Imagine awakening one day to discover that you are not human. That you can memorize entire books word for word but not recall the day before. Imagine discovering that everything you have ever known and every memory that you have is a lie. What would you do? This is the story of Emma and what she did...
Written By: Stephen Herman
Directed By: Stephen Herman
So I sat down and buckled in to watch Stephen Herman's short film E.M.M.A with conflicting expectations of what I was about to witness. Sometimes, you just don't know what to expect from short films. Everything about it seemed to fit in place and I had no real reason to feel apprehensive. When it was all over and the credits began to roll I just watched the screen for about a minute as everything sunk in. I actually really enjoyed it! If I could make a suggestion to the E.M.M.A team it would be to take the E.M.M.A idea and write up a feature film.
When reading the film info you get the feeling that you've been here before. It's true. You have. Flashing some decent A.I. into a machine has been the stuff of Sci-Fi forever it seems. Images of iRobot or even Star Trek may leap into your mind and you wouldn't be far off. Let's face it though. The beauty of ideas is that they can be tailored to create your own world populated by your own characters. In this respect E.M.M.A excels. The short was smartly written and well executed creating a rather scary place to live where the human condition is replicated so well... that it has to be dialed down a notch. One has to ask how flawed we are as a species, that when emulated well creates problems. Kind of a Catch 22 from an engineering standpoint. My favorite part of the film was the rather cool, twist(ed) ending. Although not totally a shock, it was veiled just enough to make it work. Not quite what you were thinking. I'll leave it at that so you can enjoy it yourself.
On the technical side E.M.M.A is well done. Nothing major that induces the "WOW" factor but edited nicely with a decent and almost glitch free audio track. Nice shots and a good color style push this short well past mediocre territory. Love the beach backdrop that comes into play near the end. The cast plays their respective parts pretty well and I was never taken out of E.M.M.A's world due to bad acting. That's a good thing! I should add that I was never brought right in either. My biggest complaint was the written lines of E.M.M.A herself. The lack of contractions a-la "Data" from Star Trek drove me nuts at times! I understand that it was to force home the fact she was a machine, but at times it sounded a little clunky and sent my mind of to the final frontier. You would think that even a series 1 was good enough to function... yet not smart enough to use a contraction!
In the end, E.M.M.A is a totally enjoyable short film well worth some attention. Good pacing, good acting and a cool ending. Robots, labs and a cool beach at the end. What's not to like! Take some time and get lost in Stephen Herman's world for a quarter hour. Time well spend as the saying goes.
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