Monday, July 17, 2017


Today's short film is called TEMPLE.

I found TEMPLE on a website/Facebook group called DUST. I'm not really sure what DUST is, who runs it, or why it even exists, but a cursory examination tells me that it's a platform for weird/sci-fi/genre short films, so that's right up my alley.

This is what they have to say about themselves:

"When You Cut Into The Present, The Future Leaks Out.” – William S. Burroughs

DUST is the first multi-platform destination to experience stunning visions of the future from filmmakers of tomorrow. We feature the best sci-fi short films, series, and innovative content that cuts through the present to invite the future. With vivid special effects, complex characters, and captivating plots, prescient themes are explored and tantalizing questions asked. Whether it’s a utopia worth striving for, an apocalypse to avoid, or a truth about the ways technology is changing the human experience – we amplify the voices and visions that will shape the future through imagination. New videos every week across technology platforms. The future is coming. Be our passenger. Explore, subscribe, follow, and submit to join us.

A tad over-written, perhaps, but at least they have a mission statement.

I'm a little surprised to see that DUST is so cyberpunk heavy. Honestly, in most parts of the world, cyberpunk is dead as the ideas and styles that power it. This isn't a recent development either, decades ago, Cyberpunk joined its obnoxious lesser cousin, Steampunk, as an out-of-date, ultra-specific speculative branch of the future/past that never happened, and never will. Not only will it never happen, but really, as the real future gets closer and closer every day, cyberpunk just ends up seeming more and more quaint and ridiculous. The real world moves too quickly, and cyberpunk is the 8-track of speculative fiction.

However, that doesn't mean I don't still enjoy the genre every now and then, so I guess I'm glad DUST is around. From the looks of the stuff they've curated, you'll probably find a lot of what they've got over there appearing over here.

But back to today's short film...

TEMPLE was directed by Nguyen-Anh Nguyen, and written by him and Santiago Menghini. They've worked on a bunch of stuff I'm not familiar with, as per tradition, with the noted exception of THE AKIRA PROJECT. That's an Indigogo-funded film project that was intended to either bankroll a fan-made attempt at a live-action version of Katsuhiro Otomo's famous manga/anime film AKIRA, or to finance a 5 minute trailer of a never-going-to-exist fan-driven live-action version of AKIRA. It's hard to tell. Either way, it's a pretty ill-advised idea, if you ask me. Anyway, the five minute trailer itself isn't that bad really, but it also three minutes of footage and a minute and a half of credits, so.... yeah... it's not that great either.

Here's the synopsis of TEMPLE: It's the year 2045. The ocean levels have risen to flood islands and coastal areas. The human race has been forced to become cyborgs. However, a virus has started to infect those who have these cybernetic enhancements. Oz (Osric Chau) must do whatever it takes to save the woman he cares about who has also developed this deadly virus.

That definitely sounds very cyberpunk. Let's watch...

Okay, so first things first... almost NONE of the above synopsis was in, shown, or even mentioned, during the film. I mean, how did rising flood waters force people to become cyborgs? Did they mean cyborg boats? Do they all have cyborg waterski feet? Because none of that is in the film. And the whole part about saving the woman the main character cares about? That's an inference, at best. And as far as I could tell... not one character was sick.

That's a problem, right?

That should be a problem. I mean, you go and say: "Here's what my film is about" and then include almost none of that in the actual film? What the fuck is that? That's so disappointing. Even more disappointing is how often this type of thing happens in the Genre Short Film World.

A more accurate synopsis of TEMPLE should've read: Two guys drive around a cyberpunk city, then one of the guys fights a different guy, apparently because the first guy wants the second guy's cyborg arm, because the first guy.... collects them, I guess? Also, there's a girl in a tube.

But other than that... Not too bad. I mean, it looked good. The fight was cool, and the effects were even better, so despite being a complete narrative failure, at least the film is pretty to look at.

If you have the time, and lower your expectations, I'm going to say... sure, check it out.

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