Review: 'Bitter Lake'
Unfortunately it seems that hype was poorly founded. The movie is disappointingly short, especially at $20, but by the end I was thankful it wasn't any longer.
SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further if you want to give this movie a chance.
The pace of the movie is slow, but it's the characters and story that really killed it. I was strongly reminded of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; neither movie actually has a protagonist. In Bitter Lake we watch as four leaders attempt to be diplomatic for a third of an hour.
The characters stand around and talk for a while, but nothing they say tends to really sink in as meaningful. No puns, no comic relief, just talking. At no point does anything happen that reveals personality on the part of any character, let alone something to make the viewer actually care about anyone or the story. No love interests. No renegades or rebels. No innocent victims. Everything is simply dull.
In the remaining twenty minutes they kill each other one by one, while haranguing their victims with their motivations for doing so. That's it.
In forty minutes, we watch a handful of fursuiters stand around and slowly do nothing but blather at each other, die, and answer the questions posed in the synopsis on the back of the DVD with a simple "no" and "yes."
The actors managed to gesticulate during some (but not all) of their dialog, a strong requirement to make up for the unmoving fursuit expressions. Still, they rarely moved around, and usually kept in pace with the movie by idling.
The clincher that irrevocably destroyed any remaining hope of salvaging the movie is the final "climactic" death. What makes this one any different from the others? Nothing...except for a particularly trite stock sound effect that many folks ought to recognize by now. That single effect transformed this movie from "a good concept with potential" into "a pathetic waste of time."
The voice talent was impressive, but a lot of lines were delivered slowly. The sets and costumes (Clockwork Creature fursuits with medieval garb) were consistent and well-constructed.
The music, composed by Fox Amoore, was better than I expected it to be, considering his albums have been full of cliché and repetitive motifs, lacking any noticeable emotion. In Bitter Lake, his soundtrack helped dress up the scenes nicely and set the mood without being overbearing.
DVD cover/menu/poster artwork was well-done as well, and certainly nothing short of what can be expected from the fandom.
Bitter Lake can be described with one simple word: boring. The only thing that could make this DVD worth the money is the concept of a real furry film produced by the fandom, and the hope that it will inspire its creators – or anyone else – to move forward and put out some real quality video productions that can entertain and show the world something positive about our little fandom.
Still, I applaud the film's cast and crew for all of the effort they put into it, and for actually getting the job done. Many of the crew members wore several different hats behind the scenes. I hope this movie will inspire other furries to follow their path and put together some spectacular films further down the road, and that this is the first of many movies put out by the furry fandom! It should be really easy to raise the bar.