by Gene Turnbow, station manager
Do you remember what it was like to be a child, when every day was bursting with ideas and dreams and imagination? Then you grew up, and little by little, that child had to be left further and further behind as you dealt with adult things, in an adult world. One day you woke up and realized that you were a grown-up, and while you still loved those daydreams, they now dance just outside your grasp, and live only in the twilight between sleep and wakefulness. In this web series, Colin Hanks plays Taylor, the son of an absentee father who finds himself on a journey of self discovery. His father, played by J.K. Simmons, was a well-known and acclaimed children’s puppeteer who was widely celebrated for his creativity. After his passing, Taylor discovers a mysterious world of his dad’s creation and finds himself on an adventure that will soon unlock his own creativity.
While watching the trailer, be sure to temporarily turn off the SCIFI.radio stream using the controller at the upper right so that you don’t have a dueling soundtracks situation.
This is what’s being called a “social film”. It’s being produced in segments, with each episode being released first on Hulu and then posted to YouTube for all to enjoy. A strange aspect of the project is that Dell has cast a piece of hardware as a “character” in the film, hoping you’ll find the film so magical that you’ll want the tablet. The device is an Intel-powered Dell Venue 8 7000 Series tablet with Intel® RealSense™, which captures depth maps of every photograph taken with it.
The term “Social film” appears to refer being media created specifically for use in social media campaigns. For a short while prior to the release of the videos, there was a window in which people could submit designs to appear in Taylor’s fantasy world, so this was intended as a way to directly engage the audience in the creation of the work. The story is so good and so enchanting that it works despite being essentially an infomercial – but personally speaking, the idea that product placement has been taken to an invasive level is something I find very troubling. We are expected to accept merchandise itself as a character in the film, and that seems like a very very bad idea and sets bad precedent. This time it worked, but it’s the cynicism of the idea that squirts a little spritz of poison into an otherwise beautiful story. There’s still a lot of wonderful in What Lives Inside, though, so it’s still worth seeing, especially if you’re wondering exactly where that inner child went and whether you can come to the rescue.
What Lives Inside stars Colin Hanks, J.K. Simmons and Catherine O’Hara, and is directed by Robert Stromberg (Malifecent). To see all the episodes that exist so far, visit https://insidefilms.com/
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