6 November 2010


It has been said that all the stories have been told and there are only different ways of telling them to be explored.  This said, for science fiction fans the premise and many of the elements of Nora will be very - perhaps overly - familiar.  In the far future robots have become sentient.  Some, through whatever possibly evolutionary process have developed their own feelings - and these robots are then assigned special missions that recognise their capacity to feel.

This is the case with our Nora.  She is assigned to explore a new planet as a potential home for humanity in the future.  However, all is not as it seems.  As such the plot is a familiar one, but do not be contemptible too soon.  The creator of the animated film, Amy Engles, has created something quite special, quite different here.  I love the design of the robots, especially at the point where Nora recharges her batteries through solar power - quite different.

The concept for Nora was devised by Engles who had sketched her several years before the project finally got its feet.  She then gave her sketches to the comic book artist Tiernan Trevillian and the concept artist Dave Derby.  The result is the exquisite creation that we see in the film.  She is a combination of human grace and inhuman, mechanical power and is visually amazing to look at - in fact it is the time and effort obvioulsy taken in terms of character design that really is at the heart of the animation.

There are a number of nods in the direction of some science fiction movies, including AI and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  However, the film stands very much on its own two feet.  It is a story about tenacity and perseverance as well as the unforeseen consquences that alienation of a group of individuals can have - as well as being, above all, about hope.  Nora is an animated short film that will reverb in my memory for quite a while.