David Lee Smith, Vanessa Williams và Michael Dorn star in "The Man From Earth: Holocene," Richard Schenkman"s sci-fi sequel.

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Familiarity with The Man From Earth is a definite advantage in getting to grips with the philosophical và practical elements of Holocene, which never manages to explain how the individual here calling himself “John Young” (Smith) has managed lớn survive from the Cro-Magnon era. Such crucial aspects are discussed at considerable length in the first movie, a 90-minute gabfest mix almost exclusively in a single room populated almost exclusively by academics, & which was aptly described by one critic as the “My Dinner With Andre of the sci-fi world.”

Schenkman, again handling directorial duties (and also collaborating on the screenplay with the late Bixby’s son Emerson), tries lớn “open up” the proceedings with extremely variable results.Holocene ironically inverts the usual critique leveled at sci-fi escapades, in that the chat-dominated scenes work much better than anything remotely resembling action.

When we first see Young, he’s a very popular teacher of comparative religion at a community college in Chico, California. Admired by his quái dị Gil (Michael Dorn), he’s seemingly nội dung with his girlfriend Carolyn (Vanessa Williams). But our ruggedly handsome anh hùng adheres strictly khổng lồ a long-standing regimen by which he severs all ties and moves on roughly once per decade, thus minimizing the chances of his Big Secret being discovered. He’s preparing for his next flit when four of his students — Isabel (Akemi Look), Tara (Brittany Curran), Liko (Carlos Knight) and Philip (Sterling Knight) — gradually piece together various clues & stumble toward an unbelievable truth.

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The religious aspects of John’s 14-century existence, which involves both Jesus Christ & the Buddha, prove particularly traumatizing for Philip, a straight-arrow, devout Christian. The strongest sequence in Holocene is the one most reminiscent of the original Man From Earth, an extended two-hander in which the distraught Philip interrogates John about certain theological matters & their problematic implications.

But where the first pic operated audaciously on a purely cerebral màn chơi throughout, the sequel indulges in melodramatics, histrionics and plot contrivances which work consistently against its strengths. Williams, Star Trek alumnus Dorn và the returning Katt nevertheless cope reasonably well with underwritten roles, while the standout among the somewhat grating Nancy Drew-like younger quartet is Look as the smart, energetic Isabel.

But the real rock upon which the film is built is once again Smith, who nimbly walks the shaky lines of plausibility which underpin (and sometimes undermine) the screenplay. Charismatic but unassuming, Young wears his quasi-immortality with beguiling insouciance. The actor has visibly aged in the interim, of course, which requires some explaining given John’s previous immunity lớn the ravages of time. Schenkman & Bixby junior come up with quite a nifty solution lớn this problem, laying the groundwork (via a clunky, overlong mid-credits “tag”) for possible future updates.

As with the first film, technical aspects are blandly functional. Mark Hinton Stewart’s score is strictly cookie-cutter stuff, near-incessantly deployed và especially distracting in a production which plays strongest as a vehicle for verbal exchanges. It’s a shame, given the fact that juvenile-oriented, effects-driven extravaganzas are if anything even more crushingly dominant than a decade ago. Science fiction has arguably never been more in need of a franchise which — in the manner of the genre’s golden-age television typified by Bixby Sr. — unapologetically foregrounds concept & intelligent debate over empty spectacle. Back lớn the future, indeed.

Production company: Falling Sky EntertainmentCast: David Lee Smith, Akemi Look, Vanessa Williams, Sterling Knight, William Katt, Michael Dorn, John Billingsley, Brittany Curran, Carlos KnightDirector: Richard SchenkmanScreenwriters: Emerson Bixby, Richard Schenkman (story by Eric D Wilkinson, Richard Schenkman)Producers: Richard Schenkman, Eric D. WilkinsonExecutive producers: Emerson Bixby, Jack Hanan, Isaac Hanan, Adam HananCinematographer: Richard VialetProduction designer: Sally CourtoisCostume designer: Katherine HegartyEditor: Bobby K. RichardsonComposer: Mark Hinton StewartCasting director: Shannon MakhanianSales: Falling Sky Entertainment, New York