The third LEXX telemovie is not really as subversive as I Worship His Shadow, or as schlockily bonkers as Supernova, and the themes are rather obviously telegraphed even by LEXX standards (I get it, it’s about eating. Move on, OK?). Also, the CGI was more obvious than in the first two stories for some reason: possibly they were saving up money for the grand finale.
Nonetheless, it takes balls to develop a hybrid of Soylent Green, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Screamers, Reefer Madness and Mad Max and make it work as a story. Doreen Jacobi, as unlikely villain Wist, is stunningly beautiful, and Rutger Hauer is, well, Rutger Hauer, and clearly having a lot of fun. The interviews on the DVD extras were also weirdly hilarious.
Not really an awful lot more to say, so let’s move on.
Finally continuing the LEXX capsule reviews with the second Lexx telemovie, Super Nova. Still pretty good, but this one was lower on the subversive wit, higher on the body horror, and had a shower scene where Stan spies on Zev the love-slave (and gets found out) that I’m pretty sure wasn’t in the Canadian version that I first saw back in the nineties (research indicates it wasn’t, and that the team filmed some too-porny-for-Canada sequences with a view to putting them in video releases and European versions).
Without spoilers: this episode sees the crew trying to fix Kai’s longevity issue (having no fresh protoblood, he’s only got ten days to live) by travelling to his home planet of Brunnis. Since he’s also the Last of the Brunnen-G people, it’s inhabited only by The Poet Man (Tim Curry), a hologram who isn’t going to let a little thing like being dead stand in the way of having sex and reproducing. The story also introduces Giggerota, a strangely charismatic recurring baddie with cannibalistic tendencies. The story does some interesting things with the concept of prophecy and destiny; on the negative side, Giggerota, at this point, just feels like a gratuitous if entertaining Rabelasian side-plot, but her importance to the series does become clearer later on.
I have a DVD copy of this, and there was a fun interview on the extras with Lex Gigeroth and the team in which they explain the terribly-new and cutting-edge concept of CGI backgrounds. These have actually stood the test of time pretty well– a lot better than The Phantom Menace, which had more money thrown at it; I hadn’t realised quite how much of the backgrounds weren’t sets until seeing the behnind-the-scenes footage. Also the giant head surrounded by steampunk electrical pylons on Brunnis is astonishing.
For the last couple of years I’ve been re-watching the LEXX series, apart from Season Four (which isn’t on Amazon Prime for some reason) and microblogging about it on Facebook. And then I got asked by a friend if I could make the reviews generally available so he could read them while doing his own re-watch.
So, a new periodic blog feature: LEXX capsule reviews. I’m editing and expanding these from the original microblogs to fit the new format, obviously, but the reactions are more or less the same.
I Worship His Shadow is the first 90-minute (plus adverts) telemovie, which I initially watched on first broadcast on CityTV in Canada. Rewatching, it’s actually a lot better than I remember it being. My past impression had been that it was just a lot of gratuitous schlock, but watching it again there was a lot of wit and subversion of narrative tropes and expectations (it builds and builds towards a story about heroic naughty-but-likeable outlaws with the most powerful ship in the universe…. and abruptly tears that away), casual bisexuality, and surprising gender egalitarianism (I’d been worried about the premise of Zev’s character– an ugly, fat woman given a beautiful thin body and sentenced to life as a love slave– but it winds up being less about the fat-shaming and more about the insidiousness of patriarchy).
There was also a whole lot of really graphic body horror, and (mild spoiler) I’m amazed that they got away with a sequence of multiple child murder on network television.
My summary of LEXX as a whole is: “Blake’s 7, reimagined by Lars von Trier and Ken Russell.” I Worship His Shadow is pretty much that.