Human: Playing God (2014) – By josh Samford

Back in 2012, I reviewed a project called Desert Earth here on Rogue Cinema(http://roguecinema.com/article3168.html). To briefly summarize the review, I walked away with a favorable opinion of both the film as well as the filmmaker behind it: Duncan Farnden-Marks. He’s an interesting artist who does things his own way. Producing animated scifi stories that are made via a one-man operation, his work features original artwork, compiled voice acting from colleagues, and tons of love. While watching his work, having done a little video editing myself in the past, I can only imagine the time and patience that must go into a single minute of this footage. While Desert Earth was a motion comic, similar to what DC has done in recent years (as seen in their motion comic for Watchmen), it seems that this filmmaker is intent on broadening his abilities. This is evident with Human: Playing God, a project set within the same world as Desert Earth, but which is animated in full 3D.

The plot does indeed set us back into the dystopian future known as Desert Earth, and showcases a more advanced future. We get a look at a conglomerate responsible for JemGen5, a robotic woman that is thought to be far more advanced than anything else that the world has ever seen. We find that one of the employees involved in the creation of Jem is being fired and ostracized from the company as a way for others to take credit for his work. Unknown to them, the creator of this robot had imprinted his DNA into the robot, and this leaves the cyborg with a built in thirst for revenge after being awoken.

I love that Duncan Farnden-Marks has not only done his best to upgrade his animating skills, in a way that shows him making projects that rival what full teams have been able to do in the past, but he also continues to further evolve an entire world of stories that are entirely his own creation. The further into the rabbit hole he gets with this mythos, the more intriguing it becomes. Indeed, expansive, ambitious, and sprawling mythos are a staple of great works of science fiction – and it seems that Duncan intends to do his own thing within this world. Human: Playing God runs about 10 minutes and acts as a prequel to Desert Earth, and also sets up his next project: The Agent, and the short also gives a brief look at another project called Destiny of Worlds that the director has worked on within the past.

Human: Playing God is a showcase for great things to come. Duncan Farnden-Marks’ skills at 3D are pretty spectacular so far. While some of the movements could stand to be a little quicker in order to better relate to reality, it might be my only complaint. I am sure that as things move forward, Duncan Farnden-Marks’ skills will grow extraordinarily, as they already have. Definitely give this short a look and do some reading up on the project over at the official website: http://www.darkprojectworks.com/human/playing-god-movie