Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rosa





Rosa, a very well-regarded sci-fi short film when it was released in 2011, is written and directed by Jesus Orellana. And at the time of release there was a lot of noise about this guy, a lot of scuttle-butt, a lot of expectations that he will soon be getting to work on some big-time Hollywood films, but as far as I can tell, in the time since, he hasn't really done too much.

Here's the synopsis: In the near future, humanity has disappeared, leaving behind a large megalopolis devoid of natural life. From the destruction awakes ROSA, a robot part of the KERNEL project, mankind's last attempt to restore the earth's ecosystem using recovered samples of long-extinct plant species. Wandering among the ruins of the lifeless city, Rosa will soon discover that she is not the only part of Kernel that has awakened.


Hmmm... as of this writing, I haven't watched this film yet, but from the way that was written, I'm going to hazard a guess that yet again we are faced with a synopsis that is stuffed with the type of details that would be better off contained within the film itself, but probably aren't... I hope not.

Let's find out...



Now, granted... I'm coming to this short film late. 

It was made in 2011, and four years is a long time as far as Pop Culture trends are concerned, but even so, this seems like it was created by someone who never really engaged with the Matrix sequels in a critical way. Also, the colors palette is really awful. The film just looks muddy and ugly, and everything blends in way too much. It's often hard to tell what's even going on, and when you can see things clearly, the film suffers from the same issue of so many of these sci-fi short films...

Why is any of this happening? 

I read the film's synopsis before watching it, but if I hadn't. I would've had no clue at all what was going on here. Zero clue. I mean, I get that the red-eyed leather teens really hate the cry-faced blue-eyed leather teen, but why? Personally, I assume it's because her make-up is really dumb and goth-like and she cries/bleeds flowers for some reason, but how would I know, since nothing tells me one way or another. Specifics are important, they're the meat of your story. But we get nothing. Instead, the action is obviously the point of this film, and when you can actually see what was happening, it was technically good, well choreographed, but it just went on for too long. Mix that with the fact that I had no idea who anyone was or why they were even fighting, and it all adds up to: Who cares who wins the fight? And when that happens to your story, it just doesn't matter how inventive or flashy your fight scenes are, they just end up as dull. 

Too long, kind of ugly, and with no story to speak of, I'm honestly unsure why anyone was ever hyped for this particular short film in the first place.

Jon


Monday, November 9, 2015

Sumer






Huh... looks like I skipped October all together...

Sorry about that. Honestly, I'm as shocked as you. Oh well, let's get back to it. Okay, so Sumer is a short film by Writer/Director Alvaro Garcia. I've never heard of him, but that doesn't mean anything, because I don't really follow these type of things. He could be very well known, or this could maybe even be his first film. It doesn't really matter, because we're gonna watch this either way.

Here's the (rather long-winded) synopsis: 

For unknown reasons, the Earth's ionosphere has weakened dramatically during the course of the last century, resulting in the collapse of the entire ecosystem. Earth has become an increasingly hostile and uninhabitable place and with no shield to protect it, it is at the full mercy of meteors.

All animal and plant species perished decades ago. All that remains is one small group of humans who attempt to resist the hostility and hardness of the external environment from SUMER, the last hive city in the world, which has been specifically designed to keep the population alive through oxygen supply systems.

The media manipulates the available information in a manner that is purposely designed to keep people obsessed on the potential of the space exodus, letting any hope of prevailing on earth go.

A young boy, Hermes, lives alone in a compartment, the property of the government, which is located close to the wall that delimits the city, an area that is highly guarded by the SSW (SUMER Security Watchers).

While observing the desert from the roof of a building, Hermes suddenly sees something that grabs his attention…

Okay, then...


Now, this isn't a poorly made short film, not at all, not in the technical sense, at least. It looks great, in fact. Sure, maybe it's a little dark, but that's kind of the world it lives in, so no biggie, I guess. And while there's an argument to be made for the audience to be able to clearly see this world you're creating, whatever, it's not that dark.

It's not a real problem; it's more an annoying aesthetic choice.

No, the real problem with this short film is that yet again, the actual meat of the story is only told in the synopsis. In fact, without the synopsis, if all you saw was the short film itself, then you'd have almost zero idea what was at stake here. You wouldn't know why anything is happening, what the city was about, why the main character can't leave, you wouldn't even know what planet they're on... shit, you wouldn't even know the main character's name. I mean, on one hand, yeah, there's a straight-forward aspect to the story that you can fill in for yourself: "Boy lives in Oppressive Regime, and runs for Freedom". Done. But what is that? It's generic bullshit, is what it is. It's certainly not a good story. And really, why should you even have to do that? It's a story, tell the whole story. I get that it's a short film, that the genre is by definition limiting, and that the main hurdle is the unforgiving amount of time, especially when it comes to the complexity of the narrative.

But that should be the challenge, right?

Beating the time limit should be the hallmark of success, right? Can you tell your story. a full and complete story, in so little time? If you can, that's when you know that you've done something good. Unfortunately, Sumer doesn't do this.

In the end, the film is pretty to look at, but it just doesn't have much else going for it.

Jon