dir. by Luc Besson

starring Craig Kilborn, Christina Ricci

At long last, SciFi writer Larry Niven’s favorite story comes to the screen. Six foot eight albino space bum Beowulf Schaffer crashes his space ship on the fantastic Ringworld. This strange place is a giant metal ring, complete with all possible life forms and special effects, completely encircling a star. Build by an ancient technological society, its inhabitants have collapsed to an early middle ages technology and are now sort of bumping along, hoping someone will show up who can program a VCR. Beowulf is that guy, but he has other things on his mind, like getting home with his bouncy airhead girl friend. How to leave? Simple. Deus ex machina with some incredibly strong string that is falling from the sky. Turns out the reason for the crash was an impact with this string, which ties together big panels orbiting inside the ring to create a day / night cycle (Think about it). Balance is restored to the universe when Beowulf is able to return home with fantastic stories and the film rights.

This flick promises to be THE 1999 summer spectacular-a-rama, complete with every merchandising gimmick possible. Still, it showcases state of the art effects and creature design, and is great fun. The Ringworld concept provides the ultra-fantastic setting you need to carry off the effects, and there are just enough chills, thrills, and bare breasts to keep you on the edge of your seat.

In the background is the standard Hollywood moralizing about technology run amok, romance between otherwise incompatible lovers, and save the whales, but this never overpowers the action-adventure romance chase we all look for in brainless summer film. See it twice. Better yet, slow-mo thorough the good parts when it comes on video this Christmas.

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