Neil Blomkamp’s ‘Anthem’ short ‘Conviction’ left us craving a movie


Neil Blomkamp’s Anthem short ‘Conviction’ gives us a proper look at how a high-quality game movie could look if it were to be made.

When you write about games, you have a hard time looking at the idea of a video game inspired movie and keeping the idea of “well, this could possibly work”, at the back of your head. We’ve seen how wrong they can go over the years. Just look at Uwe Bolls take on Far Cry or Paul W.S. Anderon’s take on Resident Evil. They weren’t good and they strayed away from the very foundations that they were founded upon.

Sure, we can give (enter Agent Smith voice here) Mr. Anderson some credit, he followed the idea of how the infection started in the Arklay Mountains, but what he didn’t do, well, he didn’t follow it very well. The first movie was semi-decent, the sequel, a slightly better attempt, but after that – it all went downhill from there.

Same could be said about Uwe Boll’s take on the critically-acclaimed Far Cry series. Wait, scratch that, that movie was so bad I actually died a little bit inside after I watched it. But, now, here we are, 2019 and video game movies have done little to impress us. Many of us are now bracing for impact when the Monster Hunter movie lands and even more-so for when The Witcher debuts on Netflix later this year.


Enter Neil Blomkamp and Oats Studios stage left

But out of nowhere comes something magical, a three-minute and fourty-five second live-action trailer that serves as a prequel to the BioWare developed game Anthem. Directed District 9 and Chappie director Neil Blomkamp – Conviction – the latest short from his production company by the name of Oats Studio that just happens to be a prequel to the upcoming BioWare title.

My biggest concern about a short, even if it’s a teaser for an upcoming game, is whether or not it could actually work. After all, the world of Anthem is going to be massive. Its lore is going to be even bigger. All it would take to mess any of that up is one small thing to mess up that continuity and make everything we’re about to experience completely irrelevant or out of order.

But most importantly, making the world itself actually work is an even bigger task. It’s a special kind of world with tons of minute details that BioWare is renowned for. Aesthetically, I wasn’t expecting something of this sort to actually work, even in a live-action teaser short and cause me to become even more curious about the world of Anthem than ever before. Before we go further, you really need to watch the live-action teaser down below.

It’s absolutely filled to the brim with details from the game itself and they would work in a movie

Now, details are extremely important in shorts – rather, a rather long trailer – and some of them can make, break, or exceed expectations. For Neil Blomkamp and Oat Studios, doing a teaser/short like this one, probably wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Anthem is filled with detail. It’s a world that feels natural; like a living and breathing creature.

The inhabitants of Fort Tarsis, the strange alien creatures in the wilds outside the walls, and even the threats from outside and within – they all feel natural and something we truly want to see and know more about. With the power of CGI, Neil Blomkamp’s approach to graphics, animation, and production quality – we’re pretty sure that Anthem and his studio would be a match made in filmmaking heaven.

The pacing, the action, and even the detail to the overall visual presentation is not something we’ve seen before in live-action shorts leading up to the release of a game. We get our first look at a short that takes place years, upon years, before the game even begins. But we also get a look at just how the Javelin’s and Freelancers would actually work in a world such as Anthem.

One of the most interesting pieces is just how well thought out the short actually is. The narrative itself giving us a look at just how dangerous the world actually is. Take, for example, the fact they show the power of Anthem itself. You get to see just how far the dangerous faction The Dominion will go to get what they want – including killing anyone that gets in their way.

You learn about how humanity served a faction, species, or something otherworldly called the Urath. Along with these small narrative pieces, we also get a glimpse into various customizations that will be available in the full release of the game (available today for EA Access members). The customizations differentiate between paint jobs, decals, lighting effects, and even different variants that will be available for unlocking when the game releases.

It even gave us a look at an Anthem event as our mysterious lady dives down into a water-filled mountain, slowly reaching out as the facepiece for the Interceptor Javelin draws back from her face, reaching out to touch it as she describes just what the Anthem is actually capable of.

Our only question? Why didn’t he just do a prolonged short, one that runs 15-20 minutes and answer everything that unfolded right before us? Why not tell us who this mysterious woman is? Why does The Dominion want her as bad as they do? Regardless, if given the green light and EA lets Oat Studios work in collaboration, there’s tons of potential from the Chappie director.


Don’t expect an Anthem movie to happen, unless EA, BioWare, and Blomkamp see the potential is there

The only downside to this short? It’s just a teaser. It’s a live-action teaser that touches on events that we’ll get to see unfold before us in a week from today. We’ll likely get answers about who the Urath were, why The Dominion wants to control Anthem itself, and why and who this mysterious lady actually is.

While much of the content within the graphics, art direction, and attention to detail is absolutely fantastic, it can’t help us wonder if a full-blown Anthem film could actually pick up where this short itself left off and give us a bigger look into the events unfolding before us.

Regardless, we’ve been unable to stop watching this short and now we’ve got an itch to dive right on into Anthem when it launches for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on Feb. 22, 2019. Stay tuned as we have reached out to EA about reviewing the game.

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

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