Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes an independent production with such an intriguing title that you just can’t resist watching it.
That’s the case with Nazi Robots, which was written and directed by James Pichon, a member of the Class of March 2011 at the D.A.V.E. (Digital Animation & Visual Effects) School in Orlando, Florida.
The story begins in New York City, where Grandpa (Michael Ray Davis), an elderly comic book shop owner, is letting his grandson (Luke and Reese Simon) read a comic from his collection.
“Hey, Kiddo,” the old man says as he walks down the steps to his home..”How you liking that vintage Captain America comic?”
“It’s pretty awesome, Grandpa,” the boy replies. “I’m reading about this stuff in class now, so it makes it even cooler.”
“You know, I was a lot like Captain America back in my day,” Grandpa says as he sits near the boy. “Heck, I even saved the city from a Nazi menace once.”
“Wait a minute, Grandpa,” his grandson says. “I learned about this stuff in class, and I don’t remember there being any battles here.”
“There was at least one battle on American soil,” Grandpa states. “and it was right here in the ‘Big Apple,’ and it was on this very street.”
“Grandpa, every summer I visit you,” the boy says. “I get to help you run the comics shop, and every summer you tell me some tall tale. I’m older now. I can tell the difference between what’s a story and what’s real.”
“Just because it’s a story doesn’t mean it isn’t real,” Grandpa notes.
“OK, then. Let’s hear it,” the boy says. ”Whatever.”
“Well, I was about your age,” Grandpa says. “I don’t remember that part. What I remember was that it was summer. I was on this very stoop reading comics just like you are now.
“I remember hearing what seemed to be a far-off noise, and it was quickly gettin’ closer,” the older man notes. “It was a rhythmic, metallic pounding: Boom! Boom! Boom!
“There I stood in the middle of the street, waitin’ for whatever it was,” he says. “That’s when I saw it wasn’t an ‘it,’ it was a ‘thing.’”
Dozens of seven-foot-tall robots adorned with Nazi symbols converged in the middle of the street, then marched toward the boy.
“Their eyes glowed a fierce blue,” as if some sort of atomic reactors were inside their steel skulls, Grandpa states, “and had guns mounted on their steel arms. Who knew what other kind of weapons they had under their armored shells?”
“At first, I didn’t know what I was gonna do,” he continues, “if I was gonna do anything at all. Then it hit me: I was a patriot. I had to do something.”
Suddenly, the lead robot pointed its right arm at the youth and said in German (voiced by Benjy von Cramon but translated for us viewers), “Hold still before the power of the Reich, young vermin.”
“I tried to hide behind a car,” Grandpa says, “but it was vaporized” by a burst of energy from the lead robot.
“Your attempt to avoid us is feeble and pointless,” the lead robot growled. “We are only the first wave of this assault. You and your nation of weak people and impotent government shall fall before our army!”
“It was like a wave of metallic thunder when those monsters raised their arms ready to fire,” Grandpa says. “There was no mercy, and if they were willing to level a city block to get rid of one kid, I could only imagine what they had in store for the city. Heck, the country for that matter.”
The boy then saw a garbage can lid on the street. He picked it up and hurled it like Captain America does his shield, and the object struck the lead robot, causing each robot to hit another one while falling like a row of dominoes.
“I had done it,” Grandpa states. “Me, a kid. I had saved the city, the nation.
“But it wasn’t over,” he says. “I could hear more of them comin’, this time from the other end of the street, and it sounded like there were a hundred times as many.
“What I saw was worse than what I had imagined,” he continues. “This time it was a very large ‘it’” that was as big as a building.
“This thing, with so much steel and weapons,” Grandpa says. “I don’t even know how it was able to move. So there I stood, David before Goliath.”
“It appears luck has favored you once, American swine-dog. You shall not be as fortunate a second time,” it said as it pointed the weapon in its right arm at the boy. “Prepare to meet your demise, little one.”
Spoiler Alert: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of this article. If not, just continue reading.
“I dropped to my knees,” Grandpa states. “About to abandon all hope, I looked up one last time into the eyes of the behemoth. If I was goin’ down, I was goin’ down facin’ my enemy.
“That’s when I spotted something, a small gyroscope-like thing with a pulsating light at its center” in its mouth, he continues. “That was it. His Achilles heel. Goliath’s weak spot.
“I remembered my sling shot. I reached into my back pocket and grabbed it,” Grandpa says excitedly. “From my other pocket, I pulled out my lucky marble. No time to lose. I took aim and fired.
“A dead-on bullseye!” he declares. “I held my arms over my eyes it was so bright. I thought for sure the thing was gonna explode and take me with it. I stood there frozen and watched as the giant shuddered and then slumped before it convulsed one more time.
“Its head flailed back, and beams of light shot from its eyes and mouth as it came crashing down toward me.”
The last part of the robot to land on the street was its head, and the blue glow in its eyes faded to black.
“So that’s it,” the old man says. “Yeah, that was the day I saved the city. No, the country. All on my own. It was a heck of a day, let me tell you.”
“It was a cool story, Grandpa,” the boy says.”I’ll give you that. But what about the evidence? A battle here, on this street, against giant Nazi robots? And it doesn’t make the news or the history books?”
“Covered up, the whole thing,” the old man replies. “Just like Roswell.”
“And you didn’t save anything?” the boy asks. “You didn’t keep any cool trophies to show off?”
Grandpa then says he’s going inside to get a soda and asks his grandson if he wants one, too.
“Yeah, thanks,” the boy replies. “You should be writing comic books instead of selling them.”
Before Grandpa gets up, he states that he did save something from his childhood experience. “Where do you think I got the sign for my comic shop?”
As the old man leaves, the boy looks over at the comic book store sign, which is entitled Atomic Robot Comics, and is surprised when he sees that the top of the sign is the head of a Nazi robot exactly as Grandpa described it!
Time for me to put on my Clint Eastwood hat and get reviewing:
The Good: Some independent productions are just plain fun to watch, and that was the case with Nazi Robots. This fan film seamlessly merges live action with computer-generated images so it’s often tough to tell where one format ends and another begins.
It was also amusing to have Grandpa narrate the tale to his grandson, who reflects today’s cynical youth until he’s finally confronted with hard evidence.
The Bad: I’ve gotta admit that the Nazi robots had a very intimidating design while still being faithful to items associated with the World War II era. We viewers got “the best of both worlds” in that department.
The Ugly: I wish I had a grandfather who ran a comic book shop! I’d be delighted to spend every summer with him and get to read all kinds of comics, no matter how tall his tales might be!
If you’d like to learn more about the D.A.V.E. School in Orlando, Florida, click on this link. If you want to see Nazi Robots for yourself, click on the Web browser below.