7 Hours on Earth (2020) Review: Starman meets Shakespeare for the ultimate school project

Aliens land for a feel-good take on teenage troubles

Summer holidays used to be awesome; football, cricket, tennis – but making a movie? Can’t say I ever thought of that.

And I certainly never thought of doing a modern version of Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but that’s exactly what went down at London’s Graveney School in 2017. 7 Hours on Earth takes one of the Bard’s most famous comedies by the scruff of the neck and sprinkles it with sci-fi fantasy.

And considering this is more or less an amateur production, that’s no mean feat. English and Film teacher, Patricia Sharpe, was inspired to produce and direct the movie which is brought to life with a cast and crew made up entirely of staff and students. Friends, parents, alumni, and even pets, also got in on the act. Teenage problems are the order of the day here, but can a bunch of aliens give them a helping hand?

The editing and cinematography are undoubtedly the big draw, showcasing the three years work it’s taken to go from summer shoot to finished article. The soundtrack has gone with the current trend of harking back to the 80s, and is reminiscent of many a sci-fi series and movie of the era. There’s also a smattering of club tunes that balance things out nicely.

Written by Steve Smith, the script is witty and light-hearted – so much so, it was a struggle to get the whole thing in the can due to cast and crew being constantly in hysterics. But that’s the overriding feature of the whole thing; sure, it’s far from a polished, professional piece, but the joy that came from making it shines through every scene. We could have had more time spent getting to know a couple of the characters before the transition into act two, but hey, you can’t have everything. The acting and directing are promising, if not perfect, and you can easily imagine a stage audience having a good laugh if this was performed live.

In fact, in the years that have elapsed since, several cast members have launched fledgling acting careers on the back of what’s sure to be a success. As for Sharpe, she’s no stranger to film and TV, having had extensive experience of the industry before turning her hand to teaching. From October 9, her latest flick will be available to rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play and iTunes, plus there’s social media to check-out, as well as a trailer.

7 Hours on Earth is inspirational in many ways, and proof to any aspiring filmmaker that it’s possible to make dreams reality, even in the present, alien climate.

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