Yesterday marked the highly anticipated release of Man vs Second Life 2, the short animated film written, edited and directed by Sean Krueger (aka Hugity at Youtube). Man vs. Second Life 2, stars and marks the return to the big screen of Adam Steel, ex-British Special Op. avatar, which follows him on his misadventures through various “harsh regions of Second Life”. The original movie, Man vs Second Life, was released on Youtube in December of 2008 and if you have not seen it yet, I would highly recommend you watch it first prior to viewing Man vs. Second Life 2.
Sean and his crew have put a lot of thought and work into this second well crafted short animated film, and is a nice feather in the caps of all those involved in the making of this movie. Each scene is well thought-out, framed and presented; and is a great commentary about the positive forms of creative collaboration that can take place within the 3D virtual world of Second Life for those interested in animation (“machinima”)
Man vs. Second Life 2 starts off with Adam at the front door in a well fortified bunker type building on some distant remote island in Second Life. Adam has a high power rifle in his hands and avatar bodies of what appears to be noobs (new users to Second Life) are scattered around the area just in front of the bunker. The tone of his film has been set and it’s much more darker than the first film. Gone is the somewhat likable geeky character of Adam Steel looking to find better places and experiences in Second Life to explore from the original film. Instead we see that in the past two years since the end of the last film Adam’s character and psyche has spiraled down into a state of paranoia with the believe that everyone is out to get him; especially noobs! Dazed, confused, irrational, and having run out of “lindens” (the reference to money in Second Life) Adam is no longer the polite avatar willing to ask nicely for a landmark (“LM”) of this fellow Second Life residence so he can travel to “better places” on the grid. Adam has instead devolved into a shoot first and don’t ask questions type of character. Easily provoked, who is now lost within his own delusional views that everyone is out to get him; Adam is not to be messed with!
While Man vs Second Life 2 is technically and stylistically a better and well crafted film than the first one, I am not sure I was ready or personally liked the fact that Adam Steel’s character had become a lot more “darker” in his outlook. While still very much a black comedy that looks at some of the more humorous aspects of Second Life from a “users” perspective, I had hoped that the central likable/geekiness of Adam’s original character would of carried over to this film. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great and must see film, I just would of preferred a bit more of a “kinder and gentler” form of Adam Steel, than some crazed killer. Having to work within the Youtube format of films being a maximum of 10 minutes long, I’m sure presented some huge challenges to Sean and his film crew in regards to getting all the material they wanted into the final cut. Who knows, perhaps for Man vs. Second Life 3, if there is one, Sean can explore the concept of Adam falling in love and he can do a parody of the entire relationships/partnerships concept within Second Life?
While I didn’t care for the reuse of some of the same types of humor scenes in this film (the Helicopter, Adam falling and hitting the ground) as in the original film, I must say I totally enjoyed the various secondary characters Sean introduced into this film. Especially the three geeks, I mean wise-persons, in the scenes from “Help Island” and the three geeky vampire clan characters. For this writer the most humorous moments in the film where when Adam enters a shopping mall area and is dazed by the size of consumer goods for sale and the stand-off scene confrontation between the “wise-persons” and the vampires. The underlining social commentaries Sean makes use in the dialogue between the “wise-persons” and the vampires is something I’m sure the seasoned user of Second Life will laugh at.
While I don’t want to give away all the plot before you view it I definitely will say that I give his film a big thumbs up and highly recommend you view it when you get an opportunity to; even if you’re not a resident of Second Life. Enjoy the film and don’t forget to get your popcorn ready before the flick starts!