Whoa… this was actually quite interesting. Quite interesting indeed. It’s most definitely the best of the three films I saw so far. I’m impressed.
The art this time looks totally different once more. It seems like the overall picture had to endure a filter which darkened all of the colours, making it a grey world. Not quite like Matriculated, though. The backgrounds are a bit more simple than before. The faces of the characters aren’t pointy like in Matriculated, though neither as round as in Kid’s Story. It’s more like they’ve turned square. The animation is a combination of the smoothness in Marticulated and the distorted anatomy of Kid’s Story. The art remains fluid and crisp at all times, though.
The story’s another awakening. In Matriculated, an enemy machine got converted to join the human’s side by own will. In Kid’s Story, Neo sends messages to a kid, who awakens afterwards after seeing the truth. This time, we’ve got a case in which the main character awakens on his own strength. In mere eight minutes, the creators managed to deliver something extremely fascinating.
We see an athlete, getting for the world championships 100 metres while a narrator voice explains the background of the story. The runners stand ready, and the start shot is given. We then see a flashback, in which the same guy seems to have made the newspapers in breaking the world record in the preliminaries of the same contest. He managed to get right under 9 seconds (8.99 seconds, to be exact). However, gossip about him using dope are circulating around. Dan, the main character, claims that these are untrue in a phone call to his father.
Meanwhile, Dan lifts off. What follows is some scenes of him, running in slow-motion. This looked kind of creepy. Then, another flashback. This time with his coach. It seems that Dan has worked too much, causing his muscles to be at the limit of bursting. When this happens, his athlete-career is over. The coach is keen on stopping Dan, though Dan wants to run, no matter what. It seems that he wants a final chance to prove everyone wrong who’s been claiming that Dan’s old record was impossible to beat. The coach then abandons him. Or so it seems.
Back to the race, Dan begins to look more creepy by the minute as the animation keeps getting more and more distorted. We then see a journalist, looking at him. Another flashback: the night before the race. The journalist meets up with him, in an attempt for an interview. Dan claims that it releases you from your world. That you become totally free.
Back to the race, Dan’s leg is beginning to show signs that it can’t take much more. This is expressed quite graphically. While gross in one viewpoint, it did add up to the intensity of the scene at another viewpoint. Then, one of his legs gives up, and the muscles inside of it break, causing quite a graphical shock. He however, continues to run, even though his leg has given up. He actually continues running, and surpasses every other runner. This shows signs that he’s about to awaken.
Meanwhile, the men in suits have arrived yet again. They have to stop him from awakening at all costs, and some of the nearby runners also reveal to be men in suits, attempting to stop him. This however, fails. This is even more motivation for the guy to reach the finish line. In the end, right before he reaches it, he awakens in his cell. A robot sees this, and forcefully puts him back to sleep.
Back to the race, Dan crosses the finish line, falls and crashes. He managed to break the world record: 8.72 seconds. A quick shot of the matrix shows him fainting. We then switch to the hospital, in which Dan is in a wheelchair, being pushed by a nurse. He’s holding a couple of walnuts, though his face shows that he’s lost the motivation for everything.
Then, we hear the men in suits evaluate Dan’s case, as they see him in his wheelchair. It’s an interesting case, though they reckon it’s nothing to be concerned about. He’ll live in his shell for the rest of his life, not doing anything. His memory has been erased and he’s got quite a souvenir left from it, a world record nobody will be able to beat.
Dan then surprises everyone when he suddenly utters the word “free”. He then stands up, continuing to utter the word “free”. The walnuts he dropped begin to move on their own. Dan attempts to float a bit, until he collapses and the film ends.
It’s quite shocking that World Record features a guy, being treated in a way like this. His body and mind get destroyed throughout this film, though I think that that’s the reason it works. Especially when, after all the hardships his mind endured by both the machines as the men in suits, he still continues remembering what he saw. This just shows how complex a human mind is. When humans are ignorant, they’re easy to control. Though something goes wrong in this when they’ve set their minds to something. Especially the stubborn people. I guess that it isn’t easy to just forget “the truth” after you saw it with your own eyes.
I also liked the shortness of this movie. Both Kid’s Story as Matriculated dragged on a bit. World Record, however, felt like it had fully utilised every second of it. This makes Dan even more intriguing. We know almost nothing about him. Right now, I feel like I want to know more about him. And that’s actually in a good way. I think that, because the creators decided to focus on this case, and this case alone that it worked so well.
The audio-department also was a major plus. Matriculated did this below average. I can’t even remember whether they actually had sounds at this point. Kid’s Story featured interesting background music, especially during the chase. It contributed to the scenes, though it wasn’t anything special. World Record, however, made excellent use of the available background tunes. Changing from fast-beat techno for the race itself to psychedelic, apocalyptic tunes for the moments at which Dan saw the truth, they fitted perfectly.
The only point at which World Record looked clearly inferior to the other two? The background art. Especially Kid’s Story features high-quality background art, which are quite stunning to see. Matriculated also played with this in an interesting way. Not to mention the psychedelic surroundings. In World Record, however, the backgrounds are kept simple. Very simple.