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August 28, 2011

Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in 1972 (2011, Short Film)

When we met Chris and Anne Lukeman at Wizard World Chicago with their big robot star Bruce, I noticed something about them. There was a great deal of hope and enthusiasm. It's something that you see early on at the independent level, and it's something that can fade in the wake of the struggle that comes with the dream of entertaining. I hope that never happens here, because I think the Lukemans have something very special to share.

Once Upon a Time in 1972 moves quickly and delivers big. For some reason, a man with a crazy winged suit run by giant floppy discs encounters a robot from some sort of a wormhole in the sky, and he is forced to do battle. It's told in flashback from his point of view while his partners help him mend his wounds.

There's really not much else to say about a short piece like this without ruining it for the viewer. 1972 didn't feel like a short film. It felt like a piece of something much bigger. Honestly, I really hope that's the plan. There isn't much exposition, and you leave with a ton of unanswered questions. Who are these people? What is that thing in the sky? Where did Bruce come from? I watched it twice hoping to catch something I might have missed. I really hope a feature is on the way.

The screener I received included plenty of extras. The making of showed the difficulties in puppeting Bruce. Two other shorts are also included. Captain Chemistry is a slow comedic burn that has the touch of someone who must find joy in annoying people. That's exactly why I liked it. Unicorns is another comedic short that uses simple special effects to yield a surprising outcome.

Head over to Kill Vampire Lincoln Productions for more info on their work, and check them out in a quick video from Wizard World Chicago.

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