I haven’t played a videogame on a regular basis since the original Legend of Zelda on the original Nintendo Entertainment System—anything with more than two buttons and four possible directions is far beyond the limits of my physical dexterity. As a result, I’ve never played Half-Life or the follow up, Half-Life 2, but that sequel apparently features a pretty damn cool weapon, a gravity gun that allows you to pick up and throw heavy objects. While this sounds like an integral part of game play, you don’t need to have direct experience with this particular first person shooter in order to enjoy this short new film that explores the origins of this fun, inventive weapon.
Clocking in at just under five-minutes in length, this short is part of Geek Week on YouTube. You can see capabilities of the weapon on full display as a young woman named Alyx (Lilian Bowden) picks up a dumpster and throws it at some bad guys. This weapon is probably a lot of fun to play with, in the game or, you know, real life. Apparently it was originally intended for use handling hazardous chemicals and toxic waste so that people wouldn’t have to get too close, but it’s a short leap from that to using it as a weapon.
There’s not much else to this short other than showcasing the gravity gun. In all honesty, they don’t even get into the specifics of the origin of the weapon. This feels like an isolated scene taken out of context from a larger story. You see Alyx and her cohorts running around, getting the gun ready, but the rest of the time is more or less a big action sequence, there’s not a lot of time spent on character other story elements. But that’s also the best part of this video.
You don’t feel like you’re watching a small, independent production. A collective called Corridor Digital is the driving force behind this, and they’ve done a hell of a job visually. From the cinematography, production values, and special effects, this could easily be a scene from something much bigger, from some tent pole Hollywood action film. It’s crazy to me that technology has gotten to that point, where enterprising young filmmakers can get results like this on their own. That scene when Alyx and the bad guy are fighting upside down on the bottom of the overpass looks fantastic. The green screen work and the wire stunts blend pretty seamlessly with the footage and the effects.