Neill Blomkamp short film

In movies like Chappie, District 9, and Elysium, director Neill Blomkamp has explored the intersection of humanity and technology. It’s a topic he returns to again and again, and it’s something he’s obsessed with as a storyteller. So it’s no surprise that Blomkamp is exploring the same concept in a new way with Adam: The Mirror, a new short film from his experimental Oats Studios that was rendered in real time entirely in the Unity game engine.

Before you check out his newest project, make sure you’ve seen Adam: Chapter 1, the first part of the story that premiered on YouTube in the summer of 2016:

Now here’s Adam: The Mirror, described as “next chapter in the Adam story. Join our amnesiac hero as he discovers a clue about what and who he is.”

Blomkamp has dabbled in short films before, famously helming 2005’s Alive in Joburg which he expanded into District 9 and directing some short content related to Halo which nearly resulted in him directing a live-action feature before that project ultimately fell apart. His Oats Studios has been pumping out shorts left and right (including the Sigourney Weaver-starring Rakka, Dakota Fanning in Zygote, etc.), and they’re positioning themselves as sort of a HitRecord of moviemaking: a collaborative, open source interaction between the filmmakers and an audience that can alter digital assets with their own creativity, with the hope of one day making a feature or TV series out of their creations. But what’s the deal with this “real time rendering” thing with these two shorts? I’ll let Blomkamp himself explain:

That sounds like how James Cameron described the process of making Avatar back in 2009, shooting actors using performance capture technology and being able to look over at a monitor and see their Na’vi characters walking through a rendered version of Pandora. Since it’s been eight years since Cameron was talking up those methods, I have to imagine the tech has come a long way since then. In any case, these Adam shorts are very much a Neill Blomkamp product: they’re impressive on a technical level, but sufficient when it comes to character and story. They’re more like mood pieces and tech exercises than anything else. I certainly wouldn’t pay money to see an Adam movie at this point, but since the YouTube description for The Mirror also promises that “the next chapter arrives soon,” maybe the next installment will flesh out the world a bit more.

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