Science Fiction is a finicky genre at the best of times. Some of the best Sci-fi films in existence are wildly complex, confusing, sprawling, grandiose...yet delicately awe-inspiring and deeply human. As such, when I sat down and watched Storm (the Swedish answer to The Matrix – I know, I know...what a terrible cliché, but it holds true), I was as confused and jaded as I thought I should be, but this time around I was a little upset. I wasn’t moved. It didn’t inspire awe. It felt flat and lacking any colourful emotional palette. Sure, it looks damn nice, and it has a slick, uber-hip style to it, but the film just doesn’t have any deeper resonance. Oh, but it tries...and tries...and tries.
Lacking much to say on the whole about Storm, I decided to sit down and do a little research. Generally I try not to read much review material before I write my own, but I had to have some back-up in this case. Much to my chagrin, when I wandered over to Rotten Tomatoes I was shocked to learn that not one single measly review existed in their database for it. I guess everyone else who’s seen it felt the same as I did. But, alas, I pressed on undeterred.
Storm is about a guy named DD (short for Donny Davidson), a bachelor who sort of wanders around from place to place looking really cool, in a dressed-down fashionista kind of way. He’s the kind of bachelor who eats cold pizza for breakfast and presses his ear to the wall when his neighbours have sex. His quiet existence is shattered when a beautiful redhead, Lova, jumps into his cab one night to escape some strange, black-clad pursuers. Suddenly DD’s life is turned upside down and he’s thrown into some sort of parallel pseudo-existence. DD comes into possession of a tiny box (looks like a giant sugar cube) which is a key of some sort. It’s always a key to something, isn’t it? Anyway, there are some bad guys who want the cube. Lova shows DD things from his past he has forgotten. Or has he? Most of the film is DD trying to figure out if these memories are real or planted. Is Lova a good girl or one of the baddies? And when I finally got the big reveal about what the heck the cube does, I wanted to frikkin’ yell at the television. But I digress...
The thing that disappoints me the most is that I like Science Fiction, even seemingly at the worst of times. I wanted this film to develop into something, if not extraordinary, then at the very least kind of neat. I wanted it to bloom. But instead it just sprouts and shrivels. At its heart, Storm is about a man learning about his past and understanding how deeply it has affected who he has turned out to be. All great Sci-fi is about humanity – how it reveals our struggles and quirks and personal battles with the world around us. On these terms, I can see what the filmmakers were setting out to portray. But it just isn’t a setting that feels correct. Instead, it is a movie that is way to cool for its story. I feel like this would make a much better drama then some sort of pop culture techno-film. And, because of this, it suffers from some very bad pacing issues – a whole third of the film is a plodding mess, working its way through DD’s uninteresting past, while the rest is hyped up in over-adrenalized, yet surprisingly blank, action sequences.
Good points – yes, it is pretty fun to look at. There is the drab, rain-soaked streets of Stockholm, drained of color and looking like a typical bleak sci-fi city. The kind of place where you might expect a redhead dressed in yellow spandex to jump into your cab and introduce you to a strange, seedy underbelly you never knew existed. There is also a comic book world (this semi-parallel world I mentioned earlier), which is interesting, albeit a little heavy on the CGI at times. There are allusions to video games that unfortunately never seem to come to fruition. There are even a few anime scenes thrown in for good measure. But all in all there is little I found to be new or particularly remarkable.
And, in the end, nothing really comes together. I don’t know if this is one of those victims of production chopping it up, but there were an abundance of plotlines and characters that either didn’t make sense or just plain existed to beef up the story, rather than as a natural extension of it. And it didn’t feel like a real conclusion was reached. DD finds out things about himself, defeats the bad guys...but what did the bad guys even have to do with all of this? What does Lova represent exactly? And the stupid cube. Don’t be lured into the mysteries of that little bit of nonsense – just check your brain and enjoy the effects. Otherwise, avoid.
The NTSC release from TLA Releasing and Danger After Dark is presented in Anamorphic 2:35, and it looks suitably beautiful, with the original Swedish language in either Dolby 5.1 or 2.0 and the English dubbing in 2.0. English subtitles are included. As for extras, there is a stills gallery (I always find these to be an awkwardly unimpressive addition to extras, but maybe that’s just me?) and the original trailer, with some other unrelated trailers thrown in for good measure. And that`s it. Overall a pretty lame release, perhaps rushed for North American consumption.