Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Envision this crazy scenario: An alien comes to Earth who is a mixture of Indiana Jones, Peter Gibbons and Max Washington. While collecting artifacts, he discovers an old-fashioned jukebox. Curious, he investigate the machine when suddenly it begins to play. What happens next is something that is right up my alley!
Sounds silly, huh? That is what we get when we talk about the first science fiction short film I ever saw that is offered by Dust. Check out what happens when the bored with his job alien archeologists discovers music and another mystery artifact in...
Written by: Tyler Rabinowitz
Directed By: Tyler Rabinowitz
Music by: Rahm Silverglade
Stars: Danny Gardner, Kurt Csolak, Macy Sullivan, Trevor Brooks
Watch on: Youtube
Review Alpha 9.5.21.0005
As someone who writes a lot of short stories, I have a soft spot in my heart for short films. But I had no idea how much I loved them until I accidentally discovered a Facebook group called Dust. For those of you who don't know, Dust is a site that offers science fiction short movies. There are so many out there and most of them are spectacular. So I joined the group and explored.
In my exploration, I came across a short called Alienologist which captured my attention. I was curious to what it was about so I read more and discovered:
This is the story of a curious alien struggling to ﬁt in with his robotic co-workers and how his accidental discovery of a mysterious box full of noise leads his team to understanding humanity’s most special gift: song and dance.
At this point I was past curious and decided this would be my first short to watch. I was not disappointed.
The shows starts with a very short opening of a young alien child watch a rocket blasting off in the distance. After a black intro screen, we see an alien named Charlie watching floating debris through a portal in a spaceship. As the camera pans out, we see other curious gloating objects. It turns out that the Earth has partially exploded and the debris floating is more than just rock. There are artifacts like a desk lamp, a Santa garden gnome, etc. It appears these alien archeologists are on an expedition, that this is their unexplored Tikal.
Now inside the ship, Charlie is still looking out the window while his fellow archeologist Adrian is cataloguing recovered items such as crayons, Elmer's glue, an old black & white tv set, and other items. Enamored by a bra floating by, Charlie goes to an instrument panel that captures and teleports the bra onto a loading dock in the ship. Adrian recovers it while a daydreaming Charlie zones out, a big smile on his face. After trying to figure out the bra, including thinking its some sort of cushion, Adrian breaks Charlie out of his daydream and gets Charlie back on task to recovering artifacts.
When Charlie recovers a cassette tape with the tape all pulled out (those of you old enough to remember using cassette tapes know what I'm talking about), Adrian wants to trash it but Charlie protests. Unable to agree, the boss, Rudy, is called in. She quickly rules the cassette is trash and scolds Charlie before tossing it into the trash and leaves.
After Rudy leaves, Charlie recovers a broken globe that eerily looks like the Earth currently looks. Again, Adrian believe it to be trash and throws it away. An upset Charlie tries to recover it but cannot get a lock on it as it floats back towards Earth.
Now upset, Charlie and Adrian start to argue, prompting Charlie to start throwing away the good artifacts they have already catalogued. Even though they are speaking in an alien language, we can all relate to the tone they take with one another: cheap shots, sarcastic barbs, passive-aggressive comments. The fight quickly escalates to the point where an enraged Adrian accidentally throws out everything they had collected, leaving the two standing in an empty room. As Charlie panics, Adrian blames him and storms out of the room.
Now alone, Charlie goes to the panel and detects an object approaching. He locks on and pulls in something that at first takes his breath away but then makes him scream and hide under the console. What is it that he brought in?
It turns out Charlie has pulled in a fully functioning jukebox! Now curious, Charlie examines this strange item. He sniffs it, tastes it, looks it all over. Soon, he discovers the selector button and laughs as the song book flips through the machine. He decides to press another button, prompting the jukebox to select a cd and start playing a jazz song. It doesn't take Charlie long to start moving to the music. Calmed down and happy, he returns to the console and sets to retrieve another object as the song continues. As it turns out, his next collection is several show boxes. Investigating the new object, Charlie has collected several pairs of tap shoes!
Smitten with his discovery, Charlie puts on a pair of the shoes and starts experimenting. He is clearly happy and having a blast when suddenly he hears Adrian and Rudy returning. As they enter the room, they see Charlie at the console but the jukebox is no longer playing. Rudy proceeds to rip Charlie about the room being empty of the other artifacts, not interested in hearing Charlie's side of the story. After Rudy pops a bubble on Charlies uniform, he starts to walk away but his tap shoes betray him.
As Rudy and Adrian discuss this new discovery emanating sound from Charlie's feet, he returns to the juke box and selects another song. Curious, Rudy approaches, prompting Charlie to show the correlation between the music and the shoes. Rudy is clearly interested but Adrian is annoyed by the process. Not to be deterred, Charlie gets Rudy shoes where she puts them on and experiments herself while Adrian looks on disapprovingly. As they start to sync up their tapping to the music, Adrian runs to the jukebox in an attempt to stop it, causing a new song to play...
An upbeat swing song starts plays, causing Charlie and Rudy to break out into a full tap routine that left me in tears laughing. When Rudy breaks into a tap solo, Charlie puts shoes on Adrian. There is a pause in the music...then all three break out into a tap routine, causing me to lose my shit!
The song ends and all three are laughing excitedly at the experience. Then a slow song comes on, causing them to hold hands with one another and remember that the three of them are in fact friends and that they shouldn't let pettiness ruin that. After a moment, Rudy and Adrian go to examine the jukebox while Charlie returns to the window. The camera pans out, revealing more of the debris field and the shattered Earth as the song continues to play until the film fades to black.
There is something about music and dancing that brings out the best in humanity. It is one of our greatest gifts that we have. For thousands of years, people have turned to different forms of music and dance to to celebrate life. I must confess that while I have never attempted to in my life, and I am at the point I will never try myself, tap is one of my favorite dances to watch. Even as a teenager, I would watch the greatness of Gregory Hine in movies like Tap and White Nights. Its such an expressive form of dance that compels me to smile.
The same is true of jazz and swing. Growing up, I listened to music like The Andrew Sisters, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and others. Its a genre of music that is every bit beloved and important to me as Alternative Rock and Techno.
I never would have thought that a science fiction film, especially a short like Alienologists would show the importance of music and dancing in our lives. The truth is whether we are a daydreamer like Charlie, a task master like Rudy, or even a sourpuss like Adrian, music is one of our strongest bonds and is something that unites us in friendship no matter our difference. Even and alien can figure that out!
Warp 8 on the SciFi Drive!
Next Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
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