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Scarecrow on Seattle: PROJECT LONDON

Every month, Scarecrow Video reviews a film made in the Pacific Northwest for the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter.

 

Project London (2013)

What a fun, refreshing film Project London is! In a summer full of million-dollar blockbusters and Kickstarter-fueled vanity projects, heres a science fiction movie that wears its influences right on its sleeve with a sense of FUN, which is entirely how it should be. The story--a recently orphaned accidental hero and a super bitchin' babe lead a ragtag band of rebels, banished from their home planet, in a war against a totalitarian government--sounds more than a little like Star Wars, doesn't it? Like its obvious influence, Project London has a sense of clunky, innocent fun while still delivering the thrills and adventure that I go to the movies for. It's hard not to fall in love with a movie with so much exuberance and charisma, and that's not even taking into account the impressive backstory or the familiar setting.

This epic was filmed entirely with volunteers using open source 3D software (Blender) for the 750+ visual effects shots. But it doesn'™t look cheap or amateurish in the least--in fact, it looks really slick. Even better, it was filmed right here in Seattle. In the first several minutes of the movie, as we are plunged right into the action, we see the Columbia and Smith Towers and are soon flying over the Aurora Bridge and Lake Union. Much of the film's action--including the thrilling, climactic battle--was filmed in SoDo near the shipyards. The characters' spaceships and exoskeletons zoom casually over Queen Anne and downtown, while we witness a spectacular aerial showdown right above Century Link and Safeco Field. The London Underground--where our rebels hide out--is located in a network of tunnels hidden below Shoreline. There's even a floating restaurant high above Elliott Bay.

It should also be pointed out that while much credit is due to the open source software and volunteer special effects artists from around the world, it was a very talented and enthusiastic group of locals who put this all together. Writer/director Ian Hubert wrote the script fresh out of high school, and that script convinced brothers Phil and Nathan McCoy to produce it. Lead actors Josh Truax and Jen Page shine as the hero and heroine, conveying a natural camaraderie and warmth in the middle of an otherwise frenetic adventure--which, when it comes down to it, is ultimately what'™s going to keep me interested. I hope to see a lot more from this talented team of creators and hope Project London enchants other viewers as much as it did me.--Mark Steiner

Scarecrow has Project London for rent and sale on Blu-ray and DVD. You can learn more about how the film was made and look at the location map on Project London's official website.

 

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