Sci Fi comedy is probably under-explored as a medium. At its worst, it brings us silly films entirely based on a single gimmick, as in Honey I Shrunk the Kids or Flubber. In better expressions of the medium – like the Men In Black series or Mars Attacks – it takes high-quality effects and treats them as secondary elements rather than the focus of the film, and foregrounds things with a decent story or social commentary. The French have always given a nod to humor in sci-fi, from the dark humor or 1965’s Alphaville, to more recent films like The Fifth Element or Alien: Resurrection. In our previous roundups of sci-fi shorts (see here and here), we weren’t zeroing in so much on the themes as the technical approach, but this time we’re focusing specifically on comedy. The short seems a natural platform for delivering a single riff or punchline in sci-fi, let’s take a look. Does it work?
Stryka asks us to tag along as the film explores the inner life of a reptile alien thief in futuristic Brooklyn. Surprisingly well-acted, especially when you ponder the challenge of expressing character through a bunch of prosthetic makeup, and reasonably slick production values. Does it work?
Time Trap is exceptionally clever in the plot device department, but you need to pay attention and think a little, it doesn’t hand over the humor entirely with gags or pratfalls. A clever twist on time travel as a plot device.
Another short leaning on time travel as the story device, HISS is tight and well-crafted, but again, may confuse you if you’re not paying attention. If HISS stumbles in any way, give the makers a break, it was conceived and shot in two days for the SciFi London 48 hour film challenge!
The Black Hole
What would you do if you had your own personal black hole? Hopefully not what this fellow does. With some visual debt to Fight Club, The Black Hole is the very definition of short, at under three minutes.
What if your eyes weren’t really your own, because you’d surrendered them to the hardware necessary to make a Google-Glass-like app function? Let’s go on a date with Patrick and find out. (If you know how to cook, Patrick’s knife technique alone will have you wincing.)