Heavy Nova (2013) – By Philip Smolen

Stop me if you’ve heard this movie plot before. An international mining spaceship (Heavy Nova) run by an evil corporation (Cerebus Mining) is traveling to a remote planet to pick up a shipment of a rare mineral (in this case Odramadon). On their voyage the crewmembers are slowly killed off one by one in a mysterious and grisly fashion. Who could be the killer? Is there an alien stowaway on board that’s intent on wiping out humankind? Or is the killer one of the crew? Could it be the pilot John Bently (get it?) (Jamie Eldredge), co-pilot Doug Omaha (Zack Alfred), the ship’s proper British doctor Nigel Rosenrose (Nick Fimbers), or the hulking Russian communications specialist Bruce Rasputinoff (Charles Lynch) who has never flown with this crew before? It all falls down to Captain Callahan (J Patrick Ohlde) to figure out how to keep his crew alive so they can collect their precious cargo of ore for humanity.

If there’s an overstuffed movie genre that’s in need of lampooning, it’s the space opera. Since the late 1970s we have engorged ourselves on films about the final frontier, so much so that the characters and the situations in these films are now worn-out and clichéd. “Heavy Nova” is a new 41 minute parody from writer/director Peter Leon and Coldheart Productions that pokes some large funny holes in the genre. It takes the basic idea from such films as “Dark Star” (1974), “Alien” (1979), and “SuperNova” (2000) and gleefully blends them together into a kitschy sci-fi smoothie. Even the name of the film is a joke (Heavy Nova can refer to vaginal farting that sometimes takes place after a woman gives birth).

“Heavy Nova” does a solid job sending up the sci-fi genre and Leon (and fellow writer J Patrick Ohlde) smartly include some marvelous parodies of clichéd scenes we’ve all come to expect, including the corporate TV commercial, the obligatory hologram calls to base and the identifying the corpse scene. He also has a lot of fun exploiting crew stereotypes by making the boys of the Heavy Nova quite possibly the dumbest astronauts to ever fly into space. This includes their ship’s physician (Dr. Rosenrose) who received his medical degree after watching “Grey’s Anatomy.”

It’s a shame then that Leon and Ohlde only shoot for the moon instead of the stars with their satire. While clever, the film is also sophomoric and crude. The dialogue consists mainly of penis and gay jokes as the astronauts rag on each other (usually just before they are disposed of by the killer). I would have liked to have seen more intelligent and sophisticated bantering among the crew. This would have heightened the movie’s sense of fun.

The film is also damaged by the cast. It’s unfortunate that there are no stand-out efforts here, since a few sly performances would have pushed the film to a higher, giddier orbit. As it is, quite a few scenes end flatly.

Still despite these deficiencies, “Heavy Nova” is a welcome addition to the space spoof genre. Featuring some excellent indie CGI effects, it’s a wild and wacky ride with its heart and head in the right place.

For more information on “Heavy Nova”, please visit these sites:

https://www.facebook.com/heavynovamovie and http://www.peterleon.net