Contains spoilers and honesty. You have been warned.
The Quest for the Blood Diamond II
If I had to choose one word to describe The Quest for the Blood Diamond II, I'd use the word "enigma." For starters, the film's existence in the first place is somewhat confusing. The first Quest for the Blood Diamond was a complete story; as Heirstrate has mentioned, the plans for the sequels were only conceived after the first was completed, and for these reasons, I have to question the motives behind the follow-up. Was he hoping the success of the first would bolster the reception of the second (a plan that worked, if it was the case)? Did he just want to work with the same talented voice cast again? Or did he truly feel there was more of the story to tell then he had the first? And if so, was the introduction of time travel really a wise decision? Until the third film comes out and it becomes more apparent what Heirstrate is up to, there's no way to tell.
Whatever the reasons behind the film's conception, it is well executed. The story is engrossing, pulling the viewer in early and never letting go, an accomplishment that many two-minute shorts don't manage to pull off, and one that Heirstrate should be proud of considering the 13-minute duration of this film. The dialogue is, for the most part, well done, and there's a good balance of speech and action. Nothing feels extemporaneous, and it doesn't feel like there's anything left out.
But every script has its flaws, and there are a few here, mainly in the climactic scene. The (supposed) five-second countdown is far too long; the pace of the scene is thrown completely off, not to mention the fact that Jack and Elia's exchange deteriorates into melodramatic soap-opera dialogue that the film had thusfar and thereafter avoided. And why does Jack wait until after Elia has been killed to attempt to dive for his gun? Why does Elia allow herself to be killed in the first place? Unless it's revealed in the third film that the sacrifice of a fair maiden takes away the diamond's powers, I fail to see how her death would do anything more to prevent the Professor's plans than force him to walk over to the diamond and pick it up. The scene had a lot of potential, but has the feel of being hurried over during rewrites in the anticipation of getting started on animation. The rest of the script is quite well done, and it's a shame that the one speedbump is such a pivotal part of the film.
Technically, everything does its job, but won't win any awards. The animation is above average, but not stellar. The music is well done, though disappointingly MIDI-y and distractingly loud, especially during the aforementioned climactic scene. The sound effects are adequate; my only gripe would be that the two vehicles, though obviously different, sounded exactly the same when starting. The voice acting gets the job done, and two in particular (the Stranger and the Professor) stand out as above-average, though I have to wonder why Heirstrate casted a new actor as the future Jack, rather than using Audacity to alter Jason Boyle's voice. Are we expected to believe Jack's voice loses its huskiness and gains a Western accent in the future? Or is this a hint at some plot twist in the third film?
The cinematography and foreground lighting are well done, but Heirstrate's decision to use an overexposed background to convey the intense heat and light of the desert is questionable. Intentional though it was, the extreme closeness of the overly lit background makes it uncomfortably obvious that there's a third reason for its existence: the fact that it probably cut set building time in half, if not more. It's an interesting experiment and an interesting result, and I'd like to see it explored further (perhaps an overexposed background further in the distance), but in this film it doesn't quite have the desired effect.
Though it had its foibles, you'd be foolish not to check this film out, because it does what brickfilms are supposed to do: entertain. The Quest for the Blood Diamond II was a fun thirteen minutes, and I look forward to see how Heirstrate wraps it all together in the final film. It's quite an accomplishment, and one that should be enjoyed by anyone with the bandwidth to do so.
Overall Grade: B
With all due respect Noodle, I don't want you here. - Ratboy Productions