When I was told that there would be a performance of a live-action graphic novel — complete with three voice performers, live music, and special effects — created right in front of me, I actually delayed leaving Sunday evening from Fantastic Fest to stay quite a bit later to enjoy this incredibly well-made production. I’m not old enough to have heard any radio plays that The Intergalactic Nemesis celebrates, but I am old enough to enjoy the hell out of it in this format. So hit the jump for a brief review of everything that is great about The Intergalactic Nemesis.
The essential ploy here is that scenes from the graphic novel are displayed on screen, like a talking power point of sorts. You feel like you are turning the page of a picture book, but instead of having a few words on the page, it’s just an image that is voiced by the three talented voice actors (Chris Gibson, Shana Merlin, and Mical Trejo) on hand. Special effects sounds are provided right there, in the theater, by Foleyvision’s Buzz Moran, and even the music is done right in front of you. There is something very satisfying about this that simply must be experienced like the difference between watching a football game on TV and watching it live.
The story follows Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Molly Sloan (daughter of William Randolph Sloan) and her goofy research assistant Timmy Mendez in 1933. They find themselves teaming up with a librarian named Ben Wilcott as they unravel mystery after mystery, globe trotting to stop the evil Mysterion from his devious deeds. However, they uncover more than they bargained for when they find out that the mysterious alien race known as Zygonians are on the verge of taking over the planet and they are the only ones standing in the way. Time travel, space travel, love, mystery, action, and hilarity all collide in this over the top and entertaining narrative.
The best and most frustrating part of the experience is that you get to see the voice actors, keyboardist, and special effects maker all work together to bring Intergalactic Nemesis to life, but in my state I found myself either focusing my attention on what they were doing, or focusing on the story and dialog. This had the effect of me losing track of what was happening story wise, which is a shame because focusing on just one or the other isn’t ideal. Perhaps my ADHD is to blame as it was later in the day, so I certainly hope that any viewers that enjoy the experience are better able to keep track. That certainly is of no fault to creator Jason Neulander though.
The… event, because really, that is what this is, takes place over three different acts, which means there are two intermissions that help keep the pacing from becoming too overwhelming. There is a lot of action, no doubt, but there is a lot of exposition and backstory that is often overdramatic and would feel burdensome if taken at one time. There are a ton of great references to people and events of the era and time that went over my head, yet they still managed to work in enough contemporary humor that no one is left out of the fun.
The visual style itself is gorgeous to look at, as the frames on screen help flesh out the story in a grand way. Pencils and ink were done by Tim Doyle while Paul Hanley and Lee Duhig provided color art and everything really pops. This is like the best pulp art you have seen, given a splash of vivid colors that enhances the effect. The color palette alone is one to behold, and some of the frames even brighten and darken to give an extra touch of atmosphere.
Additionally, the music during Intergalactic Nemesis has to be given some recognition. The score by Graham Reynolds has the right mixture of foreboding tension when it’s necessary and throwback cues and quirks from an era that Nemesis celebrates. This is fun above all else, and the entire experience is a joy.
The Intergalactic Nemesis is an adventure from beginning to end and something you simply must experience if you are a fan of awesome. Unique, hilarious, and involving, Neulander and his cohorts have masterminded a devious scheme to take your time and give you something you will cherish. The voice work (which had to be strenuous), the music, the sound effects, and the visuals all combine to create something grand. So put away your cell phones and get lost in Intergalactic Nemesis as soon as you can.