“What is the Building?”
Directed by Christopher Leone
Starring Mark Hapka, Jessica Rothe, Eric Jungmann and Constance Wu
Underground fighter Ronan Carter (Hapka) returns home after a long absence to find his father missing. Along with his sister Beatrix (Rothe) and lovelorn boy next door Harold (Jungmann), he tracks his father to a building which moves between parallel Earths once every thirty-six hours.
What’s wrong with it?
Parallels is a pilot released as a TV movie, with all the flaws that brings. It is strong on set up, but weak on follow through, and doesn’t really have an ending.
The characters are basically cyphers, especially Harold, who can’t seem to decide if he’s a sweet kid at heart or an opportunistic douchebag (I suspect because they are shoehorning in character development that was supposed to follow on his discovery that a corporate scum version of him married his parallel’s Beatrix.
Veteran parallel jumper Polly is set up as the mysterious character (and one of three parallel versions living in the Building) which means that she doesn’t make any sense in a stand alone film.
It’s also pitched on a pilot budget, so they only actually visit two parallels in the course of the movie, one crappy and one shiny.
Conceptually, it’s kind of a retread of Sliders, at least as far as it goes.
What’s right with it?
There’s some potential in the concept that isn’t realised here, which is a shame. The idea of the building which bridges the parallels, a core world and the sealed upper floors.
How bad is it really?
It’s the pilot factor that really kills this one. It just doesn’t have a complete story to tell.
Best bit (if such there is)?
Faced with his parallel’s computer security, Harold seems genuinely mortified as he is obliged to admit to Beatrix that his password is her name and birthday.
What’s up with…?
- Tinker’s savant genius? He’s a tech scrounger from a crapsack Earth who is good with electronics, who can build a device to hack into the ultra-sophisticated transdimensional Building using utterly unknown tech. This is not the same ball park as a self-adjusting pistol.
Production values – The effects are modest, but well done, the film never trying to do more than it can. Compared to the average SyFy jobby, it’s top notch. 6
Dialogue and performances – The characters are incomplete, due to the pilot nature, but I did want to know a bit more about them I guess. The players are all decent enough TV actors. 9
Plot and execution – The film loses points on this one simply because it doesn’t finish; it just ends. Without the series it doesn’t come together. 16
Randomness – After decades, an electrician from apocalypse central manages to hack the Building. I am unconvinced. 5
Waste of potential – Would the series have been any good? I’d have watched a couple of episodes at least. 7