4 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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In the distant future, the evil Maestro (Julian Spindell) has devised a plan to control the universe. Utilizing an ancient relic to kidnap and enslave all the dogs, he sets out to teach them how to play chess. Only hero Stone Steel (Elias Sanchez) can stop Maestro from doing that which he plans on doing which is supposedly going to… eh, fuck it. Explaining what happens in Chessdogs is pointless, because it is all over the map. And yet, it is completely awesome.

It’s impressive that at nine minutes, functioning like an extended trailer, the short film feels just as fast-paced and convincing as if it were a traditional-sized preview. It does not feel as long as it is, I enjoyed myself that much. Somehow this short film isn’t just a fun experience, it’s a case study in relativity.

That said, if this were to eventually exist as a feature length film, I don’t know that it could pay off on all the potential it hints at in the trailer. Or at least, if it does, it’s going to be one epic experience.

Then again, maybe that’s why this is just a trailer, without the necessary narrative considerations that would make for a feature. The holes in the tale make for a more exciting watch than whatever explanations could possibly exist in a full story. The filmmakers revel in the freedom of presenting strange scenes with little context. Somehow it all works.

So much happens in this trailer, and not all of it makes much sense (if any of it does) but… I like it. I like it without entirely knowing why I like it. I like that there’s a supervillain that thinks capturing the world’s dogs, and teaching them chess, is the key to universal domination. I like the haircuts (is Stone Steel (come on, STONE STEEL!?!) rocking a bowl-cut mullet? What IS that!?!). It’s my brand of insane.

But it is also a short film posing as a trailer, and thus has a bunch of holes in it where a cohesive narrative could exist. Because it works so well, you can forgive it, but where it works is as an eccentric trailer. Which is what it is. Thus, it becomes an entertaining curiosity more than a complete tale. And I’m okay with that.

Ultimately, I don’t need a larger Chessdogs tale to exist, because I’m more than happy with this hint of one. At the same time, should the filmmakers feel the need to make that bigger narrative, I want to see what happens. The filmmakers have potentially set a high bar of absurdity to surpass, but I can’t wait for the attempt.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

Posted on December 15, 2013 in Reviews by

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