A couple of would-be vanquishers of Earth opt instead to play bluegrass in a Brooklyn bar in the sweetly wacky caper “The History of Future Folk.”
Building a decidedly low-fi origin story around a real-life musical duo, the movie could have made its points — war is bad; music is the universal language — in half the time. But the harmonies are sweet, the acoustic picking impressive.
And if the matter of Planet Hondo’s fate is more a thinly veiled showcase for the two-man band than an involving story, J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker’s ultra-low-budget sci-fi comedy delivers a few intergalactic laughs with down-to-earth warmth.
New York dad Bill (Nils d’Aulaire) has kept his true, Hondonian identity a secret from his wife (Julie Ann Emery), turning it into a bedtime story for their young daughter (Onata Aprile, of “What Maisie Knew”). He still aims to find a new home for the people of his doomed planet, but having discovered this earthly thing called music, Bill has forsaken the destruction-of-earthlings part of the mission and taken up the banjo.
Flesh-eating viruses just don’t make sense when you’re building a fan base.
At a friendly neighborhood dive run by Larry (Dee Snider, naturally), Bill and fellow Hondonian Kevin (Jay Klaitz) develop an ardent following of hipsters. The stage patter that the New Yorkers consider finely tuned comedy is just straight talking, Hondo-style. It’s a charming confluence of earnest delivery and irony-steeped interpretation, and the movie could have used more of it — and less of the goofy nods to Darth Vader.
‘The History of Future Folk’
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
Playing: At the Sundance Sunset Cinema, Los Angeles.