The History of Future Folk is about the origins of the universe’s only alien bluegrass folk duo, and how they discovered and fell in love with Earth’s music. It’s charming, adventurous, and a ton of fun. I mean when’s the last time you saw an Alien Folk Duo Sci-Fi Action Romance Comedy Musical?
As we’ve seen from the movie’s trailer and poster, The History of Future Folk may be one of the most endearing Indie movies we’ve seen so far this year, but is that enough to make it truly great? Read on to find out!
The History of Future Folk
Director: John Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker
Release Date: May 31, 2013
The History of Future Folk begins with a father telling his daughter a story about how an alien from the planet Hondo was sent to earth to destroy humans so that the Hondonians could take over their planet for themselves, since an asteroid was barreling towards Hondo and they needed a new place to live. But the alien was stopped in his tracks when he heard music for the first time. There is no music on Hondo, and the alien was absolutely captivated and decided that he had to save both of the planets somehow instead.
That back story is told in the first few minutes and then we realize that the father telling the story actually is the alien – the revered Hondonian — General Trius. Gen. Trius, also known by his Earth name, Bill, appears to live a quiet, life in Earth’s Brooklyn with his wife and young daughter. He works as a groundskeeper at a space research facility outside of New York and moonlights as a folk musician at a small bar where he preforms in his Hondonian soldier outfit and uses his real identity as an alien as a comedy act.
Bill’s seemingly quiet life is abruptly disrupted when another Hondonian soldier, named Kevin, crash lands on Earth. Kevin is sent to release the deadly weapon and destroy the human race in Bill’s place, but Kevin is a bit bumbling, and with Bill’s help he soon understands why music and humans are so special. General Trius and The Mighty Kevin then join forces to save both Earth and Hondo.
The History of Future Folk is extremely charming for a number of reasons. Firstly, it plays its oddball premise with an entirely straight face. Even though there are a number of things in the movie which feel very low-production; costumes, the fact that you never see other planets, space travel, there is a sense of continuity in that. The movie never tires to get all Icarus on itself, it doesn’t overstep its bounds. It feels cohesive in that way and actually uses its sort of low production value to its advantage in the juxtaposition of its wacky characters and ideas in a modern day, realistic Brooklyn setting.
Secondly, and perhaps most adorably, Future Folk shows a clear love of music. A major part of the strength of this movie is its wonderful script and how many different themes it brings together. Future Folk could have been a simple story about aliens being sent to destroy Earth and then not wanting to, and that would’ve been alright. But it’s when the movie underlines everything with a completely unabashed, joyous discovery of music that it really tugs at your heart.
The History of Future Folk is not perfect, though. While it is undeniably cute and works well for what it does, it never really becomes totally outstanding. While it’s a very enjoyable experience, ultimately I think it will be a bit forgettable. There just isn’t quite enough polish or punch to really push Future Folk to the next level, but it’s hard to exactly define what it’s missing.
The interactions between Bill and his wife’s character, Holly, also felt forced and bland, especially when compared to the unlikely pair of Kevin and his love interest Carmen, who have the fiery passion of a thousand blazing suns. The awkwardness in Bill and Holly’s relationship unfortunately held me back from believing in them as a couple. Holly is supposed to be one of the main reasons Bill stayed on Earth, I mean he married her and had a kid with her! There just wasn’t enough development to drive it home that he loved her and needed to save his family as well as the rest of the world.
All in all though, I really enjoyed watching The History of Future Folk. It’s cute, fun, and never takes itself too seriously, which is really what the Alien Folk Duo Sci-Fi Action Romance Comedy Musical genre is all about. Hondo!