Review: Origin Wars (2016)

Origin Wars is impressive in ambition and concept, but lacking in actuality.

No matter what else, I have to begin this review by saying that Origins Wars (2016) is an ambitious film. For good or bad, it knows what it wants to be, which is to say a science fiction blockbuster in the spirit of Serenity (2005) or Star Wars (1977), and it does its best to be that. But only that. This is a paradox of a film that at once has enough ambition to be the best “inspired by” movie ever but not to do anything really original. That’s not a bad thing – after all, a good story is a tight story, but the problem is that watching Origin Wars (2016) is like watching a film that you’ve seen thousands of times before late at night after a long, long day.

There’s an alien planet.

Which is cool, don’t get me wrong – and, to the film’s credit, even looks pretty cool.

There are monsters.

And they’re kinda scary. Like big dogs mixed with bears mixed with Nemesis from Resident Evil.

A space prison.

It’s… It’s a thing. Space prisons are hard to do impressively, alright?

Rough natives, a race against time, a little girl in trouble and a dad willing to team up with the rough natives in order to save his daughter’s life.

That’s all good, solid Science Fiction material – and quite appropriately enough the alternative name for Origin Wars (2016) in some markets is Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child (2016) – but the film never really goes as far as it should do. At no point during the three times I’ve seen this film did I feel really emotionally invested in the story.

And that’s a shame because, while I didn’t feel emotionally invested in the film, I found that the performances from each actor were good, for the most part. No one in the cast particularly shone, but there weren’t any stand outs – which, as we’ve established is a running theme with this review. If I wanted to be generous I’d say I was impressed with Isabel Lucas’ performance as a child actor, but to be honest, in a film with such little going for it there’s not much competition.

But I don’t feel like the problem is necessarily with the actors. There’s nothing standout about the dialogue, so any actor would be constricted. Likewise, while the special effects are, overall, impressive for what budget the film would have had to work with (and especially for a mid-range film) nothing really pops out about them. With a bigger budget, a better script, and a slightly more stylized direction I feel that Origin Wars (2016) could have been a match for those films which it aspires to be, but sadly we’ll never know now.

And that’s a real bummer.

Still, I do have to give the film props for going as far as it did because, while I do have complaints, when the visuals take center stage the film does look very impressive. I wish that I could say more about this film, offer it more praise than it perhaps deserves, but after watching it three times over the past two weeks I feel that there really isn’t much to say about Origin Wars (2016).

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