Wing Commander

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Wing Commander

Either a thoroughly incomprehensible movie or a daring exercise in the cinema of disorientation, and a painful viewing experience either way, Wing Commander plays like a sequel to a movie never made. As the film—an adaptation of a popular video-game series, which may explain some of its peculiarities but hardly excuses Wing Commander itself—opens, the story seems well under way. The descendant of a nearly extinct race of superhumans, or something, Freddie Prinze Jr. (She's All That) must engage in various starfighting antics to protect Earth from total destruction at the hands of a group of cheap, surprisingly cuddly looking bewhiskered space cats. With best friend Matthew Lillard (who at least seems to enjoy himself in some scenes) at his side, he then proceeds to do just that for the course of the film, though exactly what's going on at any given moment will be lost upon all but the geekiest, most carpal-tunnel-stricken Wing Commander players, if not writer/director Chris Roberts himself. Adapting his own creation, Roberts has taken no steps to make it palatable for anyone not already familiar with the little universe created by his games, making Wing Commander seem like the product of a schizophrenic given a multimillion-dollar budget to re-create his private fantasy world for the general public. But it's not an impressive spectacle. While the digital spaceship effects seem adequate enough, the long stretches between action scenes and the general cheapness of the other special effects—blinking command consoles, faces lit with red lightbulbs, actors with British accents—could have come straight out of Battlestar Galactica. Only those badly in need of a fix of Star Wars-inspired space-jockery need show up.