Case Number 18171: Small Claims Court

INALIENABLE

Anchor Bay // 2008 // 106 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // January 26th, 2010

The Charge

Born of man...but not of this world!

The Case

Back in 1989, Walter Koenig (Star Trek: The Original Series' Commander Chekov) teamed up with Bruce Campbell for an inventive sci-fi thriller called Moontrap. Directed by visual effects artist Robert Dyke (Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn), it was an extremely low-budget production about a moon expedition discovering dormant alien machinery originally invented to destroy Earth. Evidently, Koenig and Dyke have remained friends ever since. Now they present another shoestring flick called InAlienable, which was not only co-produced but also penned by Koenig. For the record, it's the first feature film in history to premiere exclusively on the Internet.

Dr. Eric Norris (Richard Hatch, Battlestar Galactica) is a brilliant scientist who performs tests on monkeys in order to find a cure for AIDS. Norris has been an emotional wreck since he lost his wife and son in a car accident 8 years ago. Now, he may find happiness again with his young assistant Amanda Mayfield (Courtney Peldon, Boston Public), who's been attracted to him for some time. Before they go out on a date, however, Norris inexplicably gets infected by some kind of parasite from a recovered meteor he's been doing experiments on. Right after Norris and Amanda end up making love, the parasite somehow makes the former pregnant!

Several months later, Norris gives birth to a grotesque humanoid with tentacles, who he names Benjamin. When his cold-hearted, corporate bastard of a boss Schilling (Koenig) learns of the birth, he uses his connections with the government to snatch the DNA-laced creature away. Norris is also taken, and now must endure a painful separation from his "son," who he wants to love and protect. To help him, Amanda hires an unorthodox lawyer named Howard Ellis (Erick Avari, The Mummy) to sue the government and fight for primary custody for Norris.

A courtroom thriller masquerading as a sci-fi drama, InAlienable is an intriguing effort with higher acting caliber than one might expect. Dedicated fans of all things Trek will recognize a host of familiar faces in this impressive cast. Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation) plays the trial defense attorney; Alan Ruck -- who who played alongside Koenig in Star Trek Generations -- appears early on as one of Norris' colleagues; Richard Herd is a veteran of Star Trek: Voyager; Gary Graham played a Vulcan on Enterprise; and the sexy Patricia Tallman (best known as Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5), has done stints on both The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And this is only the cream of the crop, as veterans of other sci-fi franchises pop up all over the place.

InAlienable is far from groundbreaking cinema, but Koenig plays around with a lot of interesting ideas and themes. Not only does he play the slimy Schilling with tang, he also builds up his story well, keeping us hooked most of the way. Only at the end does Koenig shoot himself in the foot, nuking his narrative in favor of a truly ridiculous conclusion. Still, InAlienable is worth a look, not only for his fan base but also sci-fi devotees in general. If anything, cult possibilities are assured.

What anchors the film is Hatch's powerful performance, but Peldon also makes a strong impression as his partner and lover. In addition, Koenig supplies some plum roles for his wife Judy Levitt (playing the judge), as well as both of his kids, with his daughter Danielle playing the stand-up comic.

Anchor Bay's treatment of InAlienable is acceptable, if a bit underwhelming. The 1.78:1 anamorphic print is clean for the most part. Dirt and grain are kept to a minimum, and colors are sufficiently bright. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track gets the job done, with adequate attention paid to the sound effects, dialogue, and music. English SDH subtitles are provided as well. The downside is there are zero extras, not counting a couple of trailers. Be sure to stick with the film all the way to the end, however, as there is a very funny scene where Koenig tap dances. (Yes, you read that right!)

On a final note, I hope Anchor Bay manages to salvage the underrated Moontrap from the VHS wasteland. Like InAlienable, it's a solid low-budget effort with good performances and a lot of creativity.

The Verdict

Koenig and Anchor Bay are free to go. The film is found not guilty!

Review content copyright © 2010 Christopher Kulik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)

Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1027874/combined

* Official Walter Koenig Site
http://www.walterkoenigsite.com