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Rated PG
Copyright 1988 Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 24 June 2001

The Characters:  

  • Mike Jittlov - The Wizard himself! Every other thing this maniac does defies some law of the universe. You'll understand my description after seeing him grin mischievously at the camera as he dashes down the road.
  • Cindy - Girl who falls in love with Mike and his dedicated spirit. How a starving actress in Hollywood still manages to be innocently naive is beyond me, but she misses every sexual connotation imaginable, including Mike describing his method of special effects. Maybe I'm just a dirty young man.
  • Brian - He handles finances for all of the Wizard's endeavors and finds himself needing to work a little magic. Worries about the trouble his madman friend gets into.
  • Mom - To Mike that is, often under siege by renegade toys.
  • Straeker - Director and the only person who can recognize true talent. Too bad that he has a gambling problem.
  • The Cops - One of them is Philip Michael Thomas! In the end they manage to recover their squad car and find love in each other's arms. The latter is a small problem since she is married.
  • McTavish - Never hire an obsessive-compulsive Irish man as your accountant.
  • Two Thugs - Bumbling crooks who are dressed like the Keystone Cops and want to kidnap Mike. One appears to be very Hispanic, the other very Canadian. Just another reason to worry about our northern and southern borders.
  • Harvey - Evil film producer that was so lampooned I was waiting for Van Helsing to burst in and hammer a stake through his heart.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

What if your whole life was a special effect? I don't mean fake, I mean things happening around you which would dumbfound the casual observer. Anger causing light to flash across your eyes, objects bounding into the air at the beckoning of a finger, and any number of other unexpected occurrences. Such is the life of Mike Jittlov.

People familiar with the original "Wizard of Speed and Time" short know to expect energy. Insane and completely unpredictable energy; the sort of thing that makes women with short hair kicking and punching seem lazy in comparison. That short is probably the most fun you can pack into five minutes without succumbing to the White Witch and her delicious Turkish Delight. Plus, unlike the eldritch confection, it is unlikely to result in the slaying of lions or breaking of stone tables. You can see some excerpts from the short (and others) contained in this feature film, but the ending is actually a remake.

So what is the movie about? It's the ordeals suffered by Jittlov during his quest to break into film. We get the idea that a hateful bureaucracy has grown up around America's entertainment industry. Obviously the main character, also the writer and director, has had unpleasant experiences with the guild masters. At times the message gets a little on the preachy side, like people constantly wanting to see union credentials.

Mike finally finds a partially open door when Straeker sees his work. The two executives are putting together a special about effects and one of the Wizard's energetic pieces would be perfect. That's what the good suit thinks anyway. Harry is another issue, he despises anyone without the proper pedigree and only agrees when a gentleman's wager is tabled on the outcome by Straeker. With enough at stake to purchase a nice car (for us working class people) the evil producer's goal shifts from making an enjoyable presentation to ruining Jittlov's efforts.

Creating anything costs money and, having been denied an advance funding account, the two friends hold a garage sale to raise funds for the short. Even the wondrous bicycle that Mike built is sold off. Sorry to see that piece of machinery go; not only did it have the best ball bearings ever made, it had a great anti-theft system. Crooks grabbing the handlebars would find themselves the generous recipients of paralyzing electric current. No amps, but enough volts to make you do the funky chicken.

The friends hurdle obstacle after obstacle and are joined by the irrepressible Cindy after Mike meets her jogging. I mean that she was the one jogging; he was sitting on a bench acting himself, which is to say eccentric. Harvey drops by during the process and is greatly impressed by the work completed, but freaks out after seeing the studio. All those dancing tripods and shining film cans are being animated in the Wizard's garage! It causes a major spectacle when the toys, sensing evil, attack the fleeing jerk.

One point comes to mind here: who cares how something is made so long as the result is good? Beyond "necessary evils" of course. Grinding up kittens to use in your film stock is reprehensible, even if the result is fantastic. Not that "Citizen Kane" contains any kitty meal... ...though there is that one scene with the mysterious whisker shaped defect. No, the film is honestly made - even if the electricity used falls into a gray area. Is it a bad thing when the city runs power lines under your lawn and attaching alligator clips to the flowers will power a studio full of lights?

Harvey becomes desperate to stop "The Wizard of Speed and Time" from being completed; so much that he pays a pair of inept thugs to kidnap the man. They up the ante after stealing a police car, but didn't count on it being a K-9 unit. Okay, two goofballs with a very PO'd German shepherd in the back seat. They appease the working dog with prodigious amounts of fast food burritos. That's a mistake, because the pooch is twice as disagreeable upon waking from its post-digestive holocaust slumber. Needless to say, don't feed stuff like that to a dog with extensive training in biting the heck out of people.

Who can stop that Wizard of Speed and Time? Certainly not a producer and his minions; everything is going to be just fine. The good guy will win the girl and bad people get their just desserts. And it all happens so fast!

Little things make this movie fun, like seeing the table where so many of the effects were created and even Jittlov working on them. The little cleaning robot that looks like a backhoe or something (heck, it's made of Lego, who knows what it is) was a nice touch. I want one.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • The Time Lords have two major exports: police boxes and camera shops.
  • The sign for Hollywood used to be a neon one.
  • Running over a herd (pack, flock, who knows?) of skunks is not advised.
  • "Tron" was filmed inside a piece of woman's jewelry.
  • Sleeping bags can be used in sound production and editing.
  • Poltergeists are a constant problem for the IRS.
  • Blondes run off of alternating current.
  • If at first you don't succeed then become an arsonist.
  • When running at Mach Five the worst thing to encounter is a banana peel.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 12 mins - Here come the evils caused by film unions.
  • 17 mins - Room 666? Must be the "Dr. Black Magic Show."
  • 43 mins - Brian, in case you have not noticed, reality is a tenuous thing around your friend.
  • 45 mins - I would be really afraid of eating a pizza with octopus as a topping.
  • 67 mins - That kid looks just like Bill Gates. Sounds and acts like him too.
  • 68 mins - How is a kite being hung up on the TV antenna affecting his phone?
  • 71 mins - Oddjob no!

