The opening shot of Austin S. Harris’ sci-fi short sees his protagonist tediously spacing off into the distance. So it’s only fitting that space should come to him. Living in a quaint suburban town, Greg seems to be floating through life like a feather in the wind. To put it delicately, he’s a disjointed wreck. He doesn’t care much for his loving girlfriend, and he certainly doesn’t care for the concert she wants him to attend that night. What he does care for, though, are the extraterrestrial expeditions of Steven Spielberg, the charming journeys of early-era Walt Disney and the stylized-art of those paperback science fiction novels.
This is fitting, especially when you consider the fact that these were the influences for this 15-minute movie. Which makes it a shame I couldn’t have been more accepting. I loved watching the opaque Spielbergian vibe, as a few teenagers explore their empty suburban neighborhood for clues. And I loved hearing Aaron Daniel Jacob’s lush E.T.-like score. But what I couldn’t get past was the lack of substance. Style without meaning is like eating cereal without milk.
“What he does care for, though, are the extraterrestrial expeditions of Steven Spielberg…”
When lights sputter, the caged exterior of a tennis court rattles, and a nerdy 20-something appears out of nowhere, the result is truly mesmerizing. The newcomer is Steve. He’s the kind of guy who would try and convince you that Kubrick faked the moon landing. Yet he may be onto something when he convinces Greg on the notion that these surreal events are the product of UFOs.
Still, whats enchanting becomes lethargic. The kitchen-sink clutter of fantasy and wonderment constantly tells you to believe in the unbelievable. But the question becomes: do you believe in the movie? The film follows Steve, Greg, and his girlfriend’s quest to find a UFO. But what they find is hardly what the audience is looking for. For an enterprise that is hellbent on preaching imagination, it would have been nice to see an ending that uses a little more of it.
Stevie’s Aliens (2019) Directed by Austin S. Harris. Written by Austin S. Harris. Starring Devan Mojica, Aleah Quinones, Ian Bullotten.
6 out of 10