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Watch This Sweet Short Film About an Unemployed Special Effect

Phil pouring one out for the past.
Phil pouring one out for the past.
Image: Michael Shanks (Screencap via YouTube)

Practical effects used to be the only way of doing things. If you wanted a cool image on screen, you had to build it and figure out how to film it. Now, computers make that work, well, not easier, but different. If you were an old special effect, it would be a rough adjustment.

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That’s the premise of “Rebooted,” a gorgeous and sad short film by director Michael Shanks (no relation to the Stargate guy, I don’t think), featuring fabulous stop-motion animation by Samuel Lewis. It imagines a world where all those old special effects are alive, a small army of movie monsters and sprites and stop-motion creations now largely out of work in the age of CG-created fight scenes and movie sets. In particular, the film follows Phil, a fearsome skeleton warrior of films past who’s now, well, a sad lonely skeleton man facing being left out of the reboot of his own film.

Striking tones from melancholy to wistful to madcap goofy, “Rebooted” is a remarkable little story, told without any dialogue at all. Shanks frames the scenes elegantly, and the animation work behind Phil is expressive and more than enough to tether the action.

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Definitely check this one out.


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

Thank you for this! Considering the times we are in, I laughed and was saddened by this. So many feelings and so many ways this little film touched me.