HEAVY NOVA, Peter Leon's ambitious sci-fi, comedy, murder mystery offers good production values, awesome animation sequences and special effects for a low-budget production. Audio was very good. Acting was good; Leon's stable of actors' performances are improving since COPPER CREEK.
From a spiritual point of view, the plot had some interesting things to say about trans-humanism, i.e., replacing humans with machines. In the future, Cerberus, a mining company, teams up with the US military for an off-planet mission along with a group of deep space miners (military-industrial-complex). It's interesting that the mining company is named Cerberus. Cerberus, from Greek mythology, was a three-headed dog that guarded Hades. Souls could get into Hades, but could never come out. So Cerberus, the mining company, has invited these miners to enter their world of which they may never get out alive. There is a cameo by the director acting as the company president. He denies the requests to abort the mission in spite of the rash of unexplained deaths (or murders?). Corporations are constantly trying to buy our souls; and those that get bought have a hard time coming back to a state of self-empowerment. (That's just my interpretation.)
As far as the joke writing goes, I am not the best person to review this kind of comedy. It is rare that a comedy makes me laugh unless it is a certain kind of dark comedy or something that breaks my boundaries. The jokes in HEAVY NOVA were the kind of jokes I might have laughed at when I was 14 years old. Penis, Gay sex and misogynistic jokes abound and kept me distracted from sinking into the plot. If these jokes were more about furthering the plot or deepening the character and had more space between them, I think they would have been more effective for me.
But I did thoroughly enjoy some of the commercials and episodes shown by the prop TV on the space ship. I liked "Spoiled Little Sh#ts" and the "Bark to Voice" commercial.
DVD EXTRAS: There are plenty to enjoy. The "Making-of" featurette did not shy away from the hardships of independent filmmaking. In spite of these difficulties, it appeared that there was a light-hearted, fun-loving atmosphere on set. There were also personal moments shared, for example, when a couple of young boys interrupted Leon's interview on a playground. I was impressed with the director's kind and diplomatic interaction with them. But I was taken aback by some of the critical comments made by crew members regarding explicitly named film vendors. (Careful not to accidentally burn your film industry bridges while publicly making comments that may seem funny at the time, but would be better said in private.)
The "Special Effects Comparison" featurette was especially interesting in terms of seeing the effectiveness of the green screen effects.
I think Leon has enough chops now to direct some great writing with seasoned actors. But for those who like 14-year-old humor, you will get your fill with HEAVY NOVA. For more info, a trailer, and to purchase a DVD, visit the HEAVY NOVA website: http://peterleon.22slides.com/heavy-nova
Posted by Jean Jessup. Posted In : Sci-Fi Comedy