Movie Mastery – Screamers (1995)

screamers poster

On a distant planet, some bullshit happens and then nobody pays attention to it anymore because oh holy hell! There are crazy robos attacking and they could be anyone but probably the ones they spoil in the trailer.

One response to “Movie Mastery – Screamers (1995)

  1. Ah man, I’m disappointed that you didn’t like the movie. I thought it was okay whenever I watched this, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it and you are correct in some of the criticisms, such a douchebag is such a douchebag that it’s clear he’s a Robo. It probably would have been creepier if he turned out to be a human who has gone so over the edge and paranoid that he’s become their own worst enemy.

    However, the film as a whole is actually pretty faithful to the short story. The major difference is that the short story is set on a war-ravaged Earth against the UN (Alliance) and the Soviet Union (NEB), with the UN elite evacuating to a lunar colony. The whole subplot of the conspiracy of the Alliance abandoning their soldiers and “Ace” Jefferson are movie inventions. The book ends pretty much the same way, except that Henricks(son) is heavily injured and gives his ride to the woman survivor before it’s revealed that she’s a Robo, likely dooming the lunar colony in the process. The other thing is that it’s apparent that the robots aren’t networked in any way and, in the absence of humans, fight each other like some Robo race war. It’s remarked at the end that the Claws (as the initial robots are nicknamed, with the moniker applying to the evolved models as well) are learning, adapting, and developing their own weapons to start killing their own kind.

    Also, it’s interesting that Dick went to this well multiple times. Along with the tension of robot infiltration showing up in “Impostor” and “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep”, people fighting self-repairing automated weapon systems was also done in an earlier short story “The Gun” and later with “Autofac”, where the automated factories that have supplied nuclear war survivors have become a threat to humanity because they’re consuming more resources they the humans can use.

    About the whole Peter Weller collecting Roman coins and listening to opera, I’m certain that’s Weller’s influence on the production. Weller’s a big fan of Italian antiquities that he would eventually get a master’s degree in Roman and Renaissance Art from Syracuse and later a doctorate from UCLA in Italian Renaissance art history. I even appears in some History Channel documentaries as an interviewed expert on Roman history, when he was professor at Syracuse. Supposedly, his courses were intentionally very difficult because he wanted students attending to have the same love of the subject and not because they were there to say they went to class with “Professor Robocop”.

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