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Screamers (Bilingual)

23 customer reviews

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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 (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767810880
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,635 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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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

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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Format: DVD
A movie that I rented this weekend was Screamers staring Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis and Jennifer Rubin. I was expecting some sort of monster movie but what I got was a bit different. Now I have to buy a copy.
Based on Philip K. Dick's short story Second Variety, this story plays on the theme of what is real. A mining colony on Sirius 6B went on strike because of radiation released by the mining operations. The company did not like that and the two have been at war for ten years. The miners managed to survive by creating screamers, underground flying buzz saws. Now the company wants peace. Both sides have found out that the war is a lie and want to band together. The trouble is the screamers have an automatic production facility and it has started turning out new versions.
Properly advertised this could have been a pretty big film, but it wasn't. Instead it was lost in obscurity. But if you like Philip K. Dick, the man behind Total Recall and Blade Runner, then you will get a kick out of this movie (and all of the surprise twists in the plot).
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By John S. Ryan on Dec 28 2003
Format: DVD
Quick -- name a motion picture based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and starring a tough guy who played a killer cyborg in a previous hit movie.
If you guessed _Total Recall_, you're correct, but it's not the one I had in mind.
This one is nothing like _Total Recall_ (which was an excellent movie but wandered far -- or did it? think twice -- from Dick's 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale'). The story here is straightforward and doesn't involve any questioning of the nature of reality -- though it does, at least obliquely, question the nature of the relationship between humans and machines.
Peter Weller (_Robocop_) is the big cahuna here, and he does an excellent job as the morose, taciturn, tough-as-nails, just barely likeable 'hero' of the piece. The situation: there's some sort of corporate war on, and there's a mining colony, and there's some disinformation, and there's a possibility none of the fine folks that work the mines will ever get home again. (The film is based loosely on Dick's 'Second Variety' but doesn't follow it in detail at all; for one thing, the story was set on Earth.)
And there are the Screamers.
I can't tell you much about them without spoiling the movie for you. I guess I can let you know that they are machines and that they are evolving. Beyond that . . . well, watch and see.
This is a gritty, taut movie, and it's mostly well executed. The cast do a fine job -- especially Roy Dupuis but also that kid who used to rollerblade around on _Caroline In The City_. Some of the tension is artificial but the plot keeps on developing to the very last moment of the film.
It's not great, but it's good. And in its way it's a faithful adaptation of the spirit of Dick's story, despite its major liberties with the details.
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