Chaplin, Astaire and... Gumdrop!

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

Kerry Conran and Stephen LawesGumdrop

In Gumdrop, a young actress charms her way through a screen-test. The twist? She’s a CGI robot vacuum cleaner

 When we think of Sci-Fi shorts nowadays, we think of great CGI, of course, but also dark, dystopian tales of evil robots, black market body modification, and at least one impending apocalypse per ten minutes.

It’s time to lighten things up a bit. Meet Gumdrop, the brainchild of Kerry Conran and Stephen Lawes, the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow director and VFX specialist, respectively. They bring us a simple story about Gumdrop, a budding starlet from Bulgaria via London, who just happens to be a robot vacuum cleaner.

Classic scenes

Conran and Lawes have a few tricks up their sleeves, including compositing Gumdrop into classic scenes with Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire. But, we’ve seen such trickery before. Some of us even get paid to do it. Technologically, there’s nothing revolutionary, no hidden process, nothing that hasn’t been done before.

So, why should you care? Because it’s important to remind ourselves that Sci-Fi doesn’t have to be all doom-and-gloom. You can play, mix-and-match genres, and make something...fun. And Gumdrop is definitely that, due to the vocal performance of Venti Hristova as the titular robot (think a metallic Juno), and a carefree visual style that makes rules just to break them.

 

Tags: Production

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