By Dave B.
If you’re not familiar with Oats Studios, it’s an independent film studio started by director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, Chappie, et al) that distributes experimental short sci-fi films. Oats Studios: Volume 1 (2018, currently on Amazon Prime) is a science fiction anthology series that features some of these short films and vignettes, primarily focusing on the darker, less optimistic side of the science fiction genre.
Put simply, Oats Studios: Volume 1 is a triumph of artistry, originality, and storytelling. You’re unlikely to find better visual effects in any Hollywood blockbuster. Each short film is self-contained and has a unique story that looks at humans in the most desperate of situations. Some big name actors such as Sigourney Weaver and Dakota Fanning star in these productions and help increase both their quality and mass appeal. My personal favorite story is “Rakka”: in Texas in the year 2020 following a brutal alien invasion, Jasper (Weaver) and a band of freedom fighters battle against alien overlords who use telepathy and advanced technology to torture, mutilate, and kill the human population while altering the Earth’s environment to suit their needs. With riveting visuals and poignant narration, “Rakka” is first-class entertainment.
There are two aspects of Oats Studios: Volume 1 that I did not like. First, none of the short films have conclusions. This is intentional, as some of them may be made into feature length films at some point if fan reaction is positive enough and if a studio cares to take chance on producing them. However, despite being intentional, it’s still annoying as hell! Even if a short film doesn’t have a traditional story arc, it’s frustrating to watch something abruptly end right before the climax of the tale. Second, I couldn’t stand one of the vignettes. The “Cooking with Bill” segments are intended to be humorous, but I found them to be disgusting instead of funny.
If not for my above complaints, I would be giving this anthology only my second perfect 10 rating. It’s interesting, engaging, and leaves audiences wanting more. You can’t ask for much more from your entertainment than that. So, I highly recommend Oats Studios: Volume 1 and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.