Fantasia Film Review: 5-25-77

(Source: Moonwatcher, Inc.)

(Source: Moonwatcher, Inc.)

Patrick Read Johnson is not your average geek. He’s an energetic and resourceful movie enthusiast that devotes himself to creating sequels to the big sci-fi blockbusters of the late seventies in his back yard.

It’s 5-25-77. And everything here is mostly true.

As he navigates the usual perils of high school, Pat’s mind is light years away. The lead is played by John Francis Daley, but the filmmaker is the real Patrick Read Johnson. You can tell the amount of passion as the movie’s Pat explains to his friend Bill the reason for the ending of 2001: A Space Oddysey.

It may seem most of his friends just put up with his film geekery, but as the film progresses it will be Pat’s mom (Colleen Camp) who will be instrumental in getting her son what he’s always dreamed of – a chance to meet the masters of special effects in Hollywood.

In a surreal twist that is too crazy to be made up, Pat gets his chance to meet Herb Lightman (Austin Pendleton) the editor of American Cinematographer. It will be Herb who will introduce him to the likes of Douglas Trumbull, the director of Silent Running and the special effects wizard behind 2001. From there, he will be on set for some of the shots of Close Encounters of the Third Kind where he will get to meet Steven Spielberg.

Eventually he’ll get one little more tiny morsel of geek heaven as he gets to meet John Dykstra. John will make Pat witness the first steps of Industrial Light and Magic on set at Van Nuys as he sees the Death Star trench, a model for the Millenium Falcon and several models of TIE and X-Wing Fighters.

The film is a love letter to old school sci-fi enthusiasts everywhere… and one can’t but feel nostalgic watching it. Wholeheartedly recommended… but cynics should veer clear of it. Dreamers only.

That will do for now.

Coming up next in Fantasia:

(Sources: 2013 Fantasia Film Festival, moonwatcher.com)

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