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Go, Go Emo Rangers! Fight Back Tears – And Space Robots

Let’s face it: When it comes to defending the planet, five white-belted emo kids would probably be the last crew you’d want on the frontlines (even Captain Planet and those wussy Planeteers would instill more confidence). But in a new short film by two “unemployed” British directors, the fate of the free world rests directly on the scrawny shoulders of five sad sorta-superheroes.

The film, called “Mighty Moshin’ Emo Rangers,” was the brainchild of Chris Phillips and Nick Pittom, two twentysomething filmmakers who were barely getting filming gigs for local bands. Their money situation only continued to worsen, and things were looking bleak until one day – while in the depths of a serious woe-is-me session (emo!) – inspiration struck.

“Nick and I were sitting around bored one day. I was upset because I was just dumped by my girlfriend, and Nick turned to me and said, ‘Quit being emo, you Emo Ranger!’ ” Phillips explained. “Suddenly the hairs went up on the back of my neck and I blurted out ‘You Mighty Moshin’ Emo Rangers!’ ”

This apparently made a lot of sense to two British kids, because Phillips and Pittom got to work right away on their film, which follows the five Emo Rangers as they battle depression – and space robots – by combining their various emo powers (“Weepy Tears!” “Introspection!”) to form a super-robot, complete with studded belt and angular, black haircut… sort of like the Hot Topic version of Voltron.

For added realism, the duo searched countless blogs and message boards to find five suitably depressed emo kids to play their Rangers. Initial response to the project was a bit cold, but thanks to their dogged determination, Phillips and Pittom eventually won over the naysayers and got to work on their film.

“We ran the idea past a bunch of scenesters, and their response was usually to go and cry in the corner,” Phillips joked. “But every now and then, you could spot one of these depressed teens slightly smiling at the joke. So we knew we were on to something.”

Borrowing an old camcorder, and working with a shoestring budget of less than $100, Phillips and Pittom began filming, eschewing the traditional blue screen for a more suitable black screen (“It matched the emo color scheme quite well, and added to the depressing mood,” Phillips laughed.) The Rangers’ costumes were made out of cardboard and papier-mâché, and much of the effects – including some genuinely awesome-looking evil robots – were done on an ancient computer.

“We knew that anything George Lucas could do on a computer, we could do. It just took many sleepless nights and painstaking attention to detail,” Phillips said. “Each shot took hours to render – and re-render when we got things wrong.”

The duo hope to have the short done in about two months, and they plan on selling it as a DVD “with lots of extras.” They’ve posted a trailer – complete with an emo-riffic Rangers theme song – at EmoRangers.com, and after receiving requests from sad kids from places like Russia and Singapore, they’ve recently put merch up for sale on the site, too (plenty of hoodies, of course). They’ve also become quite the topic on emo-punk message boards across the Internet, too – most of the comments are negative. And as “Mighty Moshin’ Emo Rangers” nears completion, there is a question that begs to be asked: Do Phillips and Pittom fear some sort of limp-wristed backlash from within the emo community? Um, not really.

“The reaction from the emo kids had been good, only the mega-depressed ones have complained,” Phillips said. “Basically, kids just e-mail us with requests for T-shirts, as emo kids love conforming.”

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