Shorts as a medium have seen an explosion of “chase” films the last couple of years—they are a very convenient way to show off filmmaker’s cinematic sensibilities without being burdened by the necessities of “characters” or “plot”. Think The Raven, or numerous French student animations. Leave it to a corporation however, the branded content masters Intel, to produce the most ingenious entry yet with this, the aptly named short animation, The Chase.
A sexy woman has something important, and two thugs are determined to take it from her. It is a non-descript setup, but the execution is startlingly conspicuous, as the chase takes place not in some cinematic approximation of the world we know, but instead on a computer’s virtual desktop. In the film’s brief two minutes our heroine leads the goons on an epic circuit through file windows, graphic programs, quicktime video players and video game realities, seamlessly transitioning through various representational modes. It’s relentlessly clever, packing a ton of ideas into a short space of time.
The film was released online in January of 2011, becoming an instant hit. For a brief time in March the film was re-envisioned as an HTML 5 experience that took place on your actual desktop. I caught it then, and while the spirit of the film did not change, it was undeniably cool. Unfortunately, that particular experience is no longer available. You can check out a screen capture of what it looked like on Nexus Productions Vimeo account however.
Intel is responsible for the film, but true credit lies with its creators, the UK-based animation duo Smith & Foulkes. It’s a high-profile commercial gig for them, but they are used to high profiles—last time we saw their work it was for the Oscar-nominated film This Way Up. Working with a good support team through the venerable Nexus Productions, they’ve crafted one of the strongest branded films in memory and secured a lot of buzz for themselves and Intel in both the commercial and animation worlds.