Neil Blomkamp, the visionary director behind District 9 and the slightly less visionary director/producer of Elysium and Chappie has launched has put out two new short films through his Oats Studio project.
The business model here is probably the most interesting thing. Blomkamp and Co put the short, action-packed effects heavy films out for free, but encourage people to tell their own stories in the narrative sandboxes they’ve created by paying for CGI assets (through Steam of all platforms).
Sadly, I feel that the business model is the most interesting thing about the work so far. The goal might be to encourage people to download assets so that they can tell their own stories in a compelling world they’ve created, but it feels more like they’ve thrown together a sketch of a story for an infomercial that justifies an aesthetic that unites the assets.
Rakka, which is about an alien invasion and does some decent characterization and has some creepy images, could do with more of a plot. I don’t have any complaints about it beyond it being barebones, really, and there are worse ways to spend 20 minutes if you don’t mind body horror.
Their second full release is Firebase, a Vietnam War themed short which tells more of a story but makes me wish they hadn’t. It’s absurdly tone deaf, and is clearly structured around shoe-horning in FX props. Pretty heavy on the body horror here too.
Bonus: They’ve also put out this 3 minute parody informercial which honestly just makes me want to go watch Cinco ads from Tim and Eric.
Well, that’s a rough sketch of my feelings on their work so far, although I have a ton more to say about Firebase. What do the good people of Waypoint think of these offerings? Feel free to voice enthusiastic support, I’d love to hear from people who really dug this stuff! But I’m just, not at all impressed and wasn’t about to disguise that fact.