Stars: Joshua Mikel, Tim Nettles and Mark Marple
|This film was an official selection at the 6th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Tempe in 2010. Here's an index to my reviews of 2010 films.|
'I never once thought I'd be in such precarious circumstances,' says Dr Sinclair Tyler, as he gets ready to leap off the roof of a building. He's an effusive sort of character who talks at least a mile a minute, fortunate given that he's going to be tasked with saving the entire United States in a mere seventeen minutes in this post civil war comedy short from Florida State University. We're in Ideal, GA, where Tyler had previously served as apprentice to an eccentric southern scientist called Prof Arthur Couch. When the War of Northern Aggression came along, Tyler had gone north to study while Couch remained in Dixie. Now, a year after the end of the war, Couch has called on his former assistant to help in a matter of life and death. His heart is failing but he's invented a device that will cure it, if only he has Tyler's medical ability to make it happen. It's the SPAGHETT-1, which is as steampunk as you might imagine, given that we're in 1866.
If Joshua Mikel overacts as Tyler, Tim Nettles overacts even more as Couch. He has an eyepatch and a cheesy grin to start with, but he throws himself into the part like he's Billy Bob Thornton on speed. It's not that this pair can't act, it's just that they're acting up an hour's worth of material in a mere quarter of that and they don't have time to slow down and add finesse. They're both great fun to watch, even before we discover what SPAGHETT-1 stands for and what Couch is really planning to do with it. Mark Marple is just as fun as the object of his nefarious plans, a decorated yankee officer called Gen Joshua Chamberlain. It's obvious that all three had a ball making this short and the enthusiasm rubs off on us. It's technically accomplished, the only flaws being tied to the sheer insanity of the whole piece. Bizarrely though that sheer insanity may just be the greatest success of the film too, that and the fact that we're long overdue for a good steampunk riot.