The Lords of Praxton (2006) – By Timothy Martinez

 In a parallel universe, on a world known as Praxton, two main Human cultures came to dominate the planet – the Borians of the East and the Sarinthians of the West. For centuries these two societies lived apart on separate continents, a wide ocean dividing them. Eventually the technological and social progress of the two cultures advanced to the point where they both began projects to explore their planet-like moon of Egora, as well as bridging the gap between them by linking their landmasses with an underwater tunnel, thus uniting their planet. However, tensions rose when the subject of which government was going to oversee this new united world arose. Things eventually went from bad to worse and a twelve-year civil war between the two groups resulted. Shortly into the war, it was decided that the children of Praxton would be removed to the neutral moon of Egora to help ensure the future of the planet. Along with them went selected scientists, artists and teachers to aid in the education and welfare of this younger generation.

Eventually the war came to an end and a new ruling body was created, comprised of four Sarinthians and four Borians. Overseeing this group was a single Lord, elected from the native Egorians. This Lordship would continue through the family line, but if the line ended, a new Lord would be chosen. Despite the progress made, there are still many people who remain faithful to their old loyalties. Forming rebel groups, they operate in secret and plot acts of destruction. Many fear that this activity will lead to a major act of terrorism that will result in another civil war. Into this arena comes Jim Corinth, a young ethnologist and inventor with a mysterious past. Jim is thrust into the limelight when he must assume the role of guardian and protector for Logan Benea, the young son of the late Lord Adella Benea. Together they will undertake a journey that will uncover many mysteries and possibly change their world forever.

For true sci-fi purists, who believe that great ideas, a good story and believable characters should always come before fancy special effects and massive sets, this film is definitely for you, while those who want an endless parade of shallow eye candy should look elsewhere. Additionally, for anyone who has a short attention span, then I’d advise you to watch this film in pieces because it is very dialogue heavy. An excellent example of character driven drama, it is arguably only Science Fiction in the most marginal sense of the word. Aside from the setting, there is not much to differentiate it from a more traditional story that is heavy on the political intrigue. This may be due more to the small budget than anything else, as there simply isn’t the opportunity to build lavish sets of futuristic cityscapes and buildings. The viewer will have to make do with trees. Lots and lots of trees. I realize that there aren’t too many places that exist today that are accessible to the independent film maker that also possess qualities that deem them “futuristic looking,” and I’m guessing that in order to compensate for this, director Peter Anthony Fields chose to set many of his scenes outside… but if I saw another open field ringed by trees, I was going to think I was watching a nature documentary. To be fair, the decision to place many such dialogue driven scenes outdoors makes them flow much more smoothly and opens things up without a tight, claustrophobic feel.

All kidding aside when it comes to the abundance of trees and outdoor locations in this film, the story still is rather interesting, and while most of the actors turn in credible performances, the success of the story really hinges on the level of writing. As someone who has always struggled when it came to writing dialogue, I must commend the writers for their achievement here. They’ve taken a film that runs two hours and fifteen minutes and that has very little in the way of action or thrills and made it not only watchable, but also quite engrossing at times. Not only is that a tricky thing to do, but it re-enforces the idea that Science Fiction is meant to make one ponder and think. While not as emotionally wringing as Fields’ previous film, The Way Home, there is enough genuine drama to keep one watching.

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