Review: The Second Age of Aquarius

Written and directed by Staci Layne Wilson, co-written by Darren Smith, when Alberta uses her programmer skills and brings her favourite departed rock ‘n’ roll poet back to life, he’s everything she dreamed, at first. Starring: Christina Jacquelyn Calph, Michael Ursu, Brooke Lewis Bellas, Keeshan Giles and Martin Olson.

While the concept of bringing an avatar of your favourite musician to life fits squarely into the sci-fi or futuristic arena, what you’re going to find with The Second Age of Aquarius is much more of the romantic variety. There are a whole host of ethical questions which arise from the idea of jumping immediately into a relationship with, what can basically be equated to, artificial intelligence, it has been repeatedly explored in film but such complicated discussions aren’t really at home with this film. It almost entirely revolves around the developing romance between Alberta (Calph) and Russell (Ursu), which can make things overly simple and it’s slightly at odds to match her modern attitude with his old-fashioned misogynistic views. Ultimately, there isn’t a huge amount at work with this story which slows it down, and it doesn’t delve into the consequences of his creation until much later, and doesn’t dig far.

There is a chemistry between Christina Jacquelyn Calph and Michael Ursu but it doesn’t feel as though it develops much, it’s on a similar playing field for most of the film. While he learns about modern living, whether or not he adjusts to a genuinely modern attitude is debatable. Again, it’s another element which slows the film down, it doesn’t have enough forward momentum to keep you genuinely plugged in. The story also hugely restricts what can be achieved with the direction as it’s all within one, fairly small, location. It does start to feel a little claustrophobic, there isn’t a great use of the space, resulting in mostly close shots and it struggles to build much variety.

Christina Jacquelyn Calph and Michael Ursu build a bubbly, easy-going and silly atmosphere. The two work well together, it doesn’t feel like a true love style story but they do make a convincing couple. Their characters don’t have a great deal of layers, everything is quite on the surface, which can become repetitive. Part of that is because it doesn’t feel as though there’s a clear overall aim or goal of the story to drive it. Brooke Lewis Bellas is a nice addition, bringing a huge personality and some classically styled humour, it’s only a shame she doesn’t get to be more involved.

The Second Age of Aquarius is a bubbly, relaxed and free-wheeling romance, it has sweet intentions, almost reminiscent of 80s movies like Weird Science but it’s missing a key force to drive it forward. Trapping itself in one location unfortunately restricted it more than was helpful, causing it to feel closed in and meandering. It has a naïve, optimist charm and Christina Jacquelyn Calph and Michael Ursu work well together, it may have its flaws but it’s an easy-watch with a kind heart.

Verdict: ✯✯½ | 5/10

Available now on VOD in the US

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