A Protective Machine Gorilla in Scifi Short Film, ‘NO-A’

The scifi short film NO-A is a futuristic film about a gorilla-like machine trying to protect its creator from harm.

NO-A was directed by a team of 8 students from Savannah College of Art and Design as a graduation project. The film won the 2015 Red Dot Award.

The film begins with NO-A entering what looks to be a control room in a huge space looking building. The machine walks on all fours and rocks back and forth as if he is a primate. His creator must have built him in the image of apes. He looks out of a window and from his vantage point he can see a person with a gun heading towards a girl in a protected pod, who is his creator. Behind NO-A an armed person walks up and starts shooting at him and the action begins. The bullets don’t seem to have an effect on the machine but now that he knows people are after him and his creator he bounds away and throws himself out of a window.

He makes his way down to the ground. It looks like there are on another planet in this science fiction film. The machine sees armed people surrounding the protective container that the woman is being kept in so he attacks them. He moves just like a gorilla and lumbers forward on his hands and feet. NO-A pounces on the people and brings them down in animalistic way. After he takes out the two guys near his creator, he opens up the pod and takes her out of it. For whatever reason, she is no longer safe there and it’s his job to get her to safety.

As the machine starts to leave one of the armed men gets up long enough to shoot NO-A in a vulnerable spot, his head. Part of the wiring that kept him together gets shot off and he falls down letting his creator tumble out of his hands. She slowly wakes up once she is thrown on the ground and takes in the situation around her. Her trusted machine is injured possibly beyond repair and in the distance, she can see others trying to make their way towards her.

It is strange that the audience has no idea why there are people hunting this girl and her machine. Since it is told from the point of the view of NO-A we automatically see them as the good guy but in reality, those people could be hunting them down for a good reason.

NO-A gathers his bearings and sees the ship of hunters landing to kill them. He hurries his creator to an elevator where he valiantly lets her go and escape to safety while he stays back and fights to the death to protect her. She cries while she watches him leave. Then it ends with showing a montage of the woman working on designing and creating NO-A.

The film reminds me of King Kong. In the movie, the girl is the woman that Kong tries to protect and Kong is obviously the gorilla. NO-A even beats on his chest sometimes like a real gorilla and faces the attacks of humans to keep his creator safe.

The animation reminds me of a video game. It is realistic, fleshed out, and looks too detailed to be animation geared toward children. It’s more like the animation of a video game marketed toward an older and more mature audience. Also, the film seemed incomplete or like it was just one scene of a longer film because the action happened and ended so quickly, that the film looked unfinished. Overall the film was visually pleasing but left me with lots of questions about the plot.

Nia Scott

Nia is a senior at East Stroudsburg University majoring in English and French. She dreams of being a best-selling author one day or a writer for a nonprofit organization. When she is not watching Netflix, or traveling, she can be found hiking in the mountains with her best friend Leena. She is also a passionate advocate of women's rights, climate change, and the fate of elephants.