Short of the Week


In the vein of Sci-Fi VFX shorts like “The Raven” and “Rosa”, Wes Ball creates a thrilling and gorgeous CG chase sequence, sure to draw the attention of Hollywood.

The chase sequence–it’s a cinematic staple. Nothing is quite as primal and intense as one party in hot pursuit of the other. But, just because a film trope is well-traveled, it doesn’t mean that new life can’t be injected into its veins every now and again. Well, in the case of Wes Ball’s animated short, RUIN, “new life” hasn’t just been injected–it’s been pile-driven into the bloodstream with the force of a ‘roided-out sledgehammer followed by a chaser of Red Bull.

The story is simple enough. In a post-apocalyptic future, guy finds something he shouldn’t. Bad guys catch on. Then, it’s off to the races. What results is a chase sequence more thrilling and engaging than any similar set-piece spit out by Hollywood in the last ten years (No, that’s not hyperbole, Mr. Bay). The chase is elegantly choreographed with sweeping camera moves and thrilling angles. And, then there’s the animation itself. Our main character zips through mangled streets and tunnels with stylish grace. The environments are beautifully constructed, rendered with an almost photo-realistic gloss. This is a world fully realized without the slightest form of exposition or dialogue–a story told through the decaying textures on buildings and the rust of the pursuing enemy fliers. In cinema, imagined apocalyptic futures are usually grey, murky, dystopian settings, but here we are treated to vivid blues and greens. The world is saturated in color, suffocated by fecund vines, sweltering heat, and a haze of buzzing insects.

There is no question that RUIN is a polished work of computer generated art, which really isn’t surprising considering its pedigree. The film is put together by OddBall Animation, which was responsible for VFX on last year’s popular music video Eye of the Storm, as well as contributions to Chris Milk’s impressive interactive music video 3 Dreams of Black. Based out of Los Angeles, RUIN is an incredible technical showpiece for the team, everything is firing on all cylinders here, from the camera work, to the character design, as well as the John Williams-esque musical score.

And, really, that’s what RUIN is–a remarkable calling card for a budding animation company. We’ve seen filmmakers like Fede Alvarez, Ricardo de MontreuilJesús Orellana, and most recently, Aaron Sims, break through into Hollywood with visually impressive shorts, and, with over 150,000 Vimeo views in less than 48 hours, I’d say RUIN has successfully drawn itself some attention. Yes, plot may be thin, but when you’re moving at a 90 mile-an-hour clip, story structure suddenly becomes irrelevant. Like all great shorts, RUIN leaves you wanting more.  This feels like the introductory scene to a great film. You hear, that OddBall animation? A feature film. After all, a guy can dream.

Ivan is a filmmaker, video editor, and motion graphic artist from the Washington, DC area. He is an avid movie watcher and podcaster. He’s also quite handsome and charming (at least that's what his Mom says). For more information about Ivan, visit Lucky 9 Studios.
  • Tim Kossow

    Nice work! I was missing a bit of depth through some bits of story, but never the less a great fun to watch.

  • Anonymous

    Man, that was good work.
    It’s kind of difficult to believe those chain-guns would miss anything :)
    No matter, it was fun!

  • Wyrick Thomas

    This needs to be a feature film, 250k+  views on YouTube now.

  • DL

    awesome!  and Cameron Freeway..nice hat tip :)

  • paul hicks

    …very nice work, and we hope to see the continuation.

  • Garygriffith03
  • Liam Walls-Ott

    I love the music at the credits. Reminds me of Jak II.

  • Guest

    Did you draw the attention of Hollywood?

  • Rxonmymind


  • Jade Elizabeth

    brilliant! So much attention to detail

  • Anonymous

    When I saw Oblivion last week it rally reminded me of this short. Maybe Joe Kazinsky took inspiration for the look of the film from this?

  • Pedro

    yes, he is directing a young-adult novel of a (too) dystopian future for fox.

  • Adam Mincher

    Insane, keep up the good work

  • Riku Kyllönen

    The whole chase sequence was ruined with the “rule of cool” that seems to plague animation designers today – a too fast pace and over the top action doesn’t rival witty storyboard design and plausibility. Why have him ride a big street bike offroad when fleeing from a HK terminator rip-off? Street tires on moss and grass, flip jumps and waving and swerving?! And to top it all off, the Yamaha MT-01′s meaty v-twin sound was replaced with a silly blender sound :/
    Kudos for art, animation and design, but shame on you for idiotic Konami-esque action and overall sillyness. Maybe tone down the Fast & Furious next time?

  • Anonymous

    This short is really impressive, technically speaking a great work, I dare say a little masterpiece.
    What I really can’t understand is why people (and Holliwood) ask for a feature from a short like this one. I mean: I can’t see any story here, so why should I watch a feature like this?
    What’s your opinion @ivankander:disqus?