Blerd Film Club: Brother from Another Planet

Science fiction and fantasy have an issue with race. Not just films, but books as well. It can't be denied. For some reason, the idea of Black or POC characters just doesn't seem to come up very often. With the exception of recent films casting them as side characters, the genre has been excessively white. That's one of the reasons why films like The Brother from Another Planet are important. No matter how low budget or old they are they remain classic films because they give us the diversity that so many of us crave.

Brother is an alien who crash lands on Earth. With the exception of having three toes on each foot he looks completely human. He wanders around Brooklyn and is taken in by a group at a Black bar. One helps him acquire a place to stay and a job fixing arcade machines. He easily fixes the machines using his magic touch and glowing fingers.

Throughout his time in New York he goes on various adventures. He visits a museum for the first time. Brother experiences drugs, being robbed then jazz music and sex. The one constant through his adventures is that he's being stalked by two white men, which raises concerns in Brooklyn, at least back then it did. Eventually he's captured by these white men, but the town saves him before sending him off to another borough.

Admittedly, there isn't much to this film. Don't get me wrong, it's interesting. A view at our every day world from the view of an insider. The most interesting thing for me would be Brother's interaction with drugs. He notices a young man overdosed and decides to try the remaining drugs himself. It's not an experience he loves. He tracks down the president of a drug company who was selling street drugs to fund the company. Brother forces him to use the drugs and witness what the drugs do to people.

Another interesting concept that I hadn't seen before, space slavery. Doesn't matter if it's Star Wars, Star Trek or whatever, they don't dwell on the idea of slaves much. Brother is mute, and never says he was a slave but he points out the picture of human slaves and resonates with him. For some reason that was the first time I realized why he was running from the strange men. He could have been a criminal, but he just wanted to be free.

This is an interesting watch, and it's a movie. But, I see it as more of a collection of shorts than a complete story. Yes, there's a timeline of events, but most of them aren't connected and some are seemingly random. There's a moment when a rookie police officer is spilling his heart out to Brother, then we just never see him again, not even as an extra. The Brother from Another Planet is more akin to an episodic television series like The Twilight Zone than it is another science fiction film.

At times it feels like the film is going on too long without any real story. An example would be the tourists from Indiana. There's no real purpose for them to be there. They don't add anything to Brother's narrative, nor do they have a meaningful one of their own. To contrast this, there are these somewhat comedic scenes that often come from nowhere to keep viewers interested. If you're a fan of the science fiction genre, especially the lighter side, you should watch this one. Even if only passively, it's still enjoyable.

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.
Blerd Film Club: Brother from Another Planet Blerd Film Club: Brother from Another Planet Reviewed by Darrell S. on Thursday, February 25, 2021 Rating: 5

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