You can now watch the full version of Blinky™, Ruairi Robinson’s short film about the dangers of domestic robots, at Trailer Addict. Ruairi Robinson was nominated for an Oscar in 2002 for his short film “Fifty Percent Grey“, and went on to create quite a buzz online with his live action short “Silent City“.
I thought Blinky™ was decent, though it definitely couldn’t sustain a full-length film. Technically speaking it’s a great demo, used as an excuse to show off the director’s expertise with visual effects. The story focuses on a boy’s relationship with his pet robot during the break-up of his parent’s marriage. You’ll have to venture into spoiler territory (and past the break) to get my full thoughts on it.
Alex, played by Max Records (Where The Wild Things Are), knows what he wants for Christmas: a 4 foot tall humanoid robot named Blinky. Alex is initially overjoyed, but he soon becomes bored of it. Unable to provide any real comfort or support, the robot is revealed for what it really is: a machine incapable of true compassion or friendship. Alex’s anger towards his parents leads him to command the robot to kill his family, and when the robot malfunctions it complies.
Unfortunately, both the script and the acting aren’t very good. We’re never given a scene where the parents sit Alex down and explain they are getting divorced, so we don’t see Alex’s world really fall apart. It would have helped to show that Alex was an unpopular kid at school to further highlight his isolation and dependence on the robot, while also engendering some sympathy from the audience. Instead, we’re given a brief scene where Alex and Blinky are carrying groceries – what’s the point? Well a fancy robot walks by, and that seems to be it: to show off more special effects.
Sure, the attention to detail on the robot and some of the near-future background elements is nice, but it fails as a film. If you’re interested in robots it is probably worth the 12 minute running time, but personally I can think of a dozen ways this could have been better. As a fun aside Blinky looks quite a bit like LG’s robot mascot (both feature bulbous heads and are entirely computer-generated).