[MOVIE]Screamers (tt0114367)[/MOVIE]This week I had the chance to re-watch the 1995 movie Screamers back-to-back with its 2009 sequel, Screamers: The Hunting. Watching then in order you realize that the original Screamers really was a pretty good movie. The screenplay by Dan O'Bannon is based on the 1953 Philip K. Dick "Second Variety" short-story. Change the Alliance and NEBS to the U.N. and Russia, along with a slightly different ending, and the story lines are nearly identical. The original movie excels at displaying isolation and paranoia. Once the humans, both Alliance and NEBS, realize that they have essentially been written off with no help coming, fear and mistrust cause them to turn on each other instead of coming together to fight their common enemy. There is no happy ending to the movie, just the grim depiction of war. What's interesting is that there is no clear protagonist of the story. There is a main character, Colonel Joseph A. Hendricksson, played by Peter Weller, but, like everybody else in the movie, you don't really cheer him on, you're just watching him trying to survive. It's a grim story set in a grim environment with a grim ending. It is though good science fiction. [MOVIE]Screamers: The Hunting (tt1214983)[/MOVIE] The sequel, a direct-to-DVD release in 2009, is set in the same setting as the original movie but has a different feel to it. Several years after the events of Screamers, and subsequently the planet being abandoned, Earth receives an emergency beacon from the planet indicating that there are humans still on the planet. A rescue ship is launched with the mission to find and retrieve any surviving humans. Among those in the rescue mission is the daughter of Colonel Hendricksson, from the first movie, determined to find out what really happened to her father. Screamers: The Hunting is typical of most direct-to-DVD/cable movies of the past few years. The plot is is basic rehash of the original movie, all of the main actors are attractive 20-somethings, the horror elements come not from suspense but from gore, and the 'twist' ending is so obvious that you don't anticipate if it will be revealed as much as when it will be. Unlike the first movie where the tension came from the will to survive and not knowing whom to trust, the sequel spends its first half building its tension as the result of greed driving the actions of one of the characters. One of the most annoying issues with the sequel is the apparent disregard for consequences by the rescue team. Their ship has been overrun by the robot screamers and yet not a single one of them ever contemplates that the ship going back to Earth might not be a good idea.