- Country: Australia
- Initial release: October 27, 2019 (United States)
- Film Director: Michael Shanks
- Running Time: 13 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 7.4
In an industry where fame is fleeting and trends come and go, it’s not easy for a movie star to age gracefully. This rings especially true for Phil, a once-terrifying villain of the silver screen who now finds himself struggling to find work as an out-of-date special effect. “Rebooted,” a comedy short film written and directed by Michael Shanks, explores Phil’s journey as he grapples with his own irrelevance in a rapidly changing Hollywood landscape.
The Story of Phil
Phil, a stop-motion animated skeleton monster, was a cutting-edge special effect in his prime. Back in the 1960s, he starred in a film reminiscent of “Jason and the Argonauts,” capturing the imaginations of audiences with his unique charm. However, as time went on and technology advanced, movie studios began favoring CGI monsters over practical effects like Phil. Now, he finds himself struggling to find work in an industry dominated by VFX creatures.
Refusing to accept his fate, Phil takes drastic measures when he learns that the film for which he was created is being rebooted without him. Determined to reclaim his place in the spotlight, he rallies a group of similarly antiquated special-effects creatures in a mission to stop the production. Through humor and heart, “Rebooted” explores the challenges of aging in Hollywood and the pursuit of finding purpose in a world that seems to have moved on.
Cast & Crew
“Rebooted” boasts a talented cast and crew who brought the story to life with their passion and expertise. The film was written and directed by Michael Shanks, known for his previous works such as “The Wizards of Aus.” The production was supported by Screen Australia and YouTube through the Skip Ahead Initiative, showcasing a commitment to promoting innovative content.
The stop-motion animation and puppetry were brought to life by Samuel Lewis and Glen Hunwick, with Gerald Thompson and Max Walter handling the cinematography for the animation and live-action sequences, respectively. The art direction and production design were masterfully crafted by Rennie Watson, creating a visually stunning world for the story to unfold. The film’s soundtrack, composed and performed by Michael Shanks himself, adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to the narrative.
Critical Acclaim and Recognition
“Rebooted” has garnered praise from both critics and audiences alike, showcasing its universal appeal and relatability. The Sydney Morning Herald describes the film as “a marvelous 12.5 minutes,” while FilmschoolRejects.com applauds its “cynical attitude” and “hopeful” outlook. Audiences on platforms like Letterboxd have expressed their admiration, calling it “the best short film I’ve ever seen” and praising its creative direction and storytelling.
The film has also made waves in the festival circuit, with screenings at prestigious events such as the Austin Film Festival and Flickerfest. It was awarded the Best Australian Animated Short Film at Flickerfest and received a nomination for Best Short Film at the AACTA Awards in 2019. Additionally, “Rebooted” was set to have its East Asia premiere at the Busan International Short Film Festival before its unfortunate cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Blend of Old and New
“Rebooted” is a testament to the power of storytelling and the magic of filmmaking. It seamlessly combines state-of-the-art motion capture technology with traditional methods of movie making, creating a unique viewing experience that showcases the evolution of Hollywood’s special and visual effects.
The film’s protagonist, Phil, is a stop-motion animated skeleton inspired by the work of legendary animator Ray Harryhausen. This homage to the past is juxtaposed with a character depicted in traditional 2D animation, an animatronic Velociraptor, and a kitsch mid-90s liquid metal CGI man. By bringing these different techniques together, “Rebooted” highlights the rich history of special effects in cinema while embracing the advancements of the present.
A Love Letter to Movie Magic
At its core, “Rebooted” is a love letter to old-school movie magic. It celebrates the medium of film while exploring the universal theme of growing old and feeling obsolete. Michael Shanks, the film’s writer and director, describes it as a story about someone losing their luster over time and finding their place in a rapidly changing world.
The film’s narrative serves as a reflection of our own journey through life, reminding us that as time passes, we all face the challenge of adapting to new circumstances and finding our purpose. Through Phil’s story, “Rebooted” offers a poignant and relatable exploration of aging, reminding us that even when faced with adversity, there is always hope and the potential for reinvention.