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Directed by Graham Robertson
Written by Graham Robertson
Starring Scott Kelly Galbreath, Keri Bruno, David Ury, Steve Beaumont Jones
Produced by Scott Bailey, Graham Robertson
I could start this off with a really convoluted “What do you get when you cross” joke, but frankly, I’d just wind up looking insane. And I have “Able Edwards” to blame for that.
Because, you see, “Able Edwards” has decided to just completely blow my mind by giving me a retro-science-fiction style version of the Walt Disney story.
See? I already sound nuts. Imagine what would’ve happened if I’d gone with the joke. But anyway, “Able Edwards” basically takes the story of a Disney-esque character born in the late nineteenth century. He grows up, fights in World War One, and eventually gets the idea for Perry Panda, the practical equivalent of Mickey Mouse. Edwards Studios rises to prominence, and in pretty much every way mirrors the Disney company rise to prominence.
Now, where the difference comes in is that “Able Edwards” takes the ball and really, really, runs with it. Some time into the future, man is living in space following a biological contaminant’s release into Earth’s atmosphere. And in space, the Edwards Company, now the premier manufacturer of androids—the logical extension from all those damn animatronics, no?—is facing a profit plateau. In a truly stunning move, the Edwards Company decides it needs some new blood.
Same as the old blood.
Namely, they clone Able Edwards to put him in charge.
That’s what is actually the most spectacular thing about “Able Edwards”—sheer authenticity. During the embattled Eisner era—and can anyone even remember the new guy’s name?—tell me anyone there wouldn’t have given their eyeteeth to be able to clone Walt and put him back in charge! Tell me!
There’s lots of impressive themes running through “Able Edwards”—we get a look at nature versus nurture in all its glory, the ethicality of arranging people’s lives from behind the scenes, not to mention the really turned-on-its-head concept of escaping the virtual existence lived by our spacegoing humanity through, of all things, interacting with reality.
And, in an oh-so-snide thumbing of the nose to “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Able Edwards” will make abundantly clear that, dammit, IT was the first one to be filmed entirely in front of a green screen. Which sort of loses its punch when you remember that “Sky Captain…” has been on video store shelves for years.
Which isn’t to say it’s all sunshine and daisies down here. “Able Edwards” has its moments where it just drags, and plenty of corporate-speak. Which is probably good given that it’s a movie ABOUT a corporation, but still—it’s not that entertaining. It can even be a downright snooze every so often, but it doesn’t happen too often.
The ending even packs a couple nice surprises into things.
The special features include director and producer commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, production notes and green screen reveals, plus a trailer for “Able Edwards.”
All in all, with a storyline that makes you sad words like “Poignant” are overused, and only a few draggy moments, “Able Edwards” is a fantastic look not at what might have been, but what might yet be.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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