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Screamers (Bilingual)

22 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 85.79
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer, Charles Edwin Powell
  • Directors: Christian Duguay
  • Writers: Dan O'Bannon, Miguel Tejada-Flores, Philip K. Dick
  • Producers: Antony I. Ginnane, Charles W. Fries, Franco Battista, Josée Bernard
  • Format: NTSC, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Restricted to ages 18 and over
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 28 1998
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767810880
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,304 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Despite the obvious, superficial similarities to movies like Aliens or the 1982 version of The Thing, this sci-fi/horror thriller is definitely aiming for something more profound. The story is set in the distant future on a colonized mining planet. The planet has been caught in a civil war for years, the population of both sides reduced to living in bunkers in a constant state of siege. When they realize that Earth has betrayed both sides and is uninterested in resolving the conflict, the leader of one side (Peter Weller) decides to set out across no-man's land to negotiate peace with the other side. He takes with him a green recruit (Andy Lauer) and picks up a war orphan along the way. Unfortunately, both sides have been relying on Screamers-automated killer robots that can adopt human forms as disguises-that are now out of control and out to kill all humans, no matter which side they're on. This leads to paranoia and uncertainty about who's really human when Weller's band meets up with the few survivors in the enemy camp (Jennifer Rubin and Roy Dupuis). Written by veteran Hollywood science fiction screenwriter Dan O'Bannon and Canadian Miguel Tejada-Flores and directed by Christian Duguay, it's based on the story "Second Variety" by writer Philip K. Dick. --D.K. Latta

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach on Jan. 22 2004
Format: DVD
Peter Weller is one of those actors you either love or hate. I know my opinions about him vary widely depending on which film I see him in. I thought "Buckaroo Banzai" a ridiculous waste of time largely because I couldn't stand Weller's smarmy performance as a brain surgeon/rock musician who takes time out to save the world. Even his turn as the doomed Officer Murphy in "Robocop" gives the audience little incentive to appreciate this actor, mainly because he undergoes the transformation into cyborg so rapidly. I admit I did enjoy his turn as a sadistic, drug dealing dad in "Firstborn." Then there is the 1995 science fiction film "Screamers," a movie where Weller really comes into his own as a gruff, laconic soldier attempting to battle his way off a distant planet. Based on a book from the science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick, "Screamers" is definitely a low budget film, but it is one of the more effective B movies I have seen recently.
The age-old battle between management and labor finally erupts into open warfare when the corporations involved in mining operations on distant planets decide to strike back when miners refuse to work after a spate of radiation induced deaths. The managers--now formed into an economic bloc called the NEB--decided to retaliate with atomic strikes on mining bases on Sirius 6-B, thereby turning the planet into a desolate plain populated by increasingly diminishing numbers of soldiers on both sides. The commander of the "good" guys, if there are any good guys, is Hendricksson (Weller), a miner turned soldier rapidly tiring of the attrition warfare raging on the planet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 6 2002
Format: DVD
Another reviewer here attributes the story on which this movie is based to "Andrew K. Dick". Well, at least he got it part right. Philip K. Dick wrote a short story called Second Variety a few decades ago, and it is on his interesting idea that this movie is based.
Philip K. Dick has been adapted before. Movies like Blade Runner [Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?], Total Recall [We Can Remember It For You Wholesale], and in summer 2002 The Minority Report [same title] have thrilled audiences while not remaining entirely faithful to Dick's ideas [especially Total Recall, in which Paul Verhoven took huge liberties]. Screamers holds to the idea, but not the setting, of Dick's story. To understand this story you must understand the context and what was on Dick's mind: The US and USSR [keep in mind the time of writing] have finally done it. They have finally blown each other up, and the remnants on earth fight it out in a style reminiscent of WWI. The US develops mechanized standoff weapons called Claws [the Screamers of the movie] which kill in an indiscriminate fashion. US troops are protected by wrist bands which ward off the Claws. Because the Claws are built in wholly mechanized factories, Dick takes them to another level - that of designing new weapons of their own. The obvious happens: US and Soviet armies alike are now targets. The clever, signature Philip K. Dick twist comes when the protagonist of the story finally recognizes the fact that these mechanized killing machines, just as we humans, have developed the means to start killing each other. What irony.
This movie's telling is small, yes, and it is low budget. The story does not need glitz and special effects. The story, in order to be understood, requires perspective and a recognition of what is actually being examined. Human folly is the tale here, and it is fairly well told. Enjoy this story.
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Format: DVD
If you look at this movie as a version of "Aliens", you're missing most of the theme here. The movie isn't about "people fighting robots". It is how people initially create mindless devices to slay other humans. These devices grow on their own from spinning blades, to crawling lizards, to simple happy children, to "help me!" heart-string-tugging hurt soldiers, all the way up to Shakespeare-quoting men and real-love-feeling women.
When the robots reach that human-like point of development, they no longer simply focus on breeding and staying alive as a collective race. Now the ROBOTS start slaying each other for reasons that humans find all to understandable - love and personal desire.
Yes, there's the tension as you keep thinking "what will the NEXT robot look like". You begin to examine the actions of each character, wondering if he or she is a robot too. The line between "real human" and "mechanical device" becomes blurred. At one point Hendricksson grabs Jessica's hand and slices it open on purpose, to see if she really is human or a robot. She bleeds, and he apologizes profusely - leading to them falling in love. But of course the blood was fake - this was merely the next evolution in the robot progression. And it brings to mind the classic line, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" (Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 1). Given the large number of other Shakespeare quotes in the movie, the symbolism was quite apt.
It was impressive that Hendricksson treats the people around him with casual disregard many times - but the robots are showing emotions. The humans are often brusque and untalkative - but the robots make insightful comments drawing from Shakespeare and other great thinkers.
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