Director/writer: Ian Hubert. Starring: Derek de Lint, Sergio Hasselbaink, Rogier Schippers, Denise Rebergen. Netherlands, 2012. Budget: roughly €300.000. Box office: direct-to-video. IMDB: 5.6. RT: not rated. My rating: 3/4. Action-packed futuristic time-paradox sci-fi dystopia.
– You’re a jerk, Thom!
– Look, Celya, we have to follow our passions, you have your robotics, and I just want to be awesome in space…
– Why don’t you just admit that you’re freaked out by my robot hand?!
(the real reason behind how robots will take over)
”Tears of Steel” is a short (10 minutes) Dutch science fiction film, and I’d easily say it’s a good remedy for anyone whose daily
mana stamina levels depend of how much cyberpunk, robots, post-apocalyptic and futurism themes are consumed.
The film is a masterful blend of all these beloved themes and I wish it’d be longer which is probably one of the best compliments a short movie can receive. Usually I’m a bit sceptical about sci-fi short movies, but less so this time… Honestly, I was pretty shocked – the film’s opening is so impressive that I basically had my mouth hanging open and my girlfriend asked whether I was seeing a ghost.
The plot borrows from ”The Terminator” but not in the way you’d have ever imagined. That is what makes difference between being a simple rip-off and ”inspired by”. But is the story actually interesting to follow? Well, here’s where problems start and this is exactly the reason I normally avoid short sci-fi movies – while the effects are simply jaw-dropping for such a small production, the film falls flat exactly in the most important parts – the story, the acting, the writing. Most plot elements aren’t explored or don’t make much sense, and here’s why.
”Tears of Steel” is actually credited to the Blender Institute (an open-source 3D animation software) and was primarily developed as the program’s ”showroom”. Ton Roosendaal, the creator of the original software, is actually the film’s producer. As RocketStock says, ”The point of the project was to show off the visual effects capabilities of the open source Blender 3D software. Tears of Steel was the fifth short film produced by the Blender Foundation. The live-action sequences were shot using Sony CineAlta cameras and then all rendering, compositing, and grading was done through a pipeline of Blender community users.”
Worth watching? I guess at this point it’s not clear why I’m so positive on this little Dutch film… But you know what? Honestly, I don’t care this time about all these shortcomings. The film lasts barely 10 minutes – it actually took me longer to write this mini-review than watch the film. And while I hate everything Transformer-related (except ”Pacific Rim” which is has NOTHING to do with ”Transformers”) and prefer more thoughtful and minimal science fiction, ”Tears of Steel” is such a colourful and action-packed short film that I couldn’t resist. So given that the film never takes itself too seriously, lets categorize it as a lovely silly guilty sci-fi pleasure.
Pathos level: acceptable
Final vote: 3/4
You can watch ”Tears of Steel” online right here…
…and be sure not to miss a small after-credit scene!