The challenge with science fiction comedy isn’t just making it all funny: a really good SF comedy has to drag in a few interesting SF ideas as well.
Time Trap offers us an inept spaceship pilot and archaeologist whose ship malfunctions and dumps him on a desolate planet (complete with some very familiar ruined buildings). He needs parts to fix his ship, but no worries, mate, he can manipulate time. That’s how he does his archaeological work, after all.
The opening sequence is a nicely staged bit of comedy (complete with deliberately retro credits), but the short really takes off when he starts opening time bubbles with his “Time Trap” – and he gets a replacement for the missing “mineral element” for his ship.
Despite having his face covered by a mask through most of the film, Mark Taylor’s expressive performance is stellar, bringing to mind the great silent comics. Director Michael Shanks (no, not the actor from Stargate SG-1.) also did the effects and wrote the script. He carries it all off with deceptive ease, creating a sprightly little comedy well worth the seven minutes it takes to watch it.
It should be interesting to see what he does next.
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