ancient Rome, the Christians were thrown to the lions. In this Romanesque
future, the lion will be thrown to the kaiju. Technically, he is not a lion. He
is a NAC (neo-animal combatant). Whatever you call him, he is not inclined to
be cooperative, but he just might save the day anyway in Nick DiLiberto’s Nova Seed (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 Ithaca Fantastik film festival.
it is not clear the giant lion will be our protagonist. He seems to be the
beast a human gladiator is forced to combat, which indeed he is. The two-legged
tool puts up a good fight, but he is no match for the NAC. Having proved
himself in combat, the enhanced lion is shipped off to serve as humanity’s
reluctant champion. The plan is to have him battle the evil Dr. Mindskull and
his kaiju minions. The NAC must also pry loose the cosmic being known as the
Nova Seed from the clutches of Mindskull, who has harnessed her powers of
creation and destruction.
resentful of the shabby treatment he has received, the NAC goes rogue at the
first opportunity (about five minutes after landing on the planet). However, he
still stops to liberate the Nova Seed, out of a shared sense of underdog
solidarity. At that point, the chase is on.
clocking in just over an hour, Nova Seed does
not skimp on the action. It is pretty much pedal to the metal, just from the
start. In terms of style and aesthetics, it is sort of a cross between ThunderCats and the original Heavy Metal, but DiLiberto and his
co-screenwriter brother Joe toss in some intriguing world-building details for
In all honesty, Nova Seed totally shows up Dash Shaw’s My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, for being excessively
twee and insufficiently ambitious. Both films use deliberately simple styles of
animation for effect, but Shaw’s film just ambles around like cartoon
mumblecore, whereas Nova Seed has
story and attitude coming out of its snout. Recommended for nostalgic animation
fans, Nova Seed screens Friday
afternoon (11/11), as part of this year’s Ithaca Fantastik.
Labels: Animated films, Ithaca Fantastic '16, Sci-Fi films