See, while I went to school for a while for a career in computer animation, the one thing I’ve never cared for is splashy graphics on screen as a substitute for a compelling plot. I want an intriguing story, complex characters, well-written dialogue and an in-depth plot that comes together to make a truly memorable movie or TV series. Far too many directors in Hollywood (Michael Bay) think that explosions and CGI make up for all of that and unfortunately, there are far too many movie-goers who are only too happy to buy into it.
Here are three sci-fi shorts that, while beautiful, let’s be honest, are little more than extended fight sequence and effects masturbation. I ran across them while poking around one night and, yes, they are well done pieces and I think all of them have won awards for “short subjects”, but in reality, are they any more than effects reels?
This may have the most plot of the three, but it’s paper thin. You’re dropped into the middle of an action sequence between an unnamed agent and another group of unnamed men, in a running battle to recover a teleportation device. It’s from a first-person perspective and very well done, although it takes about a minute to get oriented, but there’s really nothing to it beyond “ooh, look what we can do!”
All three “films” are done with a mad chase sequence and this might be the most entertaining of them. Some unnamed kid in a post-apocalyptic wilderness (I hate post-apocalyptic stuff, sorry) gets chased by a futuristic drone bent on his destruction. All action, no story.
The final one, done in an anime-style, tells the “story” of an android girl presumably named Rosa, who awakes in the middle of an empty post-apocalyptic city, the last remnant of the “Kernel” project, meant to jump-start the planet’s eco-system. She is almost immediately set upon by two male cyborgs who want to kill her (and eventually do) and every drop of her “blood” causes plants to grow. Um… okay.
I’m generally cool with nice effects, but these people are pretending to be filmmakers, not effects guys and artists and one of the biggest elements of being a filmmaker is being able to tell a compelling story. I’ve seen plenty of shorts where they manage to tell a quite complex story with a beginning, middle and end, with good characters, why does it seem you have to pick one or the other? Style and beautiful effects or story and good writing?
Why can’t we have both?