It was back in 2019 that we first heard of The Second Age of Aquarius via a press release that described it as “Weird Science meets The Odd Couple meets Oliver Stone’s The Doors”. That’s a hell of a mix by anyone’s standards and it certainly raised some interesting possibilities in my mind. Now that it’s finally here the question is, how well does it live up to those expectations?
Russell Aquarius (Michael Ursu, If She Screams, A Journey to a Journey) was a 60s hippy era rock star until he joined to 27 Club by getting electrocuted onstage. Alberta Stevens (Christina Jacquelyn Calph, Tower Heist, Boyz of Summer), is a virtual reality programmer whose grandmother was Russell’s biggest fan. Before she died she passed on her love of music to Alberta’s mother Tawny (Brooke Lewis Bellas, Dahmer vs. Gacy, Slime City Massacre) and her obsession with Russell to Alberta.
On what would have been his 58th birthday, Alberta is creating an avatar of her idol the power mysteriously goes out. When it returns it brought something with it, Russell Aquarius, back from the dead and quite convinced this is all a bad trip.
Director Staci Layne Wilson (Shevenge, The Ventures: Stars on Guitars) and co-writer Darren Smith (Repo! The Genetic Opera) adapted the script from a short story they co-wrote, “Fandom/Phantom”. Smith also wrote songs for The Second Age of Aquarius and performs them along with Michael Ursu.
If, like me, the references to The Doors and the involvement of Darren Smith put visions of some rather dark humour such as a fangirl getting a drugged-out Jim Morrison type musician dropped into her world, in your mind, lose those thoughts before watching The Second Age of Aquarius because it’s actually a fairly light and breezy comedy. And while that’s not really my scene man, I could dig the film for what it is.
There are a lot of the expected jokes about Russell dealing with modern technology and Alberta dealing with his 60s attitudes towards women. That comes with the territory in any fish out of water comedy, and it’s nicely done here with moments like his reaction to Alberta saying she doesn’t cook or referring to the chicken nuggets she cooks up as “astronaut food”.
Apart from those, there are other complications involving one of Alberta’s co-workers Julio played by Richard Trejo who was also the film’s cinematographer although he’s best known as a sound guy on films like Paranormal Attraction and Serena Waits. But for the most part, The Second Age of Aquarius is a two-character film played out on one location, Alberta’s apartment. Credit Trejo for managing to find enough different angles to keep the scenes from all starting to look alike.
The Second Age of Aquarius also benefits from excellent chemistry between the two leads, making their back and forth feel natural. It also helps make it believable that she puts up with him even at his most obnoxious. Since they essentially are the film, if their relationship hadn’t felt real it would have been a real problem.
The film’s original songs aren’t bad but given the references to The Doors, I was expecting something more along those lines. They were apparently recorded with instruments from the era when they would have been recorded to give them an extra bit of authenticity, although I suspect only musicians and music scholars will actually notice it.
Despite not being what I expected, The Second Age of Aquarius was a lot of fun. And if it can appeal to someone who dislikes rom-coms as much as I do then it’s probably worth giving a chance. And check out the interview segments during the end credits, they’re funny and there’s a couple of cameos including Del Howison, owner of Dark Delicacies bookstore mixed in.