Speedman Image


By Alan Ng | February 5, 2024

From the very strange minds of Joe Bowers and Howard Milligan comes the animated sci-fi short Speedman. The planet Platypus World is just one losing battle away from total domination of the Octoempire. To quell future attacks, all citizens are encouraged to do their part in defending their home planet by joining the Ariel Gunner Squad, Platypus Space Force, or subject themselves to the work of Rubella Labs under the direction of Dr. Rubella (Howard Milligan) for superpower experimentation.

One such volunteer takes Dr. Rubella up on his offer. With a high likelihood of death, Dr. Rubella instructs our hero to step into the chamber and become Speedman, the world’s fastest platypus. But the ever-watchful Lord Bizeus of the Octoempire (Hans Van Harken) has his eye on taking over Rubella Labs and then Platypus World.

At the outset, Speedman is a fairly typical superhero story. The world is about to be invaded, and a supersoldier is needed to save the day. Filmmakers Bowers and Mulligan then rachet the story up a notch or two by creating a dark but comedic war between the platypi and octopi.

“…step into the chamber and become Speedman, the world’s fastest platypus.”

The film’s dark turn comes in the fact that Speedman is a bit of a sadist, and a random death here or there at the fast-flying feet of Speedman is simply collateral damage to the greater good.

After watching Disney’s Wish not so long ago, it’s incredible that animation is firmly in the hands of indie filmmakers and better than what the once gold standard of animation at Disney is incapable of producing today.

The animation in Speedman is quite impressive. Sure, the big studios still do it best, but the quality of Speedman is on par with the fast-paced animation production of cable television. The character design and animation are incredible by indie standards: good shot composition and impressive use of a moving camera.

Animation is only as good as the story, and running at 13 minutes, Bowers and Milligan set up their world quickly and take us into an over-the-top universe of mutually assured destruction and incompetence.

For Speedman screening information, visit the Platypus World official website.

Speedman (2024)

Directed: Joe Bowers

Written: Joe Bowers, Howard Milligan

Starring: Hans Van Harken, Howard Milligan, Mick Lauer, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Speedman Image

"…on par with the fast-paced animation production of cable television."

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