

Screenplay by: Jon McDonald, Mike Timm

Starring: Cary Elwes, Penelope Mitchell

The story however leaves a lot to be desired. One former superhero fed up with how life has ended up has turned her back on the professor who has made her. So she sets up a robbery within his museum and holds people hostage until she gets her powers back. I like that premise, but that’s pretty much the entirety of the story. It doesn’t really go anywhere. There’s a little bit of comedy here and there, but not nearly enough for such a silly setting; it brings in some decent emotional hooks, but probably would work better if inserted earlier.

It just has such weird pacing. The introduction of the characters is very slow, especially given that the whole professor plus a rag-tag group of superheroes has become such a common theme. But then it quickly switches tunes and sets up the main plot, and things appear to start happening quickly, until the film decides the audience must be stupid and we need to re-hash the professor’s relationship to everybody and reality. The main superhero girl Vista (Penelope Mitchell) has good backstory to help engage the audience with why she’s resorted to extreme measures, but it’s just too little too late, and the movie as a whole is not interesting enough.

The main super-hero traits are ability to read minds and implant thoughts, teleporting, and super strength. The most interesting is of course the first one which is given to Vista – the character with all the potential but let down by the film’s insistence that being quirky is enough. It’s not.

The movie is a great example of how to make a low-budget superhero movie without the lack of money being a hindrance: just set it up as a low-budget 60s TV show, and then cardboard super-power wristbands, cops that obviously don’t have guns and limited sets, all become part of the charm. If it’s supposed to look cheap then you can get away with anything. That charm wears thin, but hey, more power to them. There’s apparently an audience for this, and after Cary Elwes’ contract, you don’t have to spend much money, just get creative.