29 August 2015 | bob the moo
A depressingly basic "proof of concept"
This short film has hundreds of thousands of views on Vimeo at the moment, all in a very short space of time. I do watch a lot of short films, with Vimeo and associated channels being my regular place – so I have seen my fair share of proof-of-concept films. Some of these are amazing technically; others have great ideas even if the need for resources is clear, and some can do both. The Art of Human Salvage seems to be one that doesn't really manage to do either particularly well, with the ideas and the technical side fairly limited. The ambition of the piece is clear in the casting, and the success of the film is showing in the number of viewers already, however for me it is a touch depressing – perhaps because of how many shorts I watch.
If you really look around, you will see how many honestly talented and hard-working people are doing brilliant short film work. For some of them it leads to great successes but it is always sobering to see great work having fewer views than a Championship football club would get on a midweek pre-season friendly. So, no offence to Tillman and his team (who are also hard-working and talented) but to see a film like this doing such great business is a touch depressing. This is not to begrudge other films success, but in this situation Art of Human Salvage is not just impressive. The ideas are poorly formed throughout, and the plot that one could envisage playing out as a tired "man bonding with boy while on run" thing. The design is equally not as impressive as it thinks it is – some of these sci-fi trailers have amazing aesthetics, but in this case not too much. There are some nice touches (the masks) and some bits of easy steam-punk, but generally it doesn't amaze with the design in terms of the extent of it, or the things we do see.
There have been a few average sci-fi trailer shorts picked up recently, so good luck to this one – I bear it no ill-will particularly. It is not much good though, and I am not sure what to think when I see hundreds of thousands of views, and pages and pages of glowing comments gushing over what they saw. Ignore the hype, this is an average affair despite its ambition.