It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a short film.
In fact, there are untold numbers of them floating around, although few of them are really noteworthy. Many are poorly made, or worse, poorly written, some are vanity projects, and quite a few are nothing more than demo projects, showing off, say, the director’s exploding head effect.
But the good ones are out there. There are even a few really good ones, and a handful, at least of truly great ones.
This is one of the great ones.
Paul “Otaking” Johnson is a professional animator who spends his spare time creating even more animation. He’s a big fan of the old Japanese hand-drawn animes like Macross and The Venus Wars, and he loves to put insane amounts of work into creating these stunning animated short films entirely by himself with no digital help.
Some of you have probably seen his outrageous seven-minute TIE Fighter short on Youtube. a project which took him four years to complete. I’m not sure how long he worked on this one, but the result is unbelievable, a twelve-minute binge on all things Who, with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor and Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier, with the help of a new character, a classic Anime girl (who only speaks Japanese) complete with two pistols and an outfit that barely covers her. The three must face an attempt by the Cybermen to invade Japan — although the Daleks are there as well, as well as a few other of the Doctor’s greatest enemies.
I particularly enjoyed the lengthy anime-style display of the Doctor’s Venusian Akido (one of the curious quirks of Jon Perwee’s Doctor on the show!), the showdown atop the legendary Tokyo Tower — and instead of multiple Doctors, this time it is a fellow Time Lord whose incarnations decide to team up!
Perhaps the best part is that most of the dialogue is actually borrowed from the show, and those who’ve spent as much time watching it as I have will recognize quite a few familiar quotes.
No, I’m wrong, the best part is the truly amazing animation, which is fluid, detailed, well staged and has lots of impact. He’s loaded the film with lots of incredible hardware, which is painstakingly realized and all drawn by hand (it leaves me wishing that the BBC would hire Paul to do the animation of their Doctor Who restorations! ). It is a true labor of love.
But then, that’s what makes Paul Johnson’s films so special.
Right now he’s working on a Street Fighter short film which will be his longest project to date, and then he plans to finish another project he’s currently trying to complete, his first feature film, which will be a Paul Johnson original!
He’s trying to convince his fans to give him a buck a month so that hopefully he gets enough for the rent and the odd ham sandwich, so he can devote himself to making animated films full time. I would love to see him do that!
So by all means check out his YouTube page and see what this amazing young man is doing!
And here’s the TIE fighter short film: