Directed by: William Shatner
Starring: William Shatner, Dan Gauthier, Amy Acker
What with it being directed, written and starring William Shatner, how could Groom Lake possibly go wrong, right? What if I told you that Groom Lake was worse than the traditional jab at Shatner writing TekWar? Would you cry? Because I’m pretty sure that was the whole point of this movie being made.
Groom Lake is another name for Area 51, if you aren’t aware, and the movie takes place around the same area. William Shatner is in charge of a military base which has been housing an alien for several years and is being shut down, so Shatner breaks as many rules as he can to make sure the alien gets in the spaceship they rebuilt and gets back home before he dies. That could be the plot of the movie. In reality, the plot has to do with this guy and his girlfriend who has lupus (but I thought it was never lupus? YOU LIED TO ME DOCTOR HOUSE) and how they keep going to the wrong place and get the crap beaten out of them. The girlfriend wants to camp out under the stars by Area 51 before she dies, and her stupid boyfriend decides to help out by rolling his car in the stupidest possible maneuver, then leaving her alone all night so she can get attacked by aliens/rednecks/the military/whoever else happens along. It’s worth pointing out that everyone in this movie is fairly stupid. Well, except for William Shatner, who has the master plan.
Instead of talking more about the movie, I’d rather talk about stories that William Shatner has written. Did you know he’s a prolific author? That’s right, he’s more than an iconic television star and world-famous singer, Shatner has written several dozen books, all of which happen to star him. Now, the point could be made that just about every book has a character at least mostly based on the author in it, but not many will go as far as Shatner and just plain have himself star in them. He wrote a Star Trek: The Next Generation book where Kirk gets brought back to life (after the events of Star Trek: Generations) by the Borg and is used as the ultimate weapon against the humans, but he turns back to a good guy just before the end and helps defeat the evil robots once and for all. I’ll never know the reason he never wrote any T.J. Hooker books (possibly because the license was already taken by somebody else). It’s not that Shatner is a bad writer (though he is), it just bugs me that he always has to be the omnipotent star of whatever he writes, no matter what it is. Eh, maybe that’s a minor point.
Regardless of writing, Groom Lake is terrible purely on technical principles. It’s all shot on a hundred dollar handi-cam (probably by Shatner when he wasn’t on camera) and the special effects are very reminiscent of the sort of product you get out of Bryce 3D. The aliens are signified by purple, a purple which is badly superimposed over everything that could possibly be alienesque. There is one well done thing in this movie, which is the flight suit that the alien wears at the end of the six hour long movie (which was originally worn by William Shatner… sigh…), and also graces the cover of the DVD box. And the DVD menu. And probably anything else they could think of, because it’s the ONLY THING THAT LOOKS GOOD IN THIS GODDAMN MOVIE.
If anyone thought a movie completely controlled by William Shatner would be a good thing, they can go ahead and rent Groom Lake and find out how terribly wrong they are. I doubt it’s actually available to buy anywhere except from Blockbuster if you keep it for more than four months or whatever their new policy on ‘no late fees’ is. Maybe Amazon.com would have some used copies available… of course, all of those copies would be from Blockbuster… You know, just don’t ever see this movie. It’s long and terrible and looks like shit and there’s William Shatner just all over the place.