Why Every Geek Should Know About ‘Space Milkshake’
So a couple of days ago Oz ComicCon comes to town. It’s pretty exciting. We’re a small, very isolated city and it’s not uncommon for tours and events to skip us entirely on their national tours. We try not to be bitter because it’s an extra couple of days travel for a small pay off. So when Oz ComicCon rolls into town, you better believe it’s an event. The Cosplayers go all out, the nerdy specialist stores set up stalls and some pretty amazing guests turn out. Billie Piper, Robert Englund and more were there in person and were so lively you’d never guess they’d flown 21 hours to be there.
Also Billy Boyd. You may know him from Lord of the Rings. He was Pippin, the goofier of the hobbits who sang in the third film. As we all hung around his booth for interviews we quickly learned that Billy had a pretty sly sense of humour and was happy to poke fun and the media. When it was my turn to sit down my final question was one I often ask actors who are heavily associated with a single role: is there another project you’d like people to be more aware of?
“I’d like people to watch Space Milkshake.“
Is he fucking with me?
I’d already seen Billy wind up the previous interviewer (at least he had turned him camera on this time DAVE!) and he’d already said some funny things in our interview. I tried to stall while I work out whether or not I was being trolled.
“Space Milkshake?” I tentatively asked.
He elaborated. “Yes, that I made with Kristin Kreuk and Amanda Tapping, and Robin Dunne. I think it’s really funny and crack’n.”
Hey, those are real people! I guess this is a real thing. As we closed up the interview Billy told me I should check it out, that it was a really geeky movie and that I would like it.
That night as I transcribed the interview I logged on to spacemilkshake.com and $8 later I was downloading the movie. I figured I’d watch the first act and get a feel for it. I watched the whole thing.
The next day the con continued, and I headed over to Billy’s booth to report back. He seemed genuinely thrilled that I’d enjoyed it. He has some real pride in this project, and I can see why. It’s a simple premise which keeps the focus on the characters, and it’s through the characters that the comedy is generated. Not that some of the surrealist and slapstick elements don’t produce laughs…a rubber duck voiced by George Takei lamenting that his mere existence causes him pain is the height of comedy.
In the future the amount of garbage and debris in the Earth’s orbit has become a logistical problem in the burgeoning space age. One orbiting space station is responsible for keeping the transport routes clear, piloted by garbagemen. The captain is the brash but insecure alpha-male Anton (Boyd), his recently ex-girlfriend Valentina (Tapping), the young, gum chewing, eye rolling Tilda (Kreuk) and the clumsy and shy mechanic Jimmy (Dunne) who’s tasked with finding out why the food dispenser is only giving out sandwiches.
When a scientific pod containing unusual materials is collected in a salvage it traps the sanitation station in something of a dimensional paradox. A rubber duck, identical to one kept by Valentina, crashes into the ship and is revealed to be her ex-boyfriend, who has caused this unusual set of circumstances. Meanwhile Tilda has possibly been replaced by a robot, the ship is being terrorised by the mutant rubber duck, all life of Earth has vanished and they still only have sandwiches to eat.
It’s an oddball little indie film whose potential is boosted by the comedic talent of the actors. Billy Boyd accidentally kissing Amanda Tapping’s armpit is weirdly funny, and Jimmy trying to flirt with an emotionless and speechless Tilda is charming in a very strange way. My particular comedy preferences tend towards the dry and the satirical, but funny is still funny, and you’d have to be pretty humourless not to enjoy this film.
The best comparison I have for Space Milkshake is the BBC series Red Dwarf (back before they started trying to resurrect it every few years). It’s set in space and has some effects work, but at it’s heart it’s about the struggles and interactions of a team of blue-collar workers who can’t seem to get along. Conflict comes from games of Scrabble and who gets first pick of the sandwiches rather than the ideas of identity, causality and paradoxes the crew encounters. Let’s face it, when faced with the same circumstances most of us will be arguing over a Scrabble game as well.
It’s a cheapie but a goodie. You can download it from their website right now. You are sure to get your $8 of entertainment and then some. And you can feel all good about supporting the little guy. If you’re a geek and you need a laugh, check out Space Milkshake.