Not the first time I’ve said it and hopefully not the last. What I love most about indie filmmaking is this guerilla attitude that forces creative types to produce big films with little resources. Director Anthony Ferraro has proven with his science-fiction short, Aeranger, that limited budgets are no excuse not to tell your story. If there’s a will, there’s certainly a way.
Ferraro now goes full galaxy-building with his TV pilot, Galactic Galaxy. Space rogue Pam (Julia Morizawa) and her trusty companion, the space werewolf Fen (Jonathan Castile), are on a mission to save the universe from the evil Dar Kuzar (Jeff Lewis). The two are aided by a wise spirit Ringle (Larry L. Andrews) and their robot Tom (Geoffrey Gould), who is actually an agoraphobic named Tom controlling the robot remotely from deep within the bowels of their spaceship. The mission is to steal a powerful space substance from a space disco and fulfill Fen’s space destiny of defeating his space father, Dar Kuzar.
“Space rogue Pam and her trusty companion, the space werewolf Fen, are on a mission to save the universe from the evil Dar Kuzar…”
The universe of Galactic Galaxy is infinite…well, big. It features various alien races, some humanoid, some creatures…like a guy with the head of an elephant. You’ll visit a few planets and ultimately find yourself at the fascist headquarters of Dar Kuzar himself and a relatively massive legion of masked, uniformed foot soldiers, which Kuzar has to problem killing on a whim.
In terms of art style, this is very different from Aeranger, which blends sci-fi visual effects with its real-life forest location. Galactic Galaxy takes us more in a graphic novel/comic book direction. Live actors are given a substantial pop-art filter treatment, outlined with heavy black lines and solid colors to flatten the final look.
Shot on green screen, the rest of the galaxy is then computer-drawn and animated including backgrounds for the actors and its rendering of spaceships above the planet’s orbit. The final art design is different than what you’re used to seeing but impressive to watch throughout the twenty-minute pilot. The style of computer rendering is especially helpful in turning cheesy props, guns, and costumes into something that looks less cheesy.
“Live actors are given a substantial pop-art filter treatment, outlined with heavy black lines and solid colors to flatten the final look…”
The art design is the main reason to watch Galactic Galaxy. If there is a weakness, it’s in its story. The story’s not bad, and it will hold your attention from beginning to end. It’s just not that original, except for the part about the young man, Fen, fulfilling his destiny by defeating his powerful father. That story has never been told…well…anyways. I loved seeing Jeff Lewis as the father Dar Kuzar, though the unaware, narcissistic villain is the epitome of the word “unoriginal.”
Did I mention this is a comedy too? Overall, the jokes are pretty standard and mildly amusing. Most of the jokes are slapstick, general silliness, and replacing regular words with space words. Speaking of balls, I got a laugh out of a series of nut shots to Fen’s alien groin region. But how long can that joke last?
On a positive note, the best character is the lead, Pam. She’s a tough-talking space rogue with parent issues. Julia Morizawa plays her appropriately tough (never over-the-top) and clearly on the way of becoming a well-developed character. If this is truly to become a series, a fresh look needs to be taken on everything from characters and storyline. Do something new and do it boldly. But still, watch this pilot for its amazing art direction and VFX.
Galactic Galaxy (2019) Directed by Anthony Ferraro. Written by Anthony Ferraro, Charles Horn. Starring Julia Morizawa, Jonathan Castile, Larry L. Andrews, Bobbie Breckenridge, Jeff Lewis.
6 out of 10 stars