Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short film: Alma

Alma is a short from director Rodrigo Blaas done in that 'cutesy twilight zone' style of animation which seems to be popular, thanks to movies like Coraline. At 5 minutes and 30 seconds, you're not going to expect anything of epic proportions here, but this still manages to be one of the more entertaining short films I've seen in a while.

Definite props to the director: I won't ruin the ending, but I'll simply tell you that the whole short DOESNT end up just being the dream of the kid at the end.

The character design, technical stuff (like modeling rendering compositing etc) are well done, which can be expected from the way too many people who worked on this film.

Ok, so this film entertained me for it's 5 minutes and 30 seconds, and I'm not expecting to extract that amount of my life back (painfully) from the director if we ever meet, unlike the latest Roland Emmerich turkey. (3 hours... I'm just glad I pirated it so I'm not out $9.50 as well)

There's always a few things that stick out at me about shorts like this:

As I said, way too many people worked on this film. The site isn't specific on how long they worked on this, but by comparison I've been working on Afternow since October (starting from blank recipe cards and concept art to finished shots...) and I've got 5:30 done. And that's only going hard at animating shots for the last 3 weeks or so. You'd think that with a whole bunch of people working at it, they could make a hella longer film. Well. At least, I'd think that. M. Dot Strange would call me a slacker.

3D Short Checklist
  1. Cutesy proportioned child
  2. 'Snappy' animation style that isn't quite natural
  3. Foggy window showing off your render farm
  4. Long tracking camera shots showing off your render farm
  5. Clever twist at the end (a la' M. Night Shaylaman school of screenplay writing)
This short is original. But it's irritatingly bland originality. It's so original that it's just as original as every other short you're going to see this year. Animation lets you do anything you want. Problem there is, you have to think it up. Which isn't a problem once you realize: Animation lets you do anything that you want. It just takes determination, vision, and the ability to ignore the squawking hordes of opinions all around you.

Films to watch for inspiration:
  • Fight Club
  • The Fountain
  • Children of Men
  • Dark City
  • Chronicles of Riddick
  • Donnie Darko
  • Primer
  • We Are The Strange
  • Four Eyed Monsters


IamSamJackson said...

Hey NoDelete, it's me Flog, aka Ilive, aka ILoveGodzilla, aka IamSamJackson off cgtalk. yes I have been banned 4 times and keep coming back for more. The 4 times is really just one time since the original. LOL

Enough about me. I liked your post and I liked this movie Alma but you said it.

It is amazing how people take 2 years for a 5 minute short and have a whole team of 15 people. 15 people and you should crank out an entire movie! Great quality but way too long to create among such a large group.

i'm glad folks like you are proving it doesn't take years to crank out quality work!

IamSamJackson said...

Okay I also wanted to add the list of movies for inspiration.

Personally not my thing

Fight Club: okay, great twist but boring after awhile.

The Fountain: err...????

Children of Men: Cool but depressing

Dark City: Didn't see it

Chronicles of Riddick: Ummm okay but not inspiring.

Donnie Darko: Freaky rabbit, get out of my head

Primer; Hadn't seen it.

We Are The Strange: Loved it! But not going to kiss M Dot's butt about it.

Four Eyed Monsters: Saw it, I like what they are trying to do but $100,000? For this? Really? Where did the money go and a little to "indie" for my taste.

I'll tell you some inspirations.

Old School Kaiju and Godzilla movies. Simple,plain and fun. And you can run yourself silly on Kaiju origins.

20th Century Boys: Never have I seen a movie weave in and out as much as this movie.

Anything made by Ray Harryhausen.

Clash of the Titans

50s horror movies


Neon Genesis

Read tons of comics. I find inspiration everywhere.

Cimm said...

Of the movies you've listed that I've seen, I love them. I'll have to seek out the other movies you've written down since it seems we have the same movie tastes.