You may get a Terminator vibe from Ruin, a new short film from indie animation studio Oddball Animation. But don’t worry — this is anything but a rip-off. It’s one of the coolest animated films I’ve ever seen.
The photo-realistic images depicting a metropolis that nature has reclaimed, seen at the beginning of the short, nearly had me fooled into thinking that this might be live action photography of some destroyed city I’d never heard about. But it’s not long before you realize that this is no modern city; this is someplace in the distant future.
When our mysterious, motorcycle-riding, hacker protagonist is confronted with an airborne enemy (that was obviously inspired by Terminator‘s Hunter-Killer drones), he takes off on his bike, riding through the old city streets. From there, the chase enters an area that looks for all the world like the aqueduct from Terminator 2, if the white concrete canyon was grown-over with green ivy. But just when you think you’ve got this thing pegged… well, just wait until you see the ingenious tunnel sequence.
I want to know more about Ruin. Who is this motorcycle-riding protagonist? Is he actually the story’s hero, as the film’s framing and P.O.V. suggest? What happened to the world he inhabits? Was anyone driving that flying vehicle, or was it an AI-piloted drone? And what was on that data card thing that was worth risking his life to acquire?
Oddball Animation isn’t saying much about the film, except to discuss the technology and techniques used in bringing it to life, over on their website. The one thing that can be gleaned is that this thing I keep calling a short film is only a small part of Oddball’s planned production. Is it going to be a full-length feature film? Who knows? But I appreciate Oddball’s transparency in letting viewers in on the process — even if they’re keeping the story frustratingly cryptic.