Toronto Sun Article 1997 on Lexx


Thursday, April 17, 1997

In gory Lexx, special effects rule

Lots of brains, but no thought

Toronto Sun

Abused brains are a recurring image in Lexx: The Dark Zone, a new series of Canadian-made sci-fi movies premiering tomorrow night at 9 on CITY-TV.
Brains being removed, brains being transplanted, brains living on after their bodies are gone, brains being bitten in half, brains being sliced, diced and julienne-fried.
All of which is appropriate because trying to figure out what Lexx is about can make your head hurt.
When a story of sorts emerges -- and it's long and heavy sledding reaching that point -- it seems to be this: Misfits steal big bug-shaped spaceship/weapon called the Lexx, flee cruel, dictator-dominated future society and roam the universe in search of a new home.
Stanley Tweedle (Brian Downey) is a wimpy security guard and chronic screw-up facing forced testicle donation if he doesn't escape. Zev (Eva Habermann) is a lavender-haired Space Barbie love slave engineered from a fat female convict. She totes around a helmet head who purrs at her, "I'm a robot that wants to live in your underpants." Kai (Michael McManus) is a centuries-dead assassin with an egregiously bad 'do who is awakened from time to time to lose a limb or two and battle the baddies. Giggerota (Ellen Dubin) is a cannibal all dressed up -- inside one of her victims -- with no one to eat. Sparkly mini-skirted rebel leader Thodin (Barry Bostwick -- and who knew he was so buff?) -- seems as if he's going to be a main character but is dispatched soon after planting one on Zev and telling her, "Beauty such as yours must live on."
There is a sickly funny scene in which a sabotaged p.a. system rewards an outlaw with a medal of merit and sends giant lizards to devour a room full of exceptional children instead of the intended other way 'round.
Almost all of tomorrow night's movie takes place on a planet ruled by a malevolent, cloaked figure called His Shadow.
Lexx is, alas, too ruled by technology. Up to 65% of each episode incorporates state of the art computer animation effects. The effects are awesomely ambitious and the result of a reported $15-million budget -- a Waterworld-sized financial commitment compared to the usual cost of Canadian TV.
But unless you're an effects junkie, this grows tedious and often feels more like a trade show demo than a TV show.
(If you do have a special interest in effects, note that CITY is airing a MovieTelevision special on the making of Lexx tonight at 8.)
Even by cartoon standards, the story is scant indeed, and I only fear that I'm making it sound better than it is.
Beyond the big-money bells and whistles, there's not much there.
Violent and gory, there are also so many gross scenes of human vivisection, decapitation, severed limbs, etc. that you begin to wonder if this isn't entertainment for people who pull the wings off bugs.
A second Lexx installment airs next Friday night and two more movies remain unscheduled.