Ryan M. Moore’s sci-fi feature, Emmageddon, is not your typical superhero tale. This is even more true when considering it’s very loosely based on Jane Austin’s Emma. Bre Mueck is Emily, a struggling writer enduring the daily grind by her never-satisfied boss at her day job working at a gelato shop.
If work wasn’t bad enough, Emily endures more abuse at a weekly writer’s group she attends run by a so-called professional, John (Daniel Robaire). He berates everyone in the group, offering loads of criticism and very little of it constructive. The only one who sees Emily’s potential is Dylan (Matthew Luret), who may or may not have a puppy dog crush on her.
We soon learn that Emily is working on a script about a superhero, Emmageddon, who is “a superheroine who brings down doom upon her enemies with the razor-sharp wit and impeccable manners of a Jane Austen heroine.” Meanwhile, John is in a bit of trouble as his own screenplay is considered crap by the evil Darius (Karl Hamann), who is also revealed to be the gelato shop owner where Emma works. Darius tells John that he needs Emma’s talent as a writer to complete his scheme. Now our story skates the line between fantasy and reality. In an attempt to abduct Emma, she transforms into Emmageddon, who ultimately succumbs to his power after taking down Darius’ henchmen. With the help of his evil machines, Darius steals Emma/Emily’s power of writing.
“…a superheroine who brings down doom upon her enemies with…razor-sharp wit and impeccable manners…”
Unlike a superhero film that launches into a nauseating roller coaster from the start, Emmageddon is a lyrical narrative of a young woman finding the courage within herself to reach her dreams. However, the film boasts a sweeping orchestra soundtrack thanks to classical pieces residing in the public domain. Moore didn’t exactly coordinate his story to be perfectly in sync with the score, but he does capture the right emotions.
The lead actors, Mueck and Luret, are fine as our two star-crossed lovers. As Emma and Dylan, they are low energy characters and the challenge is to keep them interesting to the end. Daniel Robaire almost seems to enjoy his role as the villainous henchman enough to add accents of energy to move the story along.
The overarching theme is about fulfilling dreams and how they must be fought for. Emma is bursting with brilliance but is constantly being beaten down to the point of giving up while being manipulated and exploited behind her back. It’s also about how tragedy and trauma have a way of killing our dreams at the same time.
It’s important to state that Emmageddon is not for everyone. It’s a very reflective piece that moves at a slow pace. As a guy who likes fast-paced superhero action, there were times when I wish the action were tightened up…a lot. Though its slow pace was deliberate, one can always pick the tempo up a bit.
As an indie film, the effects budget was tight, and it shows, but the final project does have the feel of a much more grounded 1960s Batman in the end. Remove the bright neon colors and the over-the-top camp of the Adam West Batman, and you have Emmageddon.
What I hope to say with this review is that Emmageddon is a mixed bag, and expectations need to be set going in. If you know what you’re in for, you’ll find the story’s gems along the way.
For screening information, visit the official Emmageddon website.
"…about fulfilling dreams and how they must be fought for."