Jet Mode Rooftop Rumble is a short film directed by animator Travis Cataldo. It’s set in the not too distant future and is based off the comic book series Jet Mode.
The project features the voice of Peter Kelamis who is famous in the animation community for his portrayal of Goku from DragonBall Z in the original Ocean Dub as well as Rolf from Ed, Ed and Eddy and many others. Luna, the main character’s sister, is voiced by Laura K. Welsh and the villain, armored clad Horusa, doesn’t speak during the short which certainly builds up the sense of tension throughout.
Cataldo worked on the film with a team of talented artists and animators including Jaydip Majumder, Adam DiTerlizzi and Greg Ramos. The film took several months to complete and was done while everyone involved in the project worked at their respective day jobs. Jet Mode has always been a passion project of Cataldo so he took the time to get everything polished and cleaned up before releasing it to the public. In addition to physical copies that he plans to make available to the public soon, Cataldo also wants to submit the short to various film festivals in the coming months in order to share it with the animation community and the world.
The film pays homage to 90s Saturday Morning Cartoons as well as 80s Anime. The intro features an original theme produced by Italian DJ Luigi Porcino in the vein of Mega Man and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with a catchy synth lead and intense guitars. All of the characters have a very Captain Planet feel to them which is extremely nostalgic in an animation market that is currently flooded with 3D movies and television shows. The anime inspiration can be seen during the fight segments which feature japanese tokusatsu style transformations and special effects. Also, when characters are flying through the air we see lots of dramatic action lines and shading that work to push these big moments. The short uses a hybrid of limited animation and motion graphics techniques which work very well. At one point Jet is sitting in the cockpit of his hover car and we get a nice flash of reflection shading from the windows around him.
In addition to the serious action-adventure tone, the film has its share of fun moments and humor sprinkled throughout. Jet’s robot backpack is generally the source of this humor but the hero himself proves to not take the danger he’s in too seriously. At one point he calmly rattles off insults before having his hover car blasted into smithereens.
The short film and comic book series are both available at Travis Cataldo’s website www.actiontoons.com. In addition to this most recent release you can find other animated series including Class Clowns (a series about clown kids who bully each other and get into all sorts of trouble) and Toby (a series about a goth teenager who is incessantly bothered by a cigarette-smoke cloud character who makes her life a living hell).