“DANNY JOHNSON SAVES THE WORLD” by Christopher R. Mihm
In one of his most ambitious projects to date, local writer/director Christopher R. Mihm took on the most difficult challenge known to man–directing a film featuring children. His own and those of others from the approximate ages of 6-12. Children are people, too, but they often have their own agenda and do things their own way. To Mihm’s credit, the children he selected were amongst the most believable one has seen and are a large part of the charm of this film.
The story starts with young George and Julie (Jack & Iola Warneke) waking Grandpa (James Norgard), imploring him to tell them a story. Grandpa turns out to be Danny Johnson who recollects the day he was playing in the woods with his little sister (Alice Mihm), several of their friends and his girlfriend.
Danny (Elliott Mihm) and his compatriots encounter a pint-sized alien who attacks him like the face-hugger in “Alien”. Things worsen when a big but slow-footed robot (Michael Kaiser) teleports them aboard a space ship one by one. Danny is the last one taken and manages to escape custody long enough to uncover the nefarious plot of the Queen (Stephanie Mihm) and King (Michael Kaiser). That plot entails…HA! HA! Spoiler alert, dudes and dudettes. The movie is available on disc for ten bucks at www.sainteuphoria.com. It’s really cool so purchase your own experience.
Not only is this Mihm’s most extensive use of children but his first use of puppets, an experiment that went very well. Elliott Mihm did a credible job of being ‘attacked’ and the other children were equally credible in their reactions to the ‘creatures’. All told, the devices worked to move the story along.
The story is delivered in an hour and eight minutes, meaning it ends before you’re ready for it to be over. It’s one of those bittersweet moments, presumably, where the director chose to end it before it wore out its welcome. It’s left to the audience to determine how it ever could.