Last year, I discovered what two of my biggest joys are: science fiction and independent filmmaking. And now I get to see both of those things in a short film produced by Red Giant Software called Tempo.
Red Giant produced this film as a way of showcasing their editing software and how they can be used to create quality films. Tempo is a short film based on two scientists, Harp and Burke, who create a velocity-warping gun that can increase the acceleration or deceleration of any given object. But when their potential backer Melnick gets anxious to claim their device for himself, Harp has to defend himself and save Burke’s life using the gun. What follows is a continuous sequence of Harp going up against Melnick’s thugs, using his velocity gun to blow them away, hold them in place, and turn their ordinary firearms and grenades against them.
Being quite the geek, my first reaction upon seeing the velocity gun was “Yes! Live-action Portal, here we come!” But in all seriousness, the film does a good job of working with the laws of momentum, even if it’s cheating with an improbable device. But the CGI does blend seamlessly with most of the live-action scenery, the most grievous offender being the blur lines around objects and people caught in a deceleration blast.
The story itself is fairly simple. You don’t need much to figure out that Melnick is the villain, or that Harp and Burke are a couple, or that despite Harp’s initial protests, the velocity gun will be used as a weapon. But it is simple in a good way and keeps more of the focus on Harp and his gun. It’s nice to see a heroic scientist in action, actually running field experiments while he fights and thinking on his feet to get the upper hand. And the inclusion of a inhibitor device for use on people also ties in nicely to resolving the plot.
I’m glad I found this film because it gives me hope. Regardless of the clever marketing campaign for Red Giant, films like Tempo are possible and should have more of a chance at commercial success than so many repetitive action blockbusters and horror films. This is science fiction I would pay to see, Hollywood.
Bibliography: Tempo. Directed by Seth Worley. Produced by Aharon Rabinowitz, Neil Hoppe, and Shannon Hoppe. Written by Seth Worley, Aharon Rabinowitz, and Neil Hoppe. Perf. Darren Vandergriff, Emily Landham, Chip Arnold. Red Giant, 2013.