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Film Review: New World Order

In continuation of Alan: The Musical from “Ode to an Inanimate Companion” comes “New World Order” about a girl, Christina’s stuffed lion named Alan who wants to be able to move like a human. Using cutting edge robotics and artificial intelligence, the genius girl affords Alan a new range of abilities. He can stand, walk, and even dance and play.

The entire short is a musical piece sung from Alan’s perspective. Matthieu Eymard delights the audience with his beautiful vibrato and range as he takes us through the journey from Alan’s depression to determination to become something more. The piece is light rock and piano forward with Manu Martin, Frederic Riviere, Jerome Buigues, and Michele Drees making up the band.

The lyrics of the music start off lamentful and piano driven. Alan is in the process of healing after surgery. He only has the hope of his robotic evolution to look forward to. Then the guitar comes in, reinforcing Alan’s hard-rock-like desire to achieve independence. It all accumulates to a chant for Alan, that he will be a hybrid, a new invention for the world to see.

The song leaves an intriguing question for a longer form series -- now that Alan is full of machinery and AI sentience, what will this form of immortality mean for him? Will his life have the same meaning as before? Will he treat other mortals like Christina the same way? The piece shows that there are interesting questions to explore within the concept.

From the creative direction of Susan Lim, Christina Teenz Tan, and animation direction from Samudra Kajal Saika, the 2D animation offers a variety of styles -- all offering a mix of surreal - like climbing a winding piano as if it were a staircase - and the familiar - like sipping lattes at a cafe - in the form of a montage.

As Alan dreams about what movements for him will soon be possible, there are playful images of him breakdancing, or moonwalking like Michael Jackson. There are also more grounded, heartfelt images of him being able to leap around like Christina - no longer carried like a doll but independent. All the yearning reinforces his desire, and makes you excited as a viewer for Alan’s future possibilities.

The sense of hope in the piece also brings a tinge of curiosity. What will happen next to Alan, and what will he now be like - seemingly immortal and invincible?


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