The problem with robots is that they can sometimes take you a little too literally.
Oscar nominated short film maker and commercial director Ruairi Robinson’s new film, Blinky, provides a chilling look at the danger we put ourselves and our families in when we invite adorable robot buddies into our homes. Sure, they seem harmless enough, but they’re just one wrong word away from a killing spree. Of course, in this case it was actually several wrong words, which may have included a command to murder everyone.
The film stars Max Records, who also appeared in Where the Wild Things Are, as Andy Neville, who receives a Blinky robot for Christmas. At first, Andy can barely contain his joy, but before long the novelty wears off and Andy starts to look longingly at more advanced robots. To make matters worse, Andy’s parents are arguing a lot, and Blinky -who really just wants to play and be friends – has to bear the brunt of Andy’s frustrations.
One rainy afternoon, Andy gives Blinky a set of contradictory commands that he can’t possibly follow all at once. The commands cause him to crash, and Andy has to reboot him. Even after the reboot however, he remembers two commands: The first is hide and seek countdown, which started at one million, that Andy used to keep him busy for a long time, and the other is Andy’s suggestion that he should kill people. Blinky starts to act strangely, and once the countdown is done – presumably days, weeks, or even months, later – Blinky gets to work on command two.
The film was put together using live action filming, motion capture and computer imagery. It’s remarkably well done and Blinky looks like the sort of consumer robot that someone might actually build. There’s a lot of little touches that really help the world come alive as well, like the news report about combat robots, or the news report about a recall of Blinky models that Andy ignores with stunningly bad timing. If you’ve got fifteen minutes to spare and a fondness for adorable, but murderous, robots, it’s well worth a watch.