Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Juko's Time Machine: Movie Review

Creating rules of time travel that are clever and hilarious.

There are some genres where the less money you have, the harder it is to make a worthwhile film. Science fiction is one of those genres. But Juko’s Time Machine does it right. Juko (Nathan Cozzolino) has been in love with Rory (Zibby Allen) forever, but she is now engaged. The only way he can win her over is if he goes back in time and gets her to fall in love with him. 2011

Directed by: Kai Barry

Screenplay by: Kai Barry

Starring: Nathan Cozzolino, Alex Moggridge and Zibby Allen

There are two problems: first, he must build a time machine; and second, he has to figure out how to get her to fall in love with him. The easiest part is building the time machine. Juko and his best friend Jed are pretty good with building things and understanding physics, so they build a time machine in Jed’s garage. And this is exactly what the film did so well. Odds are that you are already laughing at their premise (that’s a good thing as it is a comedy). Most science fiction B-movies are so bad because all of their contraptions (time machines) look obviously low-budget with household items. This film used that to their advantage. Juko and Jed’s time machine is built in their garage with random wires, aluminum boxes and volt meters, so it’s supposed to look like a ridiculous, low-budget home-made contraption.

Getting Rory to fall in love with Juko is really difficult because he’s so awkward, immature, na├»ve and clueless about pretty much everything. Rory is very beautiful, nice, cute and charming so it’s pretty easy to fall in love with her. But the character of Juko has been done so many times it’s starting to get pretty annoying. The supporting characters also get annoying at times, as can be the case with inexperienced actors. The best character, Jed (Alex Moggridge), ties them all together to an enjoyable level, if not a sane one.

Generally science fiction films can frequently fail if they either forget to set-up rules to help establish their premise, or don’t follow their own rules. Not falling into this trap really puts Juko’s Time Machine on a higher level. As we have established, our main characters, Jed and Juko, go back in time. The film has a couple of rules that must be followed, and they do follow them (or, more accurately, the film follows them and the characters attempt to). And it’s actually these rules that guide the entire story. In an attempt to not give anything away, I will not share what the rules are. Trust me, the movie will be funnier that way.

Above all else, Juko’s Time Machine is a comedy. When it’s trying to be funny, and also when it is science fiction, it is at its best. The focus on romance gets played out quickly, and it really only falters when Juko dramatically or sincerely contemplates the relationships in his life. Thankfully those scenes always lead back to Jed and Juko travelling through time, which is clever and hilarious.


Zonad (2009) - A comedy with aliens that know their way around an Irish town well.