is the independent, no budget, live action science fiction movie created by young filmmaker Ian Hubert using the open source software Blender for the special effects. Gathering over 250 volunteers from around world the film has been in production for some time and recently the producers released a graphic novelization of the film and a prequel novel Project Manhattan
The planet Earth is locked intractably in a global conflict, World War II. Peace loving, blue-eyed aliens arrive offering support and solutions to the side they believe will win the war in trade for a place to live. Their ominous and powerful technologies once unleashed, produce catastrophic results across enemy ranks and follow a path of devastation that culminates in the development and use of atomic weapons that are more devastating and effective than anyone could ever imagine. There are those who question the motives of these alien interlopers, including some of the aliens themselves. What really happened to their home world?
The story of PROJECT MANHATTAN does make for an interesting read. Wheeler does an acceptable job of building the history/back story of Project London by rewriting history during one of the 20th Century's biggest moments, World War II and the dawn of the Atomic Age. Without daring to go too far he tells a good story with a reasonable amount of suspense and plot twists. That being said, it is evident where this aspiring screenwriter's motivations are; it does bare the trappings of conventional cinematic story telling. Whether Wheeler's work of fiction is comparable to that of a prominent Alternate History author like Harry Turtledove I would leave to fans of Turtledove's work who have the opportunity to read Wheeler's novel. I would not say that Project Manhattan is worthy of a feature itself but could work better on the small screen. There is enough 'epicness' to Caleb B. Wheeler's novel that it can be translated onto the screen and may serve his material well to have it done so over a series of episodes rather than limiting it to a 90 minute feature.
The promise of the PROJECT LONDON graphic novel is that it is a darker interpretation of Ian Hubert's original screenplay for his film. The creator of the graphic novel in question is Branson Anderson, a student of multidimensional arts who also fufills the role of 'Jerry' in Hubert's film. His artistic abilities were discovered during principal photography and he was asked to create this graphic novel. He draws from a large number of influences and the tones and styles do shift throughout the book, that much is evident. The tired cliche goes something like, 'I may not know art, but I know what I like'. Anderson's fusion of a number of styles and approaches to conveying the story sometimes get lost in their own abstractness. Early pages looked like images gathered from a conceptual design pow-wow rather than a completed and realized visualization of the story line. Perhaps delivering the novel in stark black and white hinders the appreciation as well as it is sometimes difficult to pull specific images from the page. At the same time though I can understand NOT giving away too much detail and leaving it for the film later.
Because both works are merely affiliations, or extensions, of the film Project London, and said film hasn't been seen yet they must stand alone on their own merits. Both contributors are still students of their craft at universities around Pacific Northwest at time of publication. While their works will not stand out as distinct they are complimentary to the entire Project London... erm... project. But khudos to Phil McCoy and Spiral Productions for giving a young artist and a young writer this opportunity to contribute to the Project London lexicon. Though it would be premature to say that either have found their distinct voice and style an opportunity like this does not come along for everyone and they should take with them anything positive that comes from this experience.
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