Reviews: Oceanus - Act One

The Movie Sleuth can't say enough positive things about Oceanus, the first film from Future Dude Entertainment.

"Hey. Check out these visuals!"
Future Dude Entertainment founder and writer-director Jeffrey Morris’ Oceanus: Act One is among the most colorful, technically proficient science fiction short films to be produced and released entirely independently in almost a decade!  The launching pad for what will hopefully becoming a prosperous company devoted to science fiction films in the vein of Robert Wise and Gene Roddenberry, Oceanus is being released as an online serial with continuing episodes alongside a slew of like-minded projects including Parallel Man, Venus and Brainstorm (no relation to Douglas Trumbull’s film). 

Somewhere along the lines of The Abyss and SeaQuest DSV with the slick neon lighting of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Oceanus stakes its claim in the underwater science fiction film universe with confidence and prowess, announcing both itself and the company behind it as a potentially major force to be reckoned with.  From the sophisticated set pieces, costume design and overwhelming amount of visually exciting CGI effects, the level of technical quality for an entirely independent production is simply staggering.  It should not appear this startlingly good but as I watched the thirty minute short, I continued to be surprised and engaged by what Oceanus had to offer!

For what is essentially a demo reel marking the arrival of a new voice in sci-fi entertainment, this is light years ahead of anything playing on the SyFy channel let alone many of the other independent ventures with greater resources but only a fraction of Future Dude’s inspiration.  You can really feel the heart and soul imbued in this labor of love when you’re not in awe of how far the visuals stretch the budgetary limitations.  In other words, it looks beautiful but isn’t just a soulless technical exercise.  While only thirty minutes long, I was immediately enthralled by the tranquil oceanic underworld and caught up in the characters’ plight and was only disappointed when it inevitably had to end with the ‘to be continued’ tagline. 

"Eat your heart out, every other science fiction
movie of 2015. We're the best!"
Acting is pretty strong between the three cast members who manage to inject emotional depth into their roles and aren’t hampered by the surrounding technology.  Sonically the score is tranquil ambience not unlike Brian Eno floating in space and the sound design is polished and slick.  Everything works together to create a clean but colorful kaleidoscope of ocean blue, orange and purple sunset and sleek lens flares akin to J.J. Abrams’ use of the technique in Star Trek.

I realize I’m gushing but I was genuinely impressed with the first installment of Oceanus and cannot wait to see what comes next!  Future Dude Entertainment and its founding father have managed to make one hell of a mark from scratch and with one short established themselves as an exciting new voice in science fiction filmmaking.  Where most science fiction thrillers depend on explosions and loud sound effects to achieve their effect, Oceanus is a breath of fresh air for not only being vast in scope but also a throwback to early '70s thought provoking science fiction far more interested in ideas.  

Although Future Dude is still in its infancy at this juncture, the word of mouth regarding Oceanus is spreading fast in the company’s favor and more and more eyes can’t help but be wowed by just how much they’ve done with so little.  Let’s just hope the forthcoming installments of Oceanus live up to the promise of the first one and that further down the line, Future Dude Entertainment becomes a household name in the film industry!


-Andrew Kotwicki

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