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note wosat1.wav Harvey: "Don't bring a whole reel of effects in here just 'cause you want a job as an actor!"
Straeker: "Harvey, he did the effects! He probably made did everything himself."
Mike: "I'm a film maker; I make films."
Green Music Note wosat2.wav Harvey: "You can't make features; you can't even shake hands. You gotta crawl before you can leap!"
Straeker: "Harvey, you're the only one who can leap from a crawl."
Green Music Note wosat3.wav Belair: "Look, you work with me, I expect a pro. You don't even shake hands. You outta see a shrink!"
Mike: "Mrs. Belair, if you feel compelled to grab part of my body and shake it, before you can even be friendly, you've got far worse problems than you think I have."
Green Music Note wosat4.wav Cindy: "How do you get it all moving around?"
Mike: "Well, aside from Mr. Bookman's method, we use stop motion. For every second of movie film there are twenty-four pictures and we're making each of those pictures one at a time."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipwosat1.mpg - 2.4m
This is actually the latter part of the short where the Wizard demonstrates his mastery of time (also contained in the feature reviewed here). What do marching tripods have to do with Chronos? I haven't the slightest clue, but it's cool.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Charlie
Best movie ever.
The Wizard of Speed and Time has a kind of honesty to it…
Both in it's story, and brilliant execution.
When Mike says- "It's a feature length film with a REAL story, with special effects that REALLY mean something, they aren't just frosting on the cake..."
I just about cried.
Directors like George Lucas and Tim Burton should sit down and watch this film... and afterward take some time to evaluate their careers and whether or not the world needs another one of their regurgitated, heartless movies... void of any true creativity.
Mike Jittlov is a Wizard... by all means. He cares about the art of creation.
Watch his films, and learn something.
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Charlie Bink
Oh, and one more thing...
When are we going to see the WoSaT DVD with audio commentary??? I would kill a man for it...

The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #11. Posted on September 01, 2003, 06:42:28 AM by Jeff
One of my favourite movies ever! This should definately be released on DVD!
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Carter Adams
OK here's my WoSaT experience: the year was 1990, I was 8 years old, and I was over at a friend's house©  We wanted his mother to order The Wizard ¥horrible 2-hour Nintendo commercial "I love the PowerGlove, it is so rad!"¤ on Pay Per View©

But we didn't get the Wizard©  We got The Wizard of Speed and Time©  It was awesome©  I haven't seen it in 12 years, but I still remember a great many details©  I went home and immediately tried to make stop-motion movies with our VHS camcorder ¥it didn't really work, you can't go frame-by-frame on VHS¤

I really should find a copy and watch it again©  Great movie©

And I think The Wizard should qualify as a crappy enough movie to review here©
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Bruce Miller
Not only has Mr. Jitlove made many fantastic shorts (as well as this move) under his own power, but he also did a stop-motion short for Disney.  You can see bits and pieces of it on some of the old "D-TV" (that's "Disney TV) music videos, but the whole thing is unbelievable; it even makes WOSAT (the original short) look a bit amaturish by comparison.

For those who don't know it, a brief synopsis is a Man (played by Jitlove, again, I think) is so fixated on Mickey Mouse that everything in his life (clothes, office supplies, furniture, etc.; EVERYTHING!) is Mickey Mouse.  Slowly but surely, all the Mikey Mouse items "come alive" and eventually lead him off to another universe (where, I guess, the magic of childhood never ends).  

This was another time when Jitlov had immense problems with the film establishment (I believe he has NO rights to any of this work on this one).  No wonder he's out of the industry.

And, yes, here's another vote for a "Special Edition DVD."
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Dave Keefer
As I understand it, WOSAT is loosely based on the experiences Mike Jittlov had in filming material for a Disney TV special, which included the original WOSAT short.  The program, which was supposed to showcase different types of special effects, also heavily promoted Disney's upcoming movie "The Black Hole."

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jittlov at a convention over 15 years ago (and NOT shaking his hand).  He struck me as a very kind, intelligent, witty, and gentle soul.  Unfortunately, there are those on this planet who live to prey on such rare people.  

If you get the chance, see his other short films, "Animato" and "Time Tripper."  There are other good ones, but I can't recall the titles (one features dancing clothes in a department store at night, and one is an interview with his own evil twin).
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #15. Posted on August 31, 2002, 03:37:59 PM by Val
Another vote for a DVD of WoSat!  And I love his signoff about dreams and wishes.  We need more optimism.
The Wizard of Speed and Time
Reply #16. Posted on October 15, 2002, 09:59:06 AM by Blake
My first Jitlov Experience was at, I believe, NoreasCon II in Boston.  The world SF convention-I think in 1979 or 80 (I was about 12 years old)  We all loved his films and loved him.  A very personable guy unlike some of the other guest speakers at the Con, most notably Harlan Ellison.  Have been looking for copies of Jitlov stuff for quite some time with no luck.
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