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Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to spend the next 12 minutes of your life watching robots and humans duke it out for the future of the world in this sci-fi short, Tears of Steel. To be honest, the credits start to roll after just about 10 minutes, so that’s even better, even less of a time commitment to screw up your undoubtedly busy schedule (though you know by know you have to stay after the credits). But don’t worry, this is totally worth your time. All 12 minutes of it.
Tears of Steel is a crowd-funded project from the Netherlands that envisions a future overrun by robots. There are definite elements of both Terminator and The Matrix in this film. But wait, there’s also some DNA borrowed from a quirky romance film? How does that work?
The film begins with the dissolution of the relationship between Thom (Vanja Rukavina) and Celia (Denise Rebergen). She loves robotics, he just wants to be “awesome in space.” And Thom is also creeped out by Celia’s robot hand. That plays a big part. We all know that break-ups can be traumatic. They’re slow-healing wounds that leave lingering scars. Celia takes this particular one especially hard. So hard, in fact, that she uses her robotics skills to destroy the world.
Forty years in the future, a small band of survivors, including Thom (now played by Derek de Lint), attempt to stave off destruction long enough to restage that pivotal turning point where Thom doomed humanity. As a crew attempts to convince Celia that Thom is truly sorry, grizzled warriors battle massive mechanical soldiers.
The fun, peculiar concept is augmented by some fantastic visuals. Tears of Steel has a big look and feel, slick effects, and great, unique robot design. The production uses Blender, an open source 3D animation utensil, to great ends.