While the length of Attack of the Cyber Octopuses muddles the story and scope, the visual style combined with 80’s practical effects make it a must see for fans of 80’s action, sci-fi films.
Neo-Berlin, 2079. A dark city held by mega corporations where the only way to enjoy life is by connecting to cyberspace. A team of detectives are investigating a new menace: an army of cyber octopuses that are terrorizing the government.
Visual Style, Effects, and Props – This is where Attack of the Cyber Octopuses shines. Everything was realized with practical effects. That means they shot in actual locations, used miniatures to realize some of the larger set pieces, and even created puppets for the cyber octopuses. And even though it was made on a shoestring budget funded by kickstarter, the effects look about as good as other 80’s sci-fi movies like Blade Runner. There are moments where you could tell they were limited in budget, but that adds to the fun of the project. I was fun to see a movie done in this style today, but with similar techniques as before.
The Music – Synthesizers abound in the background of the film and it’s absolutely perfect! Music sometimes goes unnoticed by viewers, but when a project is purposefully making references to a past film style, the music is often the most important part. Luckily, it does it well.
Desire to See More – Good short films always make me feel conflicted. On one hand I’m happy that the film was made and the director and others get the attention they deserve. However, on the other hand, I wish they could be longer. This give the director, writers, and actors more time to develop characters and storyline. It helps fill in holes and add connective tissue to the story.
Dialog and Accents – Now… this is a weird one because honestly it’s something that potentially hurts the film, but I choose to look at it in a positive light. The director, cast, and crew are all from Europe. While they try their best to speak English (which they mostly can) it ends up making it a little hard to understand. And it wasn’t only their accents, it was even the syntax of the sentences. Sometimes words are missed and other times the word used isn’t the best choice. It just made for semi-clunky dialog. Now, once I came to a decision that maybe this is how people of the future speak, I was able to look past it. But the first few minutes of needing to adjust was definitely challenging. I would have much rather seen this film with subtitles than having to struggle listening to what they were saying.
Muddled Plot – I’d be lying if I said knew what was going on in Attack of the Cyber Octopuses. I won’t give away the plot, but the story seems to jump quickly between story beats. It goes from everything being relatively normal, to cyber octopuses, virtual reality, talking to the mayor, to encountering the villain really quickly and without much connection. The characters would suddenly be in a new scene and I had no idea why they decided to go there. Part of that could simply be the time constraint of a short film and my not understanding (possibly from missing dialog), but I felt I was really trying to follow and just couldn’t get it.
While Attack of the Cyber Octopuses has it’s flaws, it was a joy to watch. Especially if you are fan of 80’s sci-fi films. But honestly, the thing that makes Attack of the Cyber Octopuses a must see is the chance to be inspire by the time, energy, and love that was put into the visual artistry.
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