Australian cinema is very hit and miss. You really need to dig under that hideous crust dominated by campy Baz Lurhman movies, singing Pigs and Red Dogs to find some of the hidden B-Movie Gems.
Che Baker’s Blue World Order is one of those B-Grade gems that I think, over time, will be held in the same regard as great Ozploitation films like the original Mad Max, Razorback and Wake in Fright.
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B movie blues
In case you didn’t know, B movies got their name from being on the undercard back in the day when cinemas used to have double features. You’d have to sit through a B movie before you got to the A movie. They were defined as low budget and of inferior quality.
While it seems like a derogatory term, B movies have evolved to be often more credible because they are able to push the boundaries of creativity with much smaller budgets than A titles. They take more risks with less money and are driven by a cult following of loyal fans far more dedicated than the casual cinema goer.
Given that Blue World Order was filmed in and around my hometown, you’ll have to forgive me if I consider myself a cult follower and a little biased.
I have only one degree of separation having worked in the local entertainment industry here and I know some of the people who worked on this movie. Doesn’t mean I’m going to gush over it completely and say it’s perfect. But I will say that making movies in a country where we generally tend to throw more money at sport than art is really fucking hard.
I can only imagine that it’s even more difficult when you’re trying to pitch a science fiction movie that has no connection to present day and doesn’t really provide any commentary on, or showcase the type of Australiana those who hand out the grants like to froth over.
Who made it?
In spite of this, through hard work, dedication and some really awesome support from the Canberra film industry and local community, writer directors Che Baker and Dallas Bland have managed to realize Baker’s original story and deliver Blue World Order with credibility that has seen it win awards at last years Film Invasion Los Angeles for best Narrative Feature, closer to home take the cake at the Canberra International Film Festival and generally kick arse and be nominated at several other independent film festivals across the world. I should also give props Sarah Mason who worked with them on the screenplay.
What’s it about?
The story goes that the world we know was destroyed by nuclear war and some kind of mutant bacteria threatened to wipe out the remaining population. An organisation called “The Order” assumed control and distributed a vaccine via electro magnetic pulse or EMP (if you’ve watched any of those doomsday prepper shows, you’ll know how serious that seems to be). The catch is that along with the vaccine, the EMP also delivers a biotech virus that controls the minds of everyone. Further to that, the EMP has inexplicably killed every child, except one, Jake Slater’s daughter. Jake is struggling to keep her alive, completely unaware that she is the last kid on earth and mankind’s only chance of survival.
Who’s in it?
These guys did very well in securing a solid cast for this movie, which helps the story get over. Jake Ryan who you might have seen in the Great Gatsby and Wolf Creek takes the lead as Jake Slater. They also signed up some Australian cinematic royalty in the amazing Bruce Spence who everyone would recognise from Mad Max, he plays one of the bad guys named Whippet and Jack Thompson who you may know from The Man From Snowy River plays Dr Harris.
They also managed to secure Billy Zane (who needs no introduction) to play The Order’s Master Crane and the outstanding Stephen Hunter. You may recognise Stephen from the Hobbit movies, he plays a character called Madcap.
My Facebook buddy, local Kickboxing/MMA legend and co host of The Give Yourself an Uppercut Podcast, Ben Edwards also gets a run as Master Crane’s bodyguard. Blink and you’ll miss him!
Like I said, it is far from perfect but it’s hard not to like. There are a few transitions where the characters are moving between locations that I found jarring in the way they were edited together. Some of the fight choreography was a little off and there was a car chase scene that took a while to get going, although when it did I thought it was pretty decent. Maybe it had something to do with them using DeLoreans, because I couldn’t help asking myself, “how could a failed piece of engineering from our automotive past, become a vehicle for the post apocalyptic future?” They did look pretty cool though.
It was really awesome to see locations that I have driven past on the way to work, trekked through on a bushwalk or even taken a short cut through used in a completely different context. Particularly the way they used Black Mountain Tower (which is probably the most prominent landmark in Canberra) to such great effect. I also need to give a nod to the special effects team who enhanced the look of the entire production. Well done to the students from Canberra’s Academy of Interactive Entertainment who played a part in making those visuals pop.
Not every movie can be the Avengers or the next Star Wars. But, given how generic those A-list movies often are, sometimes it feels like anyone could make them. Especially if you throw enough money at it and apply that generic winning formula.
With a smidgeon of the budget of a blockbuster, I would go as far to say that Blue World Order shits all over movies like Justice League and The Cloverfield Paradox.
The story might be a little ambitious and perhaps the overall production would have benefitted from taking about 15 to 20 minutes off the total run time. But you can see the dedication and passion shining through.
Blue World Order is bold, ambitious, punches above its weight in many ways and succeeds in delivering an original sci-fi story with it’s heart on it’s sleeve.
In an industry packed with mediocre A movies, Blue World Order is a killer B.