Thursday, October 05, 2006

It thinks, therefore it is!

During an otherwise crappy week, which was launched Monday with a surprise molar-extraction, my second movie shipment arrived from the unfortunately-named William Shatner DVD Club, and it’s a doozy. Just the thing I needed to push away those gloomy clouds. I know, I know — it’s probably too early to make a judgment about the Shatner Club. But so far, these guys are doing a bang-up job of making good on their promise to offer “the best underground Sci-Fi, Horror & Fantasy movies available.”

This month’s movie — a 40-minute short, really — is titled it2i2. A direct-to-video product, it was first released in Europe last March as a Region 2 PAL DVD and available only through mail order. The Shatner Club now offers it exclusively (i.e., you gotta join the club to get it).

it2i2 poses as a BBC documentary in which reporter Robert Llewellyn investigates rumors that an artificial consciousness called it2i2 (“It Thinks, Therefore It Is”) lives on the Internet and might be screwing with us, even (gasp!) playing with air traffic control systems. To unravel The Truth, Llewellyn interviews tech-nerds, government bureaucrats, corporate suckfish, and assorted conspiracy theorists, all of them committed to keeping him in the dark. The fellow who seems to really know all the answers is the mysterious John Silverstine (Llewellyn in a “fat suit,” ala Martin Short’s Jiminy Glick), and watching Llewellyn interrogate himself is a riot. Filmed on a shoestring budget, it2i2 is engaging and fall-down funny, even if you’re in a Vicodin haze like I’ve been.

This brief film is thoroughly Robert Llewellyn’s baby. He wrote it, directed it, and acts in it (twice, as I mentioned before). You might recall Llewellyn as the actor, writer, and producer from the BBC sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf. I didn’t, having only seen a couple of Dwarf episodes years ago, but I’m adding Red Dwarf to my Netflix queue right now.

Oh, and the it2i2 DVD contains some great extras, including outtakes, a “making of” featurette, footage of Llewellyn getting made up as Silverstine, and an interview with Kevin Warwick, a real professor of cybernetics and artificial intelligence. At the risk of sounding like a shill, last month’s excellent Immortel and this month’s it2i2 prompt me to recommend you sci-fi buffs seriously consider subscribing to the Shatner DVD Club.


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Sunni said...

What the smeg took you so long to get Red Dwarf? ;-)

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Presto said...

I'm a big fan of Red Dwarf, and Robert Llewllyn's performance as Kryten in particular. I'll have to check out it2i2. Thanks for the review.

Re-reading your post, I see that it is only available through the Shatner DVD club. Smeg! (sorry, had to do it.)


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