The History of Future Folk (2012)
Probably the only alien-folk-duo sci-fi-action-romance-comedy movie ever made, which totally makes it the best alien-folk-duo sci-fi-action-romance-comedy movie ever made
Ever wish you could find a movie like The Pick of Destiny, just more family-friendly? How about having your ear-holes serenaded by some sweet, sweet alien bluegrass? Well, I tell you what, I've never heard of the band Future Folk until this movie, but you know how I so often tell all of you that the soundtrack is just kind of there and background? Prepare for music to jump into the front of the scene. Whether you find yourself wearing a bucket on your head and trying to farm space worms or you wish someone would just set off a race-destroying toxin, set your lasers to stun and suit up for some fun.
The story of HoFF is pretty amusing on it's own right, and by far one of the more imaginative things I've watched in a while. General Trius (Nils d'Aulaire) is a Hondo-ian sent to Earth over a matter of great concern: his planet of Hondo is in the path of a great comet that will destroy it and all it's people. To remedy this situation, Trius is meant to activate a toxin device that will clear out all of the humans on the planet, allowing the Hondo-ians to relocate to Earth and avoid the comet wiping them all out. The hitch to this plan comes upon Trius's arrival, at which point he hears music and immediately falls in love with it. From there on out, he makes it his mission to try to save both Earth and Hondo.
Meanwhile, Hondo grows anxious and sends an assassin and fellow Hondo-ian named Kevin (Jay Klaitz) to kill Trius (who is now thought a traitor) and finish his mission. After a bit of conflict, Trius captures Kevin, ties him up, and leaves him in the shed behind the house. When his daughter (Trius married an Earth woman, whom he fell in love with after spending some time here) stumbles in while playing outside, things start to get complicated. Trius, now in a bit of a bind on the family front, tries to convince Kevin that Earth must also be saved by introducing him to music. The rest of the movie then becomes one great adventure as things get further and further complicated for Trius when the real assassin shows up and activates the toxin device, forcing him and Kevin to do the best they can to not only keep everyone on Earth alive, but save their home planet of Hondo and become heroes!
It's an imaginative tale told for what one would assume was a relatively modest budget. It's the kind of movie that you want to call low budget, but everything just looks so finely well polished that it's hard to do so in any seriousness. As things thicken, Trius gets a side-quest of sorts on trying to find a way to explain to his wife that he's actually an alien from another planet, while his now-buddy Kevin falls in love with a female cop (which causes quite a few issues on it's own) and tries to learn how one should or shouldn't act on Earth. The two form up upon becoming buddies and transform into the band known as Future Folk (to the best I can tell, much like Tenacious D, this is a legitimate band that has existed for a while pre-movie), which people love listening to (and we get to see as the crowd grows over the course of the movie and gets more into it).
Music here is obviously the passion play depicted on screen, but that's not to say it belittles the acting or the relationships shown to us either. Actors do a splendid job on screen, form the incredibly quirky Kevin to the normal father-daughter interactions between Trius and his daughter. To elaborate a bit on how well they do these, by the end you feel to some extent personally invested in this bid of love between Trius and his wife, hoping that just somehow she'll believe him and a happily ever after can be foraged out of the understandable lies Trius has come up with to disguise the fact he's an alien. On the other hand, almost in complete contrast to the serious feelings and tensions on the Trius family side, Kevin trying to romance the police officer cutey ranges from slightly creepy to flat-out comedically absurd. It might seem a bit shallow, but given the limited amount of actual background or time spent on screen by all the members involved, it accomplishes an amazing amount of persuasion towards the relationships - be it husband and wife, father and daughter, or alien goofball and cop looking for the right guy - that gets across exactly what you would want it to, without ever resorting to the needless inclusion of sex that a lot of other "romance" plots would include (think Stranger than Fiction).
The actors do a wonderful job delivering their lines, and it comes off believable given most of the situations being presented. It's might seem a little strange to some how quickly the Hondo-ians seem to pick up new things (Kevin seems to learn guitar in one day, and Spanish in who knows how short a time), but who am I to judge how quickly a race of aliens from another planet that haven't even invented music can learn something? The soundtrack is probably by far one of my favorite parts of this movie - and something that just adds to the polish. Much like The Pick of Destiny, much of the songs come from either Trius, Kevin, or the combination of them playing music - with the exception of some very classic songs the names of which always seems to escape me despite me enjoying them. This leads to a feeling of reason behind the music, and it helps that many of the songs played by the two related to Hondo, the plot, or themselves in general. One of Kevin's first songs is about how he used to be nothing more than a space worm farmer, and the lines are witty enough that when combined with that folk-style bluegrass-esque instrumental played along it becomes very catchy. When Trius first demonstrates music to Kevin, you'll find out just how wide-versed your musical tastes are, and you can recognize things anywhere from Dies Irae to the Super Mario theme.
Pacing here seems pretty well done, and there are a few montages here and there that break it up a bit but never feel as though they aren't in some way contributing to the movie (particularly after you've seen it all and know all that's going on). The entire presentation is well polished, and although the costume design of the Hondo-ians space suits might lend the impression it's low budget (what with the open-holed buckets on their heads), the one other alien to appear is quite detailed and well done - and also very much practical from what I can tell. The sets are nothing exceptionally out of the ordinary, as are most the everyday human attires, but it's to be expected and fits very well in with the plot. It is a bit amusing, however, that crowds react so little to a man running around in a red jump suit with a bucket on his head and a laser rifle in his hands though - I guess the events just take place in a better time, when people weren't so uptight about everything.
When it comes down to it, I was entertained enough by this movie that i wanted to bring it to peoples attention. You see, more than anything else, I feel that sometimes that's my reason behind doing this site in the first place - to share things with people that could very well have slipt under the radars into obscurity with absolutely no reason for doing so. Of course, there's also that bit about how it makes me feel like I'm being more productive watching movies than I actually am, but not everyone can be in charge of saving two worlds, or talented enough to come up with such interesting lyrics or play such impressive licks. If you like quirky movies, movies that make you feel good, or bluegrass folk-style music, it's probably a must watch. If you're lady friend has been nagging you to watch a romantic movie with her and share some bonding time, this ones got a little something for both sides of the love seat. Heck, have I steered you wrong yet?