Drink, Drink!

13 Jan

Cult Of The Week 2 – The Return of Captain Invincible

Not quite the same level of panache as Superman.

Every week there’s an article somewhere about why Australian films, generally speaking,  don’t do very well. I’m not going to get involved in that argument again because it’s dreary and sad, but in short I agree with the position that the funding body chooses to green light films that are almost exclusively about middle class people with problems that are so impossibly boring it’s almost like they wrote down one of Catherine Deveny’s recurring nightmares.  Case in point- at no point in this decade has there been an Australian film as crazy as The Return of Captain Invincible.

Graham Kennedy as the Prime Minister, a man can dream.

The first thing you’ll notice about this film is that Ed Helms  has a full head of hair, and it’s unintentionally really distracting- like if Phillip Seymour Hoffman was incredibly buff all of a sudden. He plays Captain Invincible, a superhero adored for fighting the nazis but is later ostracized for his sympathy towards Communism (the red cape was a giveaway). So he does what all people with nothing left to live for do- he becomes an alcoholic and moves to Australia. While he staggers around the Sydney street his old nemesis Mr. Midnight (Christopher Lee, who’s clearly loving every minute) steals a secret government project the world needs the Captain once again.

Dude is like Saruman with a cocktail shaker.

As you can probably guess from the above plot summary, The Return of Captain Invincible is incredibly shlocky but what it lacks in budget it makes up in charm. Some of the dialogue falls into the ‘so bad it’s good’ territory, and there’s enough slapstick and general silliness to keep things moving. The best part of the film by far are the songs, which were written by Richard O’Brien and Richard Hartley, so any Rocky Horror fanatics should give this a look if you’re looking for another dose of hummable tune and weird sexiness.

With films like Hancock, Watchmen, and the upcoming Kick-Ass, audiences are now well versed in superhero lore to watch a film that subverts those tropes, so if anyone is looking for a property to remake I’d suggest this one.

Note: In doing my Internet Research for this I found out that Not Quite Hollywood ( a documentary about Ozploitation which I’ve yet to see) mentions this film, so future COTW entries might dip into that list.

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One Response to “Drink, Drink!”

  1. A "not the terminator guy" McG January 13, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Mmm, I honestly wonder about the value of remaking propertys like this versus creating new ideas even if they’re in the same vein. This was a gem of a film but like ozploitation it’s a dead time.

    Australian filmmaking has gotten to the point where genuinely creative people are seeking to subvert it not utilize it in order to bring their vision to life.

    Oh and Not Quite Hollywood is s good watch, get on it.

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