EXT is a promising 8 minute short by writer-director Adrian Bobb.
The short opens with a woman saying, “We are not as we were, you and I.” With this ominous opening, a theme of contrasting the past and the present is rooted. Taking place in Toronto in the 24th century, five humanoid warriors face off against their enemies to try to reclaim their digital homeland. The warriors are smaller than their larger robot enemies, but they have the benefit of their humanity. Together, they wield large weapons and narrowly dodge attacks.
The film features just two humans, played by actors Cara Gee (Wynter) and Zoe Doyle (The Silence). The other “actors” are robots, each distinguished by a small scrap of clothing, such as a scarf or bandana, to symbolize their humanness. As they battle for territory, the robots communicate with each other and display human tendencies, such as stopping to help a wounded robot soldier.
In the meantime, Aegis, the robot’s leader, speaks with her mother, Kym Minamoto. Kym is the leader of the opposition, and she and her daughter embark in bitter diatribes about the true meaning of humanity and its’ role within the snowy realm. The tensions run high between the mother and daughter as their opposing sides fight each other on the battlefield.
The craftsmanship of the film is impressive (see the end credits for insight into the robots’ design.) Bobb and his team of digital artists worked on the film for about three years from conception to end result. Bobb says that the film was inspired by “Seven Samurais but with robots.”
EXT looks great for a short, and could easily be expanded into a longer narrative. EXT presents interesting ideas about the value of digital identity and family bonds, offering a harrowing look at a chilly future full of robots.