Boy 7: Review

Boy 7: Review

Hi, Airman Xley here. You might remember me from such hit reviews as this year’s sleeper music biopic Love & Mercy or the ever-kinky romp Call Girl of Cthulhu. I’m pleased to report that—after a lengthy grounding in the real world (being an adult sucks)—the Drive-in Zeppelin is sputtering back to life in anticipation of this year’s lackluster awards season. We’ve all been a bit remiss in our duties as film critics and cynics alike, but, fortunately, it seems nothing noteworthy hit the theaters in our absence.

But enough with all the formal dribble, there’s cause for celebration! Huzzah! We just wrapped up a magical weekend at the 2nd annual Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival and—suffice it to say—all expectations were blown away like fucking Alderaan (Rebel Scum!). Executive Director Bears Fonte and crew easily outdid themselves in their festival’s sophomore year, and as such, I have a busy week ahead of me if I’m to properly account for all the terrific films that were screened.  

Although I’m chomping at the bit to talk about some of the festival’s later films, there’s no place more logical to start than at the beginning with the opening night film Boy 7.

Hi, Airman Xley here. You might remember me from such hit reviews as this year’s sleeper music biopic Love & Mercy or the ever-kinky romp Call Girl of Cthulhu. I’m pleased to report that—after a lengthy grounding in the real world (being an adult sucks)—the Drive-in Zeppelin is sputtering back to life in anticipation of this year’s lackluster awards season. We’ve all been a bit remiss in our duties as film critics and cynics alike, but, fortunately, it seems nothing noteworthy hit the theaters in our absence.

But enough with all the formal dribble, there’s cause for celebration! Huzzah! We just wrapped up a magical weekend at the 2nd annual Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival and—suffice it to say—all expectations were blown away like fucking Alderaan (Rebel Scum!). Executive Director Bears Fonte and crew easily outdid themselves in their festival’s sophomore year, and as such, I have a busy week ahead of me if I’m to properly account for all the terrific films that were screened.  

Although I’m chomping at the bit to talk about some of the festival’s later films, there’s no place more logical to start than at the beginning with the opening night film Boy 7.

Hi, Airman Xley here. You might remember me from such hit reviews as this year’s sleeper music biopic Love & Mercy or the ever-kinky romp Call Girl of Cthulhu. I’m pleased to report that—after a lengthy grounding in the real world (being an adult sucks)—the Drive-in Zeppelin is sputtering back to life in anticipation of this year’s lackluster awards season. We’ve all been a bit remiss in our duties as film critics and cynics alike, but, fortunately, it seems nothing noteworthy hit the theaters in our absence.

But enough with all the formal dribble, there’s cause for celebration! Huzzah! We just wrapped up a magical weekend at the 2nd annual Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival and—suffice it to say—all expectations were blown away like fucking Alderaan (Rebel Scum!). Executive Director Bears Fonte and crew easily outdid themselves in their festival’s sophomore year, and as such, I have a busy week ahead of me if I’m to properly account for all the terrific films that were screened.  

Although I’m chomping at the bit to talk about some of the festival’s later films, there’s no place more logical to start than at the beginning with the opening night film Boy 7.

David Kross as Sam, AKA Boy 7

The mystery is afoot when gifted high school hacker Sam (David Kross) wakes up in the subway with no memories of who or where he is. After meeting up with the lovely Lara (Emilia Schüle) and discovering a diary he had written, Sam proceeds to learn the details of his ongoing ordeal including why he is wanted for murder!

From the start of the diary, Sam learns he was sent to the mysterious Kooperation X academy after attempting to manually change a pretty girl’s grades in school. Koop X, he learns, deals with the rehabilitation of gifted, albeit delinquent teenagers. It is at the academy where he is dubbed #7 and meets Lara (Girl #8). Naturally, there’s some nefarious shit going on in the academy, and Sam and Lara have to investigate.

