Movie Review: The Exigency is weirdly watchable

Jan 15, 2020 at 12:00 pm by nemirc

The Exigency

Almost one year ago, I wrote about The Exigency, an animated feature-length movie made in Poser. The movie was released on New Year's Eve, and I recently had the chance to watch it.

The movie synopsis on the website is as this: The film follows a retired war hero named Kyle who is forced to return to his home planet, Gallesha, in order to help end a seemingly impossible war with the neighboring planet of Anumbis. Kyle is faced with the consequences of his past while his family is caught in the middle. You can guess the plot of the movie is not really something extremely original, but, personally, I think the main point of the movie is to show Cody Vibbart's drive and dedication to work on this movie for 13 years until it was finished.

The Exigency opens with Kyle going to work, and, after a few minutes, aliens invade the city in a big action sequence. Then, as the synopsis says, he is forced to return to his home planet, Gallesha, to fight in a war (against the same aliens that attacked the city minutes before). After this, the movie evolves into a very 80's sci-fi plot, similar to those from Flash Gordon or other retro-futuristic movies of that time.

The Exigency is sometimes weird. I wouldn't know if I should describe this movie as a comedy, but parts of it feel like it because you get jokes thrown in during odd situations. For example, there's a point when Kyle is trying to negotiate with Diederick, the leader of planet Anumbis, and, right after that, a joke is thrown in by one of the background characters. This type of humor somewhat reminded me of the MCU movies, because they have the tendency to slip jokes in here and there, even in more serious scenes, as if they want to make sure they are not losing the audience.

Either way, the overall story of The Exigency is good and entertaining, albeit not great. Also, the characters feel realistic and their decisions make sense, except for King Sargon, the king of Gallesha. I think the idea of the script was to present him as an inept, but maybe the script goes too far and turns him into an unrealistic caricature of a king.

The sound design of the movie is pretty good, and the musical score fits the action on the screen pretty well. However, the movie's biggest problem, from a technical perspective, is the visuals. The Exigency looks very dated, and the rendering quality varies across different scenes. Some of the environments look very good and detailed, while others look very simplistic since they use very low-resolution models. Another thing I noticed is that some scenes combine different generations of character models, and that makes the final shot look mixed (if you are not familiar with Poser, when I say generations of character models I mean characters that shipped with different versions of Poser: the software includes old P4 figures from the Poser 4 era, “Gen 1” and “Gen 2” figures that were introduced post Poser 6, and now it includes a new set of figures, including La Femme. All those figures have different polygon count and texture resolution, and thus different level of detail and quality). Another thing I noticed is that some scenes were rendered with shadows off. Also, on the visual camp, some animations are low quality.

Poser's renderer is pretty capable of producing amazing results (you only need to take a look at the Renderosity Gallery to see what I am talking about), so I am guessing the image quality of the movie is more related to time and budget.

Producing a nice looking Poser render takes a while, and it would take even longer to produce an animation (when I've made an animation in Poser just for fun, a 2-second animation can take a few hours). On the other hand, Poser's animation tools are not the best out there, so it's understandable that some animations in The Exigency don't look that good.

In the movie's defense, I think these days of photo-realistic visual effects and graphical extravaganzas makes people forget that it takes a lot of work to create something that looks good. Moviegoers will usually skip not-so-great-looking animated movies made by emerging creators because they don't offer the same visual quality as your latest Dreamwork's movie, and gamers will often skip indie games because they look subpar compared to the new game made by Activision. If you are a long time reader (going as far as 2005), then you know how I feel about such comparisons.

Even with all its flaws, I'd recommend you watch The Exigency, not because it's a great movie, but because it is the product of around 13 years of dedication. In a world full of “I'd like to-ers,” Cody Vibbard took the next step and became part of the minority that actually did it. The Exigency is available to purchase/rent on Amazon Prime Video from $1.99 (for the SD version). Just as additional information, Amazon Prime Video is only available to those in the US, so I had to use a VPN and an Amazon gift card to rent it.

The Exigency:

The Exigency on Amazon Prime Video:

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