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First AI-Generated Romance Film Looks Like Crap

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TV maker TCL announced its first original short film—Next Stop Paris—and excitedly confirmed that it was made using AI-generation tools. They didn’t need to tell us that, however, because the shitty, awful trailer makes it very clear that most of the imagery in the film is the hallucination of AI generation.

On April 12, TCL premiered the first trailer for Next Stop Paris, its debut original production. TCL calls it a “short romance movie” that will be available later this Summer on TCLtv+, a free streaming service launched in August 2023. According to a press release from TCL, the film was made using a “global production team” of animators, VFX experts, and AI engineers. The script for the short wasn’t created using AI, apparently, but instead was written by TCL’s Chief Content Officer and Chief Creative Officer. That could explain how the writing is almost worse than the actual visuals…almost.

TCL

The trailer for Next Stop Paris is embarrassingly bad. I can’t imagine looking at this thing and going “Yeah, upload that to YouTube and keep spending money on it!” In the teaser, the main characters—a man and a woman who meet on a train ride to Paris—seem to have constantly changing faces, with their looks shifting from shot to shot.

We also see horrible-looking views of Paris with wonky buildings, smears meant to represent boats, and Eiffel Tower which looks like someone asked a drunk person to draw it using a Sharpie.

A screenshot of Paris as it looks in the AI-generated trailer.

Screenshot: TCL / Kotaku

Perhaps my favorite bit of shitty AI imagery comes in the form of a clock with two 3s and no 2 on its face. It also has random number-like blobs around the outer edge, as if the AI thought there should be numbers there but gave up.

A screenshot of a badly rendered clock from the AI-generated trailer.

Screenshot: TCL / Kotaku

“The special is animated by a global team including artists from the US, Canada, UK, and Poland, [who] are pushing creative and enhanced storytelling by layering tech and high-quality design animation over traditional narrative,” TCL says in its press release announcing the film.

According to the company, the short was made using real voice actors and motion capture, but modified and “brought to life” by “AI animation technology.” TCL also suggests that this is just the start, an experiment if you will. It claims that future productions will include “guild writers and actors” and even “key Hollywood talent.” We all have dreams, I guess.

Here’s some more unedited word soup from TCL that, ironically, feels like it was written by an AI.

The AI technology used to create these characters and fictional world allows the creative teams to push boundaries and invigorate the viewer experience, while also creating new opportunities for marketing partners. The push into originals helps drive a market advantage in a noisy environment filled with content options, and the IP has many applications across the platform from interactive components to sponsorable elements and more.

I personally can’t wait for the future where every large company decides to make a crappy movie using some AI tool in an effort to appease its shareholders and convince them that they are hip and ready to follow all of the latest, hottest trends in the tech world. I await Samsung’s horror movie and 7-11’s political thriller.

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