How do you turn the backseat of a car into a spaceship? Here at Film Threat, we constantly hammer how important it is for independent filmmakers to use creativity and imagination to overcome limited resources and other issues. Inventiveness can and will go a long way toward making any film, micro-budgeted or otherwise, engaging. Well, writer-director-star-producer-editor-director of cinematography Justin Souriau-Levine showcases his incomparable imagination in Planet Of The Astronauts.
Astronauts Tom (Justin Souriau-Levine), James (Adil Chokairy), and Calvin (Roger Younger) are stuck inside a black hole. No, it didn’t kill them. Yes, they are surprised by that as well. They are able to escape but used up almost all of their fuel in the process. This forces them to crash land on the nearest possible planet.
“… as Tom and James explore a mostly deserted Queens, N.Y.C., more and more astronauts…arrive.”
Luckily for the intrepid trio, the planet is Earth (or at least a version of it). But, unluckily, it is currently experiencing a pandemic due to the dreaded Covid-27. Strangely enough, as Tom and James explore a mostly deserted Queens, N.Y.C., more and more astronauts, including Jacqueline (Leila Massenet) and Fred (Robert A. Levine), arrive. All the while, Tom jets off to France, then Italy, with his new lady friend, Lexi (Emily Hobbs), in search of the only person who can cure Covid-27, Doctor Gianluigi Materazzi (Marco Rosati).
The comedic sci-fi tale is narrated by The Universe (Haitham Wahab) in the first of many creatively fun touches. Mind you, this is not a person named Universe or anything like that. The ever-expanding starscape and keeper of galaxies narrates the film. This (intentional?) nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy leads to some of the best jokes in Planet Of The Astronauts. At one point, fairly early on, The Universe calls God, and well, Ariana Grande was right. This joke slays.
Of course, the narrator isn’t the only person who gets some great comedic beats. Jacqueline is obsessed with trying to get into James’ pants. He’s a married man with two kids, though being in space and the black hole means he hasn’t seen his family in ages. Jacqueline’s moves and their constant rebuffs from James are hysterical. The filmmaker also includes some fun sight gags, such as how the astronauts tumble down a cliff or when Tom tries to save Lexi from a jerkwad. These sequences are heavily reminiscent of silent film humor and Vaudeville-style acts.
"…how do you turn the backseat of a car into a spaceship?"