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After tackling fantasy in “The Neverending Story,” director Wolfgang Petersen turned to science-fiction in this intimate tale of opposing fighter pilots who crash-land on a dangerous planet together. Dennis Quaid plays the human, and Louis Gossett Jr plays the alien, unrecognizable under Chris Walas’ convincing prosthetic makeup. The screenplay wisely spends the first two-thirds of the movie building a bond between the characters, taking them from pure hatred for one another to outright brotherly love. It’s time well spent, because when act three rears its ugly head, the conflict and sacrifice are all the more powerful for it. The planet sets never convince you that you’re not on a soundstage and ILM’s visual effects look surprisingly cheap. Maurice Jarre’s score works best when it veers into full symphonic mode, and less when it relies on electronic instruments. Fortunately, the script and leading performances work well enough to overlook the film’s uneven aesthetic accomplishments.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)