Stranger Says: This locally produced serial by Stranger Genius Award winner Webster Crowell has been in the works for a few years, and it shows. Handcrafted animation and excellent comedy (courtesy of a retinue of Seattle’s finest stage and screen actors, including Alycia Delmore, Basil Harris, Evan Mosher, Christopher Dietz, Sara Coates, and about 923 others) combine with unmistakable narrative ambition. One unforeseen side note: Seattle has already visibly changed in the time since Rocketmen was shot, making its retrofuturist aesthetic all the more meaningful. (SEAN NELSON)
SIFF Says:Fans of retro sci-fi and old-school special effects will find much to love in this comedy web series-turned-feature flick by local director Webster Crowell, winner of “The Stranger” Genius Award for film in 2003. Originally filmed as a seven-part miniseries, Rocketmen follows an FDR-era jobs program comprising men in tight leather jackets with rockets on their backs, their sole goal to defend the good ol’ U.S. of A. from Communist invasions and giant robots. The only problem is America was never attacked by such forces, leaving Rocketmen by the wayside 70 years later. That is, until a new threat arrives in Seattle’s airspace, while goofy realities float into the surreal when their hydrogen-powered rockets release hallucinogenic gas. The Rocketmen’s job woes are inspired by Crowell’s own experiences of the Great Recession, commenting on the importance of government-provided jobs. Shot in and around the Emerald City, scene locations bounce from coffee shops to Pioneer Square, downtown, and the International District. This local ensemble cast, brilliantly orchestrated by Crowell, presents a hardily quirky testament to Seattle’s creative spirit.
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