Review: Sci-Fi Shorts

By: Austin Keller

In general, the five sci-fi shorts were incredibly diverse. Each short has its own strength, and its own weakness, to say the least. From comedy, eerily dark and flat out bizarre moments, the sci-fi shorts were an entertaining way to spend two hours.

Against the Night: The only foreign short on the list, the film had incredible potential to be amazing. The plot was engaging, with deeply interesting characters and wonderful performances. However, the structure of the story was confusing and difficult to follow. In the beginning, an astronaut crashes and goes out on an adventure to retrieve help for his unconscious friend, Anton. At various points during the short, we see flashbacks of our leading man’s life with his family. The puzzle pieces connecting made it stand out, but then multiple scene changes in present day, along with hallucinations, caused the film to become very confusing. When the short ended, it tied elements of the plot together but left me with too many questions. Rate: 3/5

 Dust: This film was by far the most visually appealing. It starts with a monologue about how animals, nature and humans are all connected. The film flashes forward and we meet an old-tracker, who used to live in the forest amongst the nature. Dust has settled over the city, causing civilians to become ill and causing the city to go under temporary lockdown. A man arrives asking the tracker to help him find the source of the dust and destroy it. Their journey begins outside the wall of the city. The short relies heavily on it’s visual appeal, as it shows plants and animals unknown to us – and it works. The effects are superb, and the acting was impeccable. My eyes were glued to the screen to the entire time, and the end kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, this was my favorite short film. Rate: 5/5

 The Leap: Sci-fi mixed with romance is the best way to describe this film. Set in a post- apocalyptic world, habitants of earth dream of moving to “new earth”. The story starts 15 years in the past, and discusses a massacre of civilians who tried to illegally gain access of the ship that takes civilians to new earth. The sole survivor was a young girl, with an hourglass tattoo. Flash forward to present day and Agent Reiss of ISPM has finally done enough service to go to new earth. Reiss is an alcoholic, and is need of sex. A mysterious, anonymous person appears as his prostitute. During sex, Reiss discovers the prostitute has an hourglass tattoo, which reveals that Reiss saved her in the massacre.  The action continues, and each twist and turn makes it a compelling watch. The love was tragic, destined to fail and the plot addresses that. The short was gritty, dark and shocking. The ending of this film is brilliant, and really makes this a well-polished short. Rate: 5/5

 Let’s not Panic: One of two sci-fi comedies. (I also interviewed the director and writer of a movie in another article). This short didn’t rely on typical crude or sexual humor dominating comedies today. Instead, it opted for weird, cheesy humor. The short focuses on a girl who has neuroses. The girl has a crush on her psychologist, and she imagines fantasies in which he saves the day in the cliché way it happens in action movies. However, the psychologist assures her they cannot be in love unless society has a complete breakdown of norms. The next morning, she arises to news that an asteroid is headed to New York, and the news anchor says that if the asteroid hits, society would break down of it’s norms. This inspires the leading lady to journey across town, with her lunatic neighbor to find this doctor and persuade him to be in love with her. The humor throughout the film was provided based on many allusions to classic ploys in other movies, and definitely provided laughs from beginning to end. A last minute twist really adds depth to this movie and was definitely worth the watch! Rate: 4.5/5

 Movies in Space: Another comical short, it was brief and bizarre. Set on a planet where everyone looks eerily similar, Travis lands for a two year stay and begins to socialize with his first friend on the planet, Cesar. Ceecarg decides to show Travis award-winning films from the universe, which consists of colored screens and random beeps. Ceecarg then shows Travis his own personal film. Not wanting to hurt his new friend’s feelings, Travis provides random advice and Ceecarg listens. Ceecarg’s film wins an award. Quickly, Travis becomes a respected producer, winning several awards. However, in the process Travis becomes addicted to a drug. His addiction makes him lose his house, Ceecarg and respect in the community. After winning the lifetime achievement award, Travis overdoses and is saved by Ceecarg. From there, Travis gives up the drug and moves back in. Excited to go home in a few days, a final plot twist is revealed making this a comical, charming short. Rate: 4/5