This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy adamatdramatrain'S REVIEW


Bonkers low-budget Kiwi Sci-Fi that’s genuinely funny, but actually way way too long.


As the title may imply, THIS GIANT PAPIER-MACHE BOULDER IS ACTUALLY REALLY HEAVY, is a very, very silly movie. And that’s its strength. Some no-budget, labour-of-love, locally made movies are stupidly proud, completely unaware of their limitations. But BOULDER's proudly stupid.

Two-years and a sh*t-ton of cardboard toilet-roll tubes, kitchen utensils and tin-foil in the making, this is Kiwi artist, Christian Nicolson’s baby. As director, co-writer, co-producer and co-star, Nicolson’s channeled Mel Brooks, by way of SPACEBALLS, and Monty Python, by way of HOLY GRAIL, only on a far smaller budget, with no Hollywood stars, just a few hairdryers and only a couple of rabbits.

A loving, bonkers homage and goofy piss-take of C-grade 50s sci-fi, BOULDER is Ed Wood’s PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, if it was made in Auckland, with slightly better special effects and a scatological sense of humour.

A string of sight-gags, slapstick, kooky art direction, bad puns and low-brow gags, BOULDER is genuinely, and occasionally laugh-out-loud, funny. A highlight for me was a direct take-off of STAR TREK’s notoriously violent Kirk vs Gorn fight from the original series episode, ‘Arena’, in which Captain Kirk duels spectacularly with a giant lizard... ;)

Other gems include an easily insulted alien shopkeeper, (a character that could be straight out of THE HITCH-HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY), giant reptiles, giant rabbits and some great background spaceship window gags (look out for a cat, a cow, a dog and, wait, what, was that – sperm?!)

The set pieces are a hoot, with a gloriously tacky sci-fi convention, and a fabulously cheap STAR WARS-style Mos Eisley spaceport scene, complete with a rubbish skip dressed up as a space tank.

The acting is no great shakes, but then because the beautifully bad sets are made so obviously of kitchen appliances, egg-cartons and newspaper, two-dimensional characters work wonderfully.

The meta-comments, and cult references (largely to BLAKES 7 and STAR TREK), are fun too, as when the boys first encounter the spaceship, and Lewis Roscoe mutters: “Whoever did this was on a real low budget.”

The stand-out performance is Joseph Wycoff, camping it up and chewing the wonky scenery as the puffed-up villain, Lord Froth. His mono-browed, buck-toothed, right-hand-gal (Tansy Hayden) is a hoot too.

Where the film falls apart and stops being fun is in its run-time. At just under two hours, it outstays its welcome by at least twenty minutes, running out of puff, and in desperate needs of trimming back if it’s to ever appeal to a wider, less forgiving audience.

Runtime aside, it’s surprisingly entertaining, with genuine laughs, and it’s made with a passion and joy that ooze off the screen. It’s a local venture that’s a lot of fun and has done well to get so much comedy and sci-fi festival attention around the world.

It’s main issue, aside from the run-time, is that it tries to wedge in a “plot” in the last act. But this kind of zany silliness doesn’t need much more plot than: three mates (Nicolson, the crazy-haired Daniel Pujol, and Roscoe, who gets one of my favourite lines: “What was in that mint, Jeffrey?”) find themselves in a C-grade sci-fi movie. Nicolson falls for a nerdy non-Princess (Sez Niederer), and sets out to woo her on a flying space moped - defeating an evil galactic Battlelord along the way… Oh and you get to find out what a Sponkey is too. So, you know, bonus.

I took my son, he’s 10 and enjoyed it. Like me, he could have done without the last half-hour. Heck, if it wasn’t for the odd “F” word, and it was cut shorter, it’d be a great family comedy adventure, with the added fun of local references.

I mean, come on, how often do you get to hear Auckland’s North Shore, Glenfield Mall and Glassons mentioned in a sci-fi movie? ;)