By His Bootstraps – Mega Time Squad review

By Tuesday, July 17, 2018 0 Permalink 0

A quirky little film from New Zealand, shot on a shoestring budget by some of the local indie scene that has spawned on the fringes of the film community produced by Lord of the Rings and other major international features, this is the story of a low-level errand boy (John) in a criminal organization who accidentally steals an ancient Chinese time-travel charm while robbing a cash drop off in an attempted double cross. Discovering this power, he sets about fixing his life and getting the money, accidentally recruiting himself from different points in his timeline into his own gang (The Mega Time Squad) despite being warned that meeting yourself like that will result in a demon coming to eat you.

It’s a fun film, and the main actor does a bang-up job portraying the various versions of himself growing more and more annoyed with their other selves. I get the choice to not explain the time travel in detail, even if it does seem at a certain point that it loses track of itself. (In the Q&A afterwards, the writer/director insisted that in fact you can track all the splits and who is who if you pay attention carefully, but I’m not entirely convinced.)

While the fact that having more of himself brings out the worst in John is clearly part of the theme, it does result in one of those situations where the lead character grows ever more unsympathetic. There did seem to be a point when the movie looked like it might resolve that by actually having the love interest call him out on that and switch to becoming either the main character or at least the real hero, but sadly the movie backs away from letting her do that. Since the film apparently was originally conceived as a “By His Bootstraps” like story with only the one actor interacting with himself, this isn’t too surprising, but having given up so much of that original idea, it should have followed through even more boldly, IMO.

Given the whole thing was shot in the time the actors were available and with no money for fancy post-production or motion capture, the double effect is extremely well done (aided by shooting the entire thing with a static camera so that the times a static camera was needed to set up shots with more than person, those shots didn’t stick out).

I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see it, but if you like the slightly absurdist Kiwi humour, the performances are quite funny.

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