The imagination of a child. Is there anything else quite as magical - or powerful? The ability to create entire worlds within the mind - that can feel just as real as anything true life has to offer. It's something most of us wish we didn't loose, and only a select few, manage to hold onto even a glimmer of that original gift. Just who are those select few? Mainly artists, novelists and yes... even creators of film and television. But what happens when imagination and the so-called real world crash brilliantly into one and other? What happens when one of those imagined worlds becomes reality? It's at this point the question becomes this - was the world willed into reality by someones imagination? Or was someones imagination simply a window, showcasing another world? Whatever side of the fold you fall onto one thing is clear - as Ben is about to find out. Without imagination neither is possible.
So who is this Ben person? The short answer is that he's the star of "Gun Metal Max" from writer, director Jonathan Brooks. Ben's just a kid, not unlike so many others. Hobbies include the building of diorama's and a love for action figures. All the familiar faces are here, as any kid with a box of toys can attest. One toy however, is very special. It's Gun Metal Max - defender of Beacon City from the evil Shadows. One can only imagine the amount of time Ben spends within his cool little world, and through his imagination, this world is as real as our own. It's when the imagined world spills onto the real one where this short film really takes hold. The bad, the good, and Earth as the special place where things can either go one way or the other. With Ben smack dab in the center. Welcome to Gun Metal Max - an excellent throwback film with some real heart behind the wheel.
So... I'm not completely sure why I enjoyed this as much as I did. The truth is that it plays more as an introduction to a larger film, than a stand alone piece. Literally, right as things seem to be really heating up... it's over. And yet, there is still a full story here. A start, a bad guy, and a conclusion. It's not like the three act structure doesn't exist. It's just that, as I wrote, it seems like a prologue. But what we do see? Very nicely done. I can't complain about the technical aspects of this film, because in truth, it looks and sounds pretty damn good.
On top of all that? This is a period piece of sorts. The 1980s I'm pretty sure. Nothing says fun times like seeing an old cassette driven boombox pounding out the beats. Want more? Even the audio and title cards scream old school - but not cheap. No sir... not cheap at all. Even the anime flare felt right - in this short film. Right down to the character voices. As for Ben himself? Yup. He's a normal kid blown away by what is happening before his eyes. If you're looking for some really bad '80s acting, that's one thing you won't find here.
So that about sums things up. "Gun Metal Max" is a strangely fun film considering how short it is, and factoring in it's quasi-cliff hanger finale. Jonathan Brooks and his team have created something that is not only worth watching, but will surely leave you wanting more. What's the future hold for Ben and the impossibly large Gun Metal Max? Who can say for sure - but I do know one thing. I was happy to be introduced.