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Cybernator
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Cybernator

This is your hero,People who have jobs in the field of futurism try their best to predict how the world will turn out at some point down the road. Elements of this practice can be seen throughout the sci-fi genre. For instance, hand-held communicators in the original Star Trek series foreshadowed today’s smartphones. Often, screenwriters will try to outguess the trends of tomorrow and then extrapolate the likely course of mankind’s progress over time. As another example, this is how we can go from the artificial heart (today’s reality), to cybernetic humans, such as Robocop, in “the near future.”

One movie that made very little or no use of futurism, despite being set in the future and telling a story about cyborgs, is Cybernator. This 1991 indie film from Simitar Productions is a great reminder of why low budget sci-fi is such a difficult genre to work in. I have plenty of ideas that would lead to fantastically bad sci-fi movies. I also have the good sense not to raise $50,000 from my relatives, not hire some community theater actors, and then actually film these movies. Robert Rundle, director of Cybernator, would disagree with me on the first two points.

In the event that anyone would like to watch this movie with the goal of enjoying its creamy plot twists, I will not reveal any critical story points here. Instead, here is a brief flavor of some key themes and attributes of the movie that will help the reader to judge whether or not Cybernator is his or her cup of tea:

  • There is a morbidly obese belly dancer who struts her stuff across your television screen
  • There is a scene in which a mildly attractive woman dances go-go style (with tassels) in a strip club. It should be noted that the end of this scene is devoted to the stripper, named Blue, delivering an earnest speech about how her job as an exotic dancer pays her college tuition bill
  • Blue the go-go stripper reappears in an overlong and highly graphic sex scene. This made me recheck the rating on the DVD box, confirming the R…a hard, hard R
  • Most of the cyborgs in Cybernator either dress like Kanye West, or appear completely human
  • A major villain, Captain Hare, is a cyborg who looks identical to, and speaks just like Dee Snyder
  • All special effects and titles are below the level of quality that can be achieved in iMovie ‘05…such levels are still better than output from Windows Movie Maker
  • The entire soundtrack is made up of of synthesizer hits and a loop of generic late 1980’s melody. Imagine a hypothetical ‘Dramatic Theme From Beverly Hills Cop’ and you’ll understand; Harold Faltermeyer would be ashamed
  • The main character rides into the sunset in a Chrysler LeBaron convertible, apparently the K-car of the future (yes, I know that the 1991 LeBaron actually rode on the Chrysler J platform, which in turn was an evolution of the original K-car)

I was hoping, foolishly, that Cybernator would provide me with some small glimpse of what people in 1991 thought today would look like; the year 2010, the time in which Cybernator is set, has come and gone from our real world. Sadly, Cybernator starts off assuming that the 1990’s were the future. It’s almost as if this movie was written in the 1970’s and nobody got around to filming it until 1991. This confusion, bound to an utter lack of budget, could only lead to a defective sci-fi outing.

So then the question becomes one of pure enjoyment value. Can Cybernator be valued as entertainment, regardless of technical or dramatic merit? The story makes enough sense that boredom doesn’t set in, and the bad parts are funny enough to be entertaining. On the other hand, the core ineptitude of this movie is difficult to ignore for 95 minutes. In the final analysis this movie isn’t really worth the time. My main reason for watching it was that I somehow came to own it and had never dropped it in my DVD player. Plus, it had to be better than Hancock (it was).

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