STREET SHIPS is a charming effort from director Jamie Brindle (This Is My Year). It’s an 18-minute short film about Alex and Jenna, next-door neighbors who have been best friends since birth. They have wild imaginations that conjure up majestic castles, dinosaurs, and outer space adventure. We see them grow up together, sharing their love of the fantastical. One summer when they’re teenagers, they transform their cars into pirate ships using scraps of wood, metal, and fabric. Alex, Jenna, and dozens of high schools from the town then LARP as pirates.
The pirate fight choreography is quite nice. The camerawork is excellent, providing sweeping views of the neighborhood and the pirate ship cars. The editing is also very nice, blending the real world with the pretend world Alex and Jenna have created. The pretend pirate world isn’t as fun as the real world, where the LARPing feels like it has higher stakes.
The glaring issue with STREET SHIPS is its low- to mid-tier CGI, which is featured heavily in the film. It looks like a crappy video game. Some of the textures and CGI craftsmanship are lovely, such as a few of the shots of ships skimming across the water, or young Jenna and Alex floating in space. But it never looks real and at times it looks ridiculous.
This movie is for those with a sweet tooth; the world is simple and the story steeped in sugary childhood nostalgia. I’m not usually a person who enjoys that subsection of film, but I found STREET SHIPS wildly charming regardless.
There’s no hidden reason why our pirates Alex and Jenna want to play pirates with their cars—they just have a youthful outlook on life and love to play. I loved seeing the vision Brindle wanted to bring to this picture—bringing pure childhood fantasies to life.