Take it to the Nth degree.
Young Anna Hart (Martha Byrne, As the World Turns) is intelligent and talented, but troubled. She has strange dreams she can’t understand. Then, she sees a news report on television that is not only her dream brought to life, but she sees a young girl, also named Anna, who looks and talks just like her. Anna learns that her parents are not her biological parents, and that she’s a clone of a mysterious scientist, Anna Zimmerman. She’s one of many Annas hidden around the country. As Anna struggles with this new information, she and her brother Rowan (Mark Patton) are pursued by mysterious strangers, and Anna’s new piano teacher Michaela (Donna Mitchell, Pollock) might be up to no good. It all ends at a high-tech medical facility, where Anna and Rowan discover even more secrets.
I was surprised to learn this movie was made in 1982, because the whole thing just screams 1970s kitsch. Anna to the Infinite Power looks and feels just like one of those ’70s TV cult shlockers like Bad Ronald and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, so much that I can’t believe it came out the same year as Tron, Poltergeist, and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. When held up against its peers, this movie is lacking.
Still, there’s some enjoyment to be had in this low-budget suburban sci-fi flick. Just know that it’s a lot more soap opera than it is Spielberg.
When Anna to the Infinite Power is powerful:
• Martha Byrne is surprisingly good as Anna. OK, it’s not the greatest child actor performance of all time, but it is consistent—just low-key enough to be realistic and heartfelt without being cutesy or annoying.
• The final third of the movie, taking place in the oddball futuristic medical complex, generates a serious sense of paranoia, and has some suspenseful scenes of Anna sneaking around, just a few steps ahead of getting caught.
When Anna to the Infinite Power is finite:
• The pacing is off. The initial mystery of “why is Anna so different?” is resolved early on, leading to a lot of campy family drama in the middle part of the movie. This lessens the tension in the movie, and makes it feel like the movie’s spinning its wheels with endless scenes of piano lessons and parent/child bickering.
• What’s the deal with Anna’s dad? He insists there’s nothing wrong with her, even though she’s constantly haunted by nightmares and freaks out whenever she sees flickering lights, and he insists that she’s not special, even though she’s a prodigy in both mathematics and music.
• Talk about an abrupt ending.
The picture quality on this DVD is hurting, with visuals that are so soft they’re almost blurry, and a ton of specks and scratches all over the screen. Audio is decent, but hardly spectacular. The disc contains two interviews, with Byrne and Patton, that shed some light on the movie and their overall careers.
There we have it. Anna to the Infinite Power is not the same type of “suburban fantasy” film that was popular at the time. It has some entertaining scenes, but all the parts don’t quite add up to a complete whole.