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Calamity Bot short film review


Written and Directed by: #ChasHarrington

Film review by: Brian Penn


The increasing sophistication of technology brings robots to the forefront of our lives more than ever. They build cars, perform operations and fly planes; a Japanese hotel is reputedly staffed by robots. But have you ever tried building your own robot in a suburban semi? That seems to be premise in Calamity Bot when Creator (Alex Marchi) finds that eureka moment. His robot (Jason Farries and Roy Tsang) has flickered into life with green blinking eyes. The robot (or Robo to his friends) has the body of a Judge Dredd character and a 1970s portable black and white TV for his head.

Creator excitedly sets a series of tasks for Robo with the expectation of a proud parent. However, it doesn’t go entirely to plan as a robot with limited drive capacity goes mad in the kitchen and bathroom. But Robo has sufficient programming to notice the big wide world outside. He dreams of discovering this new environment but he first needs to please his creator; fresh out of the workshop is he really up to the challenge?

There are parallels with Frankenstein’s monster, but this particular creation is infinitely more likeable with its chaotic oh shucks approach to life. A black screen shudders with green lettering to indicate the test number, but you kind of sense what might be coming next. It’s also strange how Robo has intellect to query the outside world but struggles to make a cup of tea. I guess that’s always the way when you’re building a robot, you always forget something. Calamity Bot is a truly great title for a film with real potential. Alas it presents few surprises but is nicely executed with more than a hint of sardonic wit.


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