Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Uncanny Valley

Diving back in!

Okay! So, today we have a sci-fi short film that looked kind of interesting, despite the somewhat worn-out and obvious trope it starts out with. I'm sure you're familiar with it... VR as a drug. Users as addicts. The game is not really a game. Blah, blah, blah, quack-quack. I mean, sure, yes, it's all been done before, there's nothing new under the sun. Sure, sure, that's all true, but even with that allowance, after awhile some of these ideas get a bit thin, y'know? However, that being said, while this short film may start out with a pretty standard idea, it looks like they might have done something interesting with it this this time, at least for some of it anyway, maybe...

Whatever, like I said, it looked interesting, so I thought I would check it out.

The film is called Uncanny Valley, and it was written and directed by Federico Heller though 3dar, if that means anything to you. It doesn't to me, of course. As pretty much always with these type of things, both the man, and the Company, are just another in a long line of Short Film Directors and Production Houses that I am completely unfamiliar with. That's not a judgment on their work, just a statement of fact. So, I can't tell you much about them. Some day, though, right? I figure I've done enough of these, so any day now I'm going to start seeing names I recognize, like this one time right here. That was kind of cool. I mean, I assume this will happen again someday. I assume there's a short film circuit, right, like how some people only write short stories? That's a thing, right?

Whatever... Here's hoping for a quality short film!

And here's the official synopsis: In the slums of the future, virtual reality junkies satisfy their violent impulses in online entertainment. An expert player discovers that the line between games and reality is starting to fade away.

Uh-oh, I hope that doesn't mean that if you die in the Matrix, you die in the Real World too! GASP!

Let's find out...

That was pretty good.

I'm kind of surprised. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. Like I said above, the themes and ideas weren't all that new here, but it turns out they were used pretty effectively, and they told a pretty good--and pretty good looking--story while using them too. There was good action, some nice designs, there was some nice social commentary going on, not to mention some good effects too. All in all, this was good. I liked it. And I really liked the story economy too. Get in, get out, and all with a full awareness of the time, narrative space, and money constraints of the Short Film. I appreciate that. The inability to tell a complete story within the confines of the actual film they're creating is something a surprising number of Writers/Directors seem to fail at.

The only complaint I have about this film is the whole "junkie flying" thing. Obviously it's a visual metaphor, I get it, but I think it undermines the reality of what they're doing. The contrast between the VR world and the Real World is all you really need, the flying thing is just wasted effects. But that's a quibble. All in all, good stuff. Uncanny Valley is totally worth your time.

Check it out.



Michael Pippenger said...

I really enjoyed that and agree with your flying comments. It took me out of the film as I was looking around trying to figure out how they were supposed to be achieving that in the shooting den. But otherwise very enjoyable and the perfect length.

Jon said...

Yeah, good concept, well executed. I was impressed that it looked as good as it did too