It’s not a particularly memorable film by any means, but I’ll give it credit for at least holding my attention through its 108-minute runtime. Based on the 2011 novel of the same name, written by Mirjam Mous, Boy 7 is the Dutch answer to the myriad of other dystopian young-adult (YA) novels-turned-movies that are slowly and ironically collapsing society with their overly contrived narratives and sub-par performances.

No, but seriously—enough with all the pretentious gobbledygook. Despite being your run-of-the-mill teen action flick, Boy 7 manages to separate itself from its YA brethren by simply being less stupid in its premise than the likes of the Divergent movies or even the Hunger Games. I’m going to tell it like it is and say what everyone (hopefully) is thinking—namely that these films are all incredibly dumb and they’re all that is wrong with science fiction today. 

There’s nothing remotely interesting about Boy 7; there’s nothing unique or particularly compelling. There’s no overarching social commentary or readily explored themes. It’s just a big, dumb, teen action film designed to showcase a couple of good-looking actors in the same story we’ve seen dozens—if not hundreds—of times before.

But at least it was fun.

Aside from toying with the idea of mind control within the authoritarian academy, there’s actually not a whole lot of science fiction happening in the film, which I found immensely refreshing considering similar films try and beat you to death with nonsensical futurism. There also wasn’t the tired trope of including that figurehead villain that our young heroes have to stop because that individual’s death will miraculously fix everything. Seriously, though, If I have to hear Shailene Woodley say “We have to Kill Jeanine” one more fucking time I’m going to lose it. Or god forbid we get Katniss babbling on about how she’s going to kill Snow (spoiler alert: she doesn’t fucking do a damn thing).

Perhaps it was better that Boy 7 didn’t come neatly wrapped up in a typical dystopian future. Despite being overly contrived, it was fun and even mildly funny at times. I think I even saw a fellow audience member playing maestro every time something overly predictable was about to happen. As if he knew exactly when, where, and how all the characters were going to act in every scene. Oh, wait—shit that was me doing that (much to the ire of my neighbor no doubt).

“It’s just a big, dumb, teen action film designed to showcase a couple of good-looking actors in the same story we’ve seen dozens—if not hundreds—of times before.”

The only real comment I have on this film, other than the fact that Emilia Schüle is far more attractive than Shailene Woodley (and a much better actress), is it was very video-game-esque at certain points, and I enjoyed that aspect. I’m not sure if that was intentional on director Özgür Yildirim’s part, but I detected multiple throwbacks to the first Bioshock game—especially the whole “would you kindly” thing as well as the opening first-person scene. I never played System Shock, but I have it on good authority that Bioshock is basically the same, albeit in an underwater, collectivist society (sadly we will never see THAT turned into a movie).

All in all, Boy 7 was exactly the type of film I expected to kick off the OWA festival and—for the most part—I can’t say I left disappointed. Much like last year’s opening film The Well, or whatever the fuck they changed the title to, it was an adequate introduction to an overly spectacular weekend. Stay tuned for reviews and commentary on the festival’s other feature films and shorts—there were some pretty amazing ones. My day job be damned! The world will know how good #OWA2015 was—especially the side-splitting adventures of Parsec the Space Kitten. Defending Other Worlds Austin from aliens, robots, and zombie My Little Pony.

Oh, and to the guy who suggested that Boy 7 reminded him of Dark Cityshame on you sir. For the sake of sci-fi comradery, I didn’t call you out at the theater, but you should know that your comment was nothing short of blasphemy. If you really want to talk about movies that feature memory loss, stayed tuned for my review of Embers. That movie was nothing short of amazing.

The Bottom Line:

Boy 7: You’ve seen it before, though perhaps not in German. Mein Gott! There was even a Dutch version that came out only a few months prior to the one I saw. Regardless—it’s your run-of-the-mill teen ‘dystopian’ thriller, minus anything more than a modest smattering of science fiction. There were some nice, albeit probably unintentional similarities to video games like Bioshock, though they were few and far between. Now would you kindly move on to the next review?