I decided to save the review of Epoch: Evolution until Christmas eve. It seemed appropriate given how much this science fiction sequel brings up personal faith and organized religion.
Best watched together
Now that I’ve seen both Epoch and Epoch: Evolution I feel it best to recommend you watch them if not back to back, within the same week. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if memory of all the characters were fresher.
Please do not get the impression I was disappointed by the film. What disappointment I had came with my recognizing faces in this one but being unable to remember their story from the first one. It _felt_ like they got the bulk of the original cast to come back for the sequel. I assume there will not be a third since this one was released in 2003 and I’ve not seen a hint of one in the rental world.
Epoch: Evolution is a well done sequel
Okay, some will whine about the cheesy B-grade story and budget, but, they made it work. No studio would back a big budget movie to walk where this movie tread. A small budget with low cost special effects yes, but not a big budget and with both free and cheap special effects software getting better every year low budget science fiction is going to get a lot better. Keep in mind this movie was released in 2003 so it is pushing 14 years of age now.
In the original Epoch the local, less globally established religions of the region where it appeared saw the healing miracles it could perform and welcomed its appearance with open arms. In Evolution we learn that religious extremist groups have sprung up and are out to kill anyone who was directly associated with the first appearance because it threatened their view of the universe.
Science fiction has long history of religion
Here is the point I was eluding to earlier. Science fiction has a long history exploring, replacing and even parodying religion. Babylon 5 introduced “the brothers” whose mission it was to learn all of the names of God on all of the planets. While they were a mix of most religions from earth “the order” chose to study the religions of all creatures coming to the station. The original Star Wars films completely replaced religion with “the force.” We also had the original Planet of the Apes which parodied both religion and human culture. “Epoch: Evolution” chose to confront the battle between organized religion and personal belief head on.
It was quite refreshing to see the return of the hard driving duty focused marine unit leader who kept a small bible in his left breast pocket. Once again seeing a person charged with doing horrible things possessing a deep personal religion. Given current world news over the past few years it was also refreshing to see religious extremists played in an almost non-racial profiling light.
The feel of Star Trek
Probably the most shocking leap this movie took was showing a joint Russian – American orbiting space station tasked with shooting down any and all airborne nukes. Keep in mind I watched this in January when rhetoric was just heating up over Russian involvement in U.S. elections. To me this movie had much of the feel of the original Star Trek television series. That show shocked the world with a fully integrated crew at a time when racial tensions where high and much of the world feared nuclear annihilation. It gave hope we would come out the other side of our current troubles and be a better species.
It is my hope most of you take the time between this holiday and New Years Eve to watch both of these movies. I’m writing this review during January 2017 so cannot know what the rest of the year holds but I can know these two movies might just make you feel a bit better about things.