- Director: Liam Murphy
- Time: 5:32
- Notes: For more info, visit noafilm.org.
“Award winning graduation film NO-A completed at the Savannah College of Art and Design by a core team of 8 students.
The world is a desolate, unforgiving place in this action sci-fi with a surprising amount of heart. We follow NO-A (Noah), as he attempts to rescue Aixa, the young woman that created him. In his desperate attempt to save her, he must face an unknown enemy force and fight to keep them both alive. NO-A is the passion project of several visual effects artists from around the world.”
A fantastic short of science fiction, worth the thousands of minutes of work put into just over five.
The story is brilliant in its pacing and presentation, as it leaves a little guesswork by the viewer on the robot’s initial motivations. We get pieces of a larger story, to which we can easily speculate. The intrigue leads to the robot in rescuing its creator, captured and put into some deep sleep for unknown reasons.
What we do know is that this machine is full of heart and love for his master, and little for the soldiers against him. The robot’s characteristics and motions are poetic almost, with determination to the end. The action sequences are exciting but not overdone, as emotional aspects throughout are good and balances. We also see beautiful cinematography, with moments to take in the details and depth of the surroundings.
The content brings me to a favorite trope of science fiction, artificial life. We have much artificial sentience in our robot fiction, yet still not enough exploring the idea. I find often in robot stories, that robots are either good or bad. The idea can be dangerous now, as warned by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates. Yet, with stories like Wall-E, Short Circuit, Chappie, Terminator 2, A.I; we have robots who choose upon a greater good for peace and friendship. However in storytelling, such choices are up to the creators who present them. Results can result in thought-provoking discussion on what it means to be really human, or at least achieve such.
The art and filmmaking of NO-A is superb with sharp attention to details, environments, and motion. The robot’s design is beautiful, as we see the moving parts and working lights of NO-A, with sensible movement and a feeling of weight in every step. Everything to him and around seems practically and necessary in design for a believable story. The musical score and sound effects are a great fit, further enthralling the viewer.
Do I want more from the short time? No, as I think the story is great in its simplicity. The rest of the world is probably uninteresting and boring. However, I would like to see more animated work from director Liam Murphy and his staff. It’s their kind of heartfelt storytelling brought to the top-notch visual effects and sequences, that I would like to see more in modern cinema science fiction.
– Orion T