Greetings from the Underground!
From director Staci Layne Wilson comes a new sci-fi comedy called The Second Age of Aquarius. Alberta has been a fan of the late rocker Russell Aquarius since she was little. She dreamed about what it would be like to meet him and have him write songs to her. Alberta puts her computer programming skills to use to create a digital avatar that is exactly like her favorite musician. After a bizarre power outage, the Russell avatar is brought into the real world, forever changing Alberta’s life. The question is, does she live out her childhood wish and continue her relationship with Russell or does she need to put him back in the box?
The Second Age of Aquarius hits all the right notes. The script Wilson and Darren Smith have written is the right balance of humor, heart, and interesting commentary. I found the characters funny and well rounded. There are not many special effects or locations, so the heavy lifting has to be done by the leads. Christina Jacquelyn Calph and Michael Ursu were definitely up to the task. Calph’s Alberta has an endearing energy that pulls you along for the growth of her character as she realizes that she cannot just eat edibles and chill with her favorite 60s rocker. You can feel not only her infatuation with Russell, but also her disappointment as she sees what type of person he is. He’s not a bad man, but he is a product of the 60s which comes across on screen by the performance of Michael Ursu. He plays the 60s psychedelic groovy rocker to a tie-dyed T. He embodies all the tropes of this type of character while not going too over the top. Calph and Ursu play off each other well in their comedic banter as well as in the more serious scenes.
You can’t have a rocker character without rock songs and there are plenty in The Second Age of Aquarius thanks to the talent of Repo! The Genetic Opera composer and co-creator Darren Smith. Smith produced the music from equipment and instruments from that era with Michael Ursu singing the vocals. Some songs are more satirical than others but all feel like they came from the late 60s rock era. The opening song “Blue Movie” warmed up the funny bone for the comedy ahead and “Furry Freak” is something you just have to hear to believe. All of the tracks help emphasize the tone of the story and are a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.
I loved how the dialog was written. I never felt like the jokes were being forced. Much of the humor comes from the performer’s delivery, facial expressions, and body language. I can’t say much without a spoiler, but one of my favorite scenes involves banter between Russell Aquarius and another male character. The way it plays out had me laughing out loud because it was how many arguments between two guys end. Most of the story takes place in a single apartment but the camera work kept things visually interesting. There are some special effects used in the film which were appropriate and not distracting. We even get some groovy psychedelic visuals that remind me a bit of something from “Laugh-In”. (Google it, kids.)
The Second Age of Aquarius is a fun, straight forward, sci-fi comedy with some romance peppered in for good measure. It is very much aware of what type of movie it is and plays to its strengths, maintaining the fanciful, upbeat tone. Direction and editing keep things moving at a steady pace, and the ending is a fun surprise. If you like indie comedies and need something to brighten your day, you should check it out. The Second Age of Aquarius is coming to all major VOD channels on Feb 11th, just in time for Valentines Day. You can also find it here https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesecondageofaquarius