Doog Lord's entry in the Plopilpy Murder Showcase back in April showed signs of promise, but overall was not particularly remarkable. In the four months between the release of that contest and the release of the Sci-Fi Competition, he has clearly improved considerably, as evidenced by The Day the World Turned to Broken Glass, a futuristic yarn which stands as one of the most imaginative releases I've seen in quite a while.

One of the more atmospherically interesting movies to be released in recent years, The Day the World Turned to Broken Glass tells the story of a man's personality being put into the body of a robot, which seems to be in the process of being bred to lead a faction in an apocalyptic war, possibly as a desperate last resort. I use terms like "seems to" and "possibly" because the plot is somewhat difficult to decipher. However, in a sci-fi movie that elevates bathing in atmosphere over traditional storytelling, this is not a big problem (unless your name is Dustin Guest, apparently). The story is set to a well selected song, which compliments the playful, yet slightly somber tone of the movie.

The scenery is impressive, especially in the virtual reality parts, during which the prominent use of v3dmm mods succeeds in giving those scenes a distinct, yet understated look. The colorful computer landscape also manages to contrast well with the drab grey of the science labs. On the subject of the lab scenes, they are well built, but sometimes rely on flat, straight shots that don't feel particularly creative. This isn't a problem in the beginning; if anything it serves to emphasize the dull, routine nature of the protagonist's existence, but later on during the escape - the period of the movie where the direction should be the most captivating - it can be a little underwhelming to see several very flat, copy and pasted shots of the robot running up different floors of the building. However, other than this (and a particularly low effort shot of the robot on a blank white background crossing an out of place looking wooden bridge while a helicopter shoots at him) the animation is skillfully done and features some creative and memorable moments, like when the different backgrounds are being projected behind the human version of the robot (the guy himself looked great too).

I wasn't a big fan of the humor, which mostly took the form of background gags and signs that the robot passes on his escape route. However, they were generally pretty minimal and unimposing, which diminished any annoyance I may have had with them. Also, the Apple theme was an element of the movie that I didn't really understand, unless it's just that Apple is a big and powerful company that we have to keep an eye on, in which case, word.

The Day the World Turned to Broken Glass is a major step forward for Doog Lord, and has firmly established him as the best filmmaker of the new group of directors that have appeared in the last year. I'm glad that this won the film fest and I look forward to seeing what Doog plans to make next.


Old Rivers