It’s hard to say how this film will be perceived by a modern audience- it’s hokey, low-budget, geeky, dorky, and very, very 80’s, full of “wah-wah” puns and overly ridiculous acting. It’s also the most pure, heartfelt, and inspiring testament to making movie magic that I’ve ever seen, a truly 100% independent American production, written, directed, animated and pretty much everything else by the enigmatic and reclusive (but absolutely brilliant) proto-Geek himself, Mike Jitlov.
Jitlov is a true creative genius, his mind bubbling with ideas; here, his love of animation (and lack of a budget) combined to create some amazing DIY effects in the service of this dreamer’s love story: a love story to the art of special effects. I’m not sure whom the intended audience is, exactly- the sensibility is more for kids, the satirical yet autobiographical story is more for adults, the wonderful bits of animation are for everyone, and the nerdy, 80’s-geek sensibility probably for no one. Or maybe I’m wrong- I’d love to observe a group of modern 25 year olds screening this film, just to see if they can get past the dated hokeyness enough to appreciate the creative sweat Jitlov poured into making every frame of his singular epic. The real-life Jitlov is actually responsible for some very memorable special effects, from Walt Disney TV specials to entire scenes in the Moore-Swayze schmaltz-fest, Ghost… but The Wizard of Speed and Time is his swan song, a true cult classic that will hopefully inspire young filmmakers to follow their muse no matter what the odds.
While there are definitely cooler, hipper, and edgier maverick role-models out there, all of which most certainly have more modern appeal than anything you’ll see in this film, none of them were making movies at a time when attempting your own feature film was virtually impossible- the cost, equipment, and production all made it prohibitive for anyone who wasn’t rich. That’s what makes The Wizard of Speed and Time so amazing- the fact that Jitlov got this made in the first place is mind blowing, and a testament to his energy (and friends). The fact that he also managed to imprint his imagination and creativity onto celluloid will forever make this whimsical little movie my all-time favorite ode to film as a vehicle for personal expression, however silly this may seem.
The download link includes a bunch of Jitlov’s short films and other selected work!
Parents- this movie is basically totally kid-friendly, except for one weird little visual joke involving a dominatrix, so…