It’s not often, heck ever, that I write a review about a short film or a fan movie, but after seeing Batman Vs The Terminator, I felt inclined to do just that. Batman Vs The Terminator is the brainchild of New Zealand based animator Mitchell Hammond, who took it upon himself to craft this film merely as a way to teach himself how to animate.
Set in the year, 2029, it has been 32 years since Skynet launched our own nuclear weapons against us and attempted to obliterate the human race. A small group of humans have banded together, led by John Connor, they attempt to bring down Skynet and the metallic soldiers that stalk the earth hunting for human survivors. As this select group feels the pressure of Skynet closing in, another hero appears to aid their fight, Batman. Fitted with a bomb proof suit and piloting an anti-riot unit known as The Stinger, Batman has made his way across the American wasteland to find John Connor, and put an end to Skynet once and for all.
The first thing that struck me about Batman Vs The Terminator was the tone, it’s deadly serious and plays nothing for laughs, but then again what else would you expect from two of the darkest franchises in history coming together? There are barely any words spoken in the 5 minute runtime, but the drama is still tight and has a very cinematic edge to it. The first thing we see are human remains being trampled by a heavy looking vehicle, my first thought here was that it would be one of the giant Hunter Killer machines so popularised by the Terminator movies, however we soon learn it is indeed The Stinger, Batman’s new ride.
The film compliments both franchises perfectly. The dark nihilistic future created by the Terminators plays up to Batman’s style and similarly dark tone, as he crosses the landscape searching for Skynet HQ. The action on the ground, as we see three resistance fighters attempting to evade Skynet’s forces is a scene James Cameron would be proud of. As they move quickly, hoping to survive and complete their mission, they are chased down by the robotic threat.
For a first time animator, Mitchell has a distinct style, clearly inspired by Frank Miller’s take on the Dark Knight it would seem, but he makes it his own. His grizzled Batman sporting a fully grown beard, hidden partially a metal helmet, and fully decked out in a bomb proof suit is clearly more advanced than the resistance who sport the grey/green uniforms of previous movies.
Batman Vs The Terminator doesn’t follow on from either franchise, it no doubt takes inspiration from both, but the film really really is it’s own story combining the Dark Knight with the world of the Terminators and letting us see what could happen there. The only downside is the films length, at just under five minutes long, it feels like not all of the story has been told. If it had ran for another five or ten minutes we would be able to see what happens when Batman finally infiltrates Skynet. Nevertheless, Batman Vs The Terminator is a supreme short film from a clearly talented man, and it is a shame that it has taken such a toll on his health that Mitchell Hammond now wishes to pursue other interests. Maybe one day in the future he can return to animation and give us all another film just as good as this.
Mitchell Hammond’s personal blog: If it blogs, we can kill it.