Long-time indie faith-based filmmaker Doug Phillips is back in action after a five year absence from the filmmaking scene, setting aside his faith-based focus ever so briefly to dabble in the world of B-cinema with this effort, Journey to the Docile Pink Planet, a hilarious and hilariously (and intentionally) awful spoof meets political satire take on the 60's era sci-fi films that these days get turned into late night television fodder.
The film had its theatrical premiere in Minneapolis on February 20th, 2019 followed by a February 21st release on Amazon Prime and soon to be followed by a Minneapolis television premiere in March 2019 and an appearances at April's Bare Bones Film Fest.
Journey to the Docile Pink Planet is set in 1960, a private consortium sends a manned mission to Mars and a discovery is made that will impact human history for generations to come. The film has pretty much everything you'd want from a delicious slice of cheesy cinema from an absurd, chaotic plot to an over-inflated sense of self to wildly uneven acting and cheesy, extraordinarily awful special effects that will make you giggle with familiar delight.
Just to make Journey to the Docile Pink Planet even more fun, Phillips tosses in a wide array of cinematic and pop culture references from past and present ranging from Red Dawn Mars to Jurassic Park and Bambi to The Hunger Games.
Watch for them. They're a hoot.
I must admit that I might have preferred that Journey to the Docile Pink Planet be filmed in black-and-white. Or maybe smell-o-vision. Or maybe Cinemagic. Or, well, you get the point. There are times when the film's muted, washed out lensing still feels a little too contemporary, though this is a modest issue at best and never really takes away from the fun of the entire project.
Phillips tends to use many of the same players from project to project, though there's always a fresh face or two and it's refreshing that he doesn't necessarily put the same faces up front. One project's star may be the next project's bit player and so on. In this case, the real stand-out is Patricia Enger, whose take on April, May and June is an inspired delight and alone she's a reason to watch the film. The good news is that the rest of Phillips's ensemble cast, including Phillips himself, is also terrific ranging from a hilarious Tatsiana Krause to Vanessa Wilson and Chris Charais's terrific, spoofy send-up of one Russell Johnson.
You don't know Russell Johnson? Trust me. You do.
It's difficult to truly critique the production quality in Journey to the Docile Pink Planet given its awesome awfulness, though suffice it to say that amidst that awfulness there's the kind of filmmaking that truly no-budget, indie filmmakers completely understand and Phillips knows how to make the best film he can amidst these challenges. Despite its inherent obstacles, Journey to the Docile Pink Planet is an awful lot of fun to watch.
Lensing by Andy Winters is inspired, set decoration by Ryan J. Gilmer is inventive and effective, and the film's original music keeps the film buzzing along in delightful fashion.
While Phillips makes note that he's far from done with the faith-based cinematic world, Journey to the Docile Pink Planet is a pleasant, and politically pointed piece of B-movie cinema that gets its point across and has a lot of fun doing so. You can check it out for yourself at the link provided in the credits and you'll be supporting the work of a low-budget indie filmmaker in the process.
Indeed, check it out for yourself!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic