Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three in the Afternoon

Three in the Afternoon
dir: Travis Boles
posted on youtube: April 07, 2006

Three in the Afternoon begins with Corey and John playing a Star Wars based video game. Travis, their friend, mocks the game. They accuse of him hating Star Wars, which he denies. A mysterious package arrives on their front door. The case is opened, and contains three light-sabers. John comments, “they look just like the toys.” Much to their surprise, when they turn them on, they are real. They go outside to an empty tennis court, to try out their new toys. Trouble occurs when they threatened by three young women with red lightsabers. However, they are not actually villains, they were just displeased that their lightsabers were red. One of the young men discovers that there is a way to change the color of the lightsaber blade, and all is well.

What impressed me about the film was its level of production quality. Instead of just using the plastic blades the lightsabers came with, through special effects, they created a blade that actually looks like a beam of light. The fight scenes took time and effort to choreograph. While the fight scene is not incredibly intense, the characters are in their twenties and only received the lightsabers moments before, so they would not have had time to train and learn complex moves. The simple choreography worked for the type of the characters depicted.

Another element of the film I appreciated was that the characters did not show off their knowledge of Star Wars. While there were a few quotes from the movie, no one gave a detailed history of the lightsaber, nor did anyone give a comprehensive lecture on the construction and inner workings of the lightsaber. This demonstrates that they were aiming for the film to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The film is entertaining because it taps into wish fulfillment. Almost every Star Wars fan, at one point or another has wanted to use a lightsaber. In watching the protagonists play with their lightsabers, the audience is able to vicariously act out their collective fantasy through the characters on screen. The story also sets up a sequel in the tradition of Buck Rodgers and the Saturday morning serials that Star Wars was inspired by. Overall, it is an amusing, captivating story; one in which the special effects serve the story and further the plot, unlike many big-budget action films, which appear to be a large number of special effects action scenes strung together.

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