(This is Beyond Us short film review, which is a 2019 3D animated short film that was broadcasted at IAMAG Masterclass 2019 in Paris)
The apocalyptic setting has been a mainstay in the 21st century with many other films depicting it one way or another. This is especially so when even China released their own blockbuster based on that premise. Now, a short film that tackles the genre has appeared once again by the name of Beyond Us.
It is directed by Maxime Tiberghien, a freelance motion designer and art designer. Together with the help of his crews Sylvain Favre and Maxime Hacquard, and music by Vitality Zavadskyy and voiceover by Juliette de Prigny; they have managed to create a pretty interesting piece of work out to the audience in Paris.
Now, does it truly deserve such honour? Read on the Beyond Us short film below to find out!
Its premise kind of philosophical and psychological, where a narrator tells us several reasons why our society is doomed. And its most unlikely saviour is something that is totally unexpected…
Beyond Us Short Film Review
I actually really like the simple premise here. It tells a world where society comes to a halt because of our own dangerous life habits…and of greeds. Humans have sucked the Earth dry of resources and we have also sucked our own life dry with our lifestyles.
The short film shows a few scenes of what we could see in our everyday life: going to work, shopping in a mall, working on a desk or going to an election speech etc. These makes it quite relatable to our everyday life and thus makes it more impactful to drive down its message. Furthermore, the scene where the robot tries to protect the nature is an irony of our own doings.
“in the pursuit of creating a perfect life with machines and AI, we have actually lost our own soul…”
Perhaps it tries to show that in the pursuit of creating a perfect life with machines and AI, we have actually lost our own soul in the process. And it’s up to the machines that we created to save the only nature that could sustain our life. How appropriately ironic.
This is where the short film shines. Its artstyle is grim with a balance of realism and fantasy. The environments are akin to the game Limbo. There are lots of uses of silhouette and shadows with misty background and cloudy sky. For textures, they are done in a more realistic manner, especially the skin of the people. They are rendered as frozen in rock, and those rock textures are made quite realistic to make it more impactful.
“the quality is pretty high for a short film created by a crew of 5 people.”
As for the animation, it’s good and smooth. Although only the robot is moving throughout the film, it is animated smoothly, unlike some amateur 3D animated films like in this one. The camera is also animated brilliantly with its movement and the environmental hazard is rendered pretty decently. Overall, the quality is pretty high for a short film created by 5 people.
The robot is technically the only character present in the whole film. It at first is shown to be like a monster that is terrorising the desolated city. I feel like it’s akin to the scene in the Godzilla film. What I like is how it’s introduced in a slow and non-in your face manner. The film only shows its movement from a far angle or from an angle that blocks us to see its whole being.
It’s only until the middle portion of the film that we are shown that it is actually the protector of nature, and indirectly of humanity. It’s really interesting to see a giant robot, who is normally stereotyped to be destructive, is trying to protect whatever left of nature.
One last character, or should I say ‘characters’, are the humans themselves. The film reminds us of our lifestyle that is destroying the earth…and the war that kills all of us. Near the end of the film, a nuclear explosion is seen, signifying to us that perhaps human will continue to destroy regardless of his own safety. Perhaps this could be a lesson for the humanity before it’s too late.
The narrator is great at delivering her lines. Her tone of voice matches the grimness of the artstyle. Her words are articulated clearly and is also quite impactful. I can feel some anger and sadness from certain parts of her lines, and I think she is similar to the narrator in the Dark Souls series.
The soundtrack and SFX are just fantastic. Both of them raise the quality of this short film to that of a semi-professional quality. Each movement, ambience sounds and foleys are paired with appropriately powerful SFXs that raises the tension, mystery and emotion. I must say it’s been a while since I watched any short films that put as much attention in the sound department!