Happy Friday! Outside the sky is blue and the weather is warm... but I am stuck inside, behind plate-glass, in what you might assume to be air conditioned comfort but really it's like I'm an exhibit in the office Zoo. No wait! Not even that because no one can see me from outside! OK, so some metaphors don't bear close scrutiny. Anyway I needed a break from the pixel mines to inspire me for a weekend of writing! So here I was travelling around cyberspace and pretty much procrastinating if I'm honest, when I came across this amazing gem - Planet Unknown. This short, animated film by Shawn Wang had me captivated from start to finish, which then saw me bawling my eyes out (no spoilers!).
Set at the end of the 21st Century, the story follows 2 rovers sent to a distant planet to see if it is suitable to support life. Once they get there, they have a limited supply of seed boxes, which when deployed test the soil to see if plant-life can grow and survive. I instantly fell in love with the two robots. Especially the interaction and friendship between the two, which is so wonderfully human. Shawn has captured their relationship so beautifully that you can't help but want to take them home and protect them. The story is also perfect to build on, and I really hope to see a sequel - or even a full length movie - following the next adventures of our two brave metal explorers.
Another, perhaps unintentional, concept the film raised for me was the rovers abandonment on the planet. What happens to them when the film ends!! I can't help but worry that as we move forward over this century, and robots and AI become more advanced, that we may create wondrous mechanized beings only to use and abuse them. I know it's often said these metal mickies won't feel things as we humans do, but looking at animations like this I can't help but ask myself, is this just our arrogance, ignorance or just plain selfishness speaking? My husband thinks I'm slightly nuts about this subject, but have we really learned nothing from iRobot?