At the onset of the lockdown in the United States, I recall the grand pronouncements of activities that were going to take place from those on social media: learn how to play an instrument or a new language, and organizing all the images that have piled up on their cellphones, among others. Australian actor/filmmaker Nigel Legin decided to make a movie. He took advantage of Victoria’s empty streets to craft a fantasy adventure with a large cast of characters called Nigel & Jenny v The Chaos Queen. He was not in danger of jeopardizing social distance rules, though, as all Nigel’s castmates were digitally crafted.
Throughout its runtime, Legin takes viewers through a vaguely apocalyptic world in which he teams with sassy fairy Jenny to help her track down a lost wand and battle an evil goblin known as The Chaos Queen. They encounter countless crudely crafted but colorful characters that both help and hinder their quest along their journey. Legin populates the empty public spaces with a number of bizarre beings that may not have the polished feel of a Pixar character but still provide numerous chuckles along the way.
“…teams with sassy fairy Jenny to help her track down a lost wand and battle an evil goblin…”
They include Buzz the Bin Urchin (a dreadlocked trash-can dweller), Warren the Wetland Slug, and Jezebel the Siren, as well as a number of cryptids, such as Suburban Screechers, sewer-dwelling Drain Drongos, and the occasional floating ball of “the virus” that randomly rolls through the scene.
Legin deserves credit for just how much he manages to cram into the simple story of Nigel & Jenny v The Chaos Queen, even if the effects are starter-level After Effects at best. He possesses a sly comic timing and a genuine reaction to all the make-believe mayhem he crafted on a computer after the scenes were shot.
At 46 minutes, Nigel & Jenny v The Chaos Queen can feel as long as its gangly title and could perhaps use a trim to pack it into a tight 30 minutes. That said, it’s a testament to Legin’s tenacity, and his charismatic enthusiasm certainly helps his story from sagging. It’s enough to foster interest in his next steps as a filmmaker when we can actually craft a feature with a budget, a crew, or even a live co-star.
"…Legin's tenacity, and his charismatic enthusiasm certainly helps his story from sagging."