Review: 10-34 by Dustin GuestReviewer
I never would have guessed that the year 2020 - a dozen years after the effective collapse of the moviemaking side of the 3dmm community - would bring us a film that even approached the standard set by the best animated movies the community produced at its peak, and certainly not one that managed to push that standard. Nonetheless, despite all that is sensical, it is the third decade of the twentieth century, and Dustin Guest has released a movie that pushes the bar so high, it's in the god damn exosphere.

10-34 follows an intense chase between a bank robbery getaway driver and the determined police officer who pursues him. Starting as a high-speed race through the streets of New York City, the action then moves to a foot chase through various buildings. The story is fairly unremarkable, but the execution is anything but. Dustin has assembled one of the most impressive feats in the 25-year history of 3D Movie Maker, both in terms of animation and tone. As our fiercely resolute police protagonist chases the equally resolute criminal, the two of them move through one masterfully animated set piece after another. I particularly enjoyed the motorcycle race through central park, which gave some color to a movie that is otherwise dominated by grey.

Dustin is known in the community for his ambitious, large-scale models - in particular, detailed cars and skyscrapers. 10-34 showcases all of these. However, what equally impressed me were the instances of small, subtler tricks that Dustin employed. The antagonist's hair blowing in the wind while he rides the motorcycle in the previously mentioned scene was a brilliant touch, and the smoke rising from the crashed ambulance was one of the best efforts I've seen in recreating smoke in 3dmm, which is no easy task.

The use of character models is top notch. It's amazing what actor fonts can do to make actor animations stand out. With years of being accustomed to the same small batch of default actions, it really is refreshing to see new movements for characters. Something as minor as the cop aiming his gun with one arm, which moves completely autonomously to the rest of his body, comes off as crisp and original (as opposed to the familiar freezing of a character in the middle of the karate kick or greet animation). Dustin also has a good sense of how to retexture characters in a way that manages to make them look unique, but still fit in with the general style of 3D Movie Maker.

The cinematic elements of the movie are supremely well-executed. Dustin's reputation as a skilled animator is known throughout the community, so I was surprised to find that my favorite element of the movie had little to do with animation. Scenes like the search through the subway, where the movie quiets down and yet manages to be far more nail-biting than the action sequences, are where 10-34 really shines.

This brings me to the high point of the movie: the fight scene at the end. After thousands of bullet casings have littered the streets of New York, it is the simple, brutal nature of the final battle that truly elevates 10-34 into the highest pantheon of 3dmm movies. The main cop, his female partner, and the robber, are bashed and maimed in genuinely gruesome ways until we are ultimately left with the two barely mobile men, using every ounce of their nearly non-existent strength in the service of killing the other. As the madness and the music come to a climax, the cop prevails. In the movie's final and most powerful scene, the battered and beleaguered officer holds his female companion, herself injured, in a bittersweet moment that communicates a feeling which can only be described as complete and utter exhaustion.

Pointing out faults in this movie gives one an automatic sense of feeling overly nitpicky. Nevertheless, there are a couple of minor imperfections. There is a green tinge that dominates some of the custom textures, most notably on the masked bank robbers and the SWAT team members. It is very noticeable in the early scenes, but once you get caught up in the action, the issue becomes increasingly minor. I also wasn't sure how I felt about seeing default actors. Dustin's models are so impressive and visually unique that you feel briefly confused when Hiro waddles his fat ass into the movie. I remember chuckling the first time I watched 10-34 when Augustin makes an early appearance in a passing cab. I also wasn't crazy about the two-dimensional crowd that the police officer encounters after emerging from the subway entrance. The bouncing cardboard cutout people didn't mesh well with the visual style of the movie, and felt like a solution below what Dustin is capable of.

If every member of the community were asked to make their 3dmm Mount Rushmore - that is, to select the four most talented and accomplished directors in the history of the community - there would probably be some general agreement as to who belongs in the quartet. Aaron Haynes would certainly be a popular pick. Dominator Dan would surely be selected by many. Gorosaurus would probably be chosen by a number of people. I believe that 10-34, with it's dazzling visuals and exhaustive use of mods, has triumphantly propelled Dustin Guest onto the Mount Rushmore of 3dmm directors. If Sgt. Steve is the greatest 3dmm comedy, and Vlarion is the greatest 3dmm fantasy, then 10-34 may just be the greatest 3dmm action movie. Seriously, Dragon in America can fuck off.

Old Rivers