Reviews of Karaoke (1996) and related work

Karaoke (1996Moving picture, 3.5 hours)

Seen in 2016.

Honestly it’s only worth watching because it leads into Cold Lazarus (1996). On its own, it invites a dull po-mo interpretation of the dying author writing about a character parallel to himself who gets involved in a mixture of fiction and reality. There is some clever stuff to be found in that story and I always enjoy Richard E. Grant, but Feeld’s interest in Sandra never loses its creepy sexual undertone, and both of the Baglins make me cringe.

References here: Cold Lazarus (1996).

moving picture fiction series

Cold Lazarus (1996Moving picture, 5.0 hours)

Seen in 2016.

I’m pretty sure I originally saw an episode or two of this on its original airing in Sweden, but on seeing it all in 2016 I remembered nothing except the image of “Lazarus”’s frozen head, with scientists.

A small team of 24th-century scientists want to use the cryogenically preserved head of a man from the 19th century to learn about that lost world by forcibly triggering the man’s memories and making them accessible in the manner of a film.

Dystopian cyberpunk science fiction. Predictably the special effects have not aged well. It’s a really bad case of the costume department raiding sports stores to make armoured corporate thugs, but the few CGI sequences are tolerable. Dennis Potter, the dying writer, clearly based his vision of the future on the sort of fuzzy and wildly inaccurate non-technical writing about the Internet that the character of Feeld was reading in Karaoke (1996). The use of surveillance, for example, is unconvincing: this is something the characters would be accustomed to as ubiquitous in their world. The attempt to reverse gender roles around Masdon, although admirable, is not successful: Her two whores are both apparently happy to be called stupid, implying an underlying male sense of security. I am also predictably disappointed by the pop-Christian view of death. In many other ways this is quite clever. I like the dwindling group of decreasingly idealistic, aptly characterized scientists trying to navigate the treacherous world of market speculation.

References here: Karaoke (1996).

moving picture sequel fiction series cyberpunk