Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First Squad: The Moment of Truth (2009)

I’ve read that Adolf Hitler had a thing for the occult and the supernatural.  I’m not sure how much of what I’ve seen is true, but it has served as the backdrop for fiction.  In First Squad, we find that the Schutzstaffel, commonly referred to as the SS, are trying to raise Baron Von Wolff from the dead.  If successful, it could turn World War II in Germany’s favor.  If not, it would tend to favor the Soviets.  (The movie takes place late in 1941, going into 1942, when the Soviet Union would have been at war with Germany.)

The story follows Nadya, a member of a group called First Squad.  Each has special abilities which would allow them to fight on equal footing.  In fact, Nadya is able to see into the future.  She can even see the crucial moment that would turn the tide of the war.  This gives her the ability to stop Von Wolff and help defeat the Nazis.  This is all assuming she can figure out who the other people are in her vision.

The story is somewhat underdeveloped.  It seems like the movie is part two of a trilogy.  Little of Nadya’s story before returning to Moscow is shown.  All we see are flashbacks showing us  what life was like for her before.  Once the story is concluded, the movie ends and the credits roll.  Are we to allow our knowledge history to fill in the aftermath?  Is this a setup for a sequel?  It seems more like we caught an episode of a miniseries than a full film, especially considering that it was just over an hour in length.

Nadya seems more like a McGuffin than a main character.  She’s used to explain what First Squad is, or was.  She’s necessary to get the spirits or her former teammates back in action.  Since she has amnesia, she acts as a surrogate for the audience to have many of the important details explained to us.  She also has the visions necessary to bring about the final resolution.

The animation style is distinctly CGI.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The movie seems to be going for an edgier look and the animation fits that.  Sometimes, though, it seemed maybe too edgy.  The end credits seemed like something out of a student project with professional music overlaid.  The main movie was at least done well and wasn’t distracting.

All things considered, it’s not a horrible movie.  It just feels like it could have been developed a little more.  The story is complete, but it’s not subtle or complex.  It seems more like a rough draft than a finished project.  I’d say that this movie is going to be for viewers that don’t go for traditional movies.  If you’re looking for something a little different, this might just be your movie.

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