Snow in the Desert (2021)

Alien bounty hunter
A bounty hunter moves in…

In the Love, Death + Robots season 2 episode SNOW IN THE DESERT, an albino wanderer known as Snow lives on a hot, barren planet and must deal with various bounty hunters who want to kill him so that they can attain a certain part of his anatomy…

His name is Snow
His name is Snow and he lives in the desert

Snow, it transpires, has lived hundreds of years: this is due to the fact that he can endlessly regenerate his cells and body parts, thanks to special hormones released in his testicles. This pretty much makes him immortal – and it also means there are people who want to get rich by acquiring his balls to access a never-ending supply of Snow’s unique genetic material. This is why there are always bounty hunters on his case, but now a young woman called Hirald, who works for an advanced AI within Earth’s government, enters Snow’s life…

Hirald has a secret
What is Hirald’s secret?

Based on a short story by Neal Asher and, like a lot of his work, set in a future history known as the ‘Polity’ universe, this Netflix animated short features super-realistic mo-cap characters and impressive vistas, created by 3-D animation studio Unit Image.

Alien sun
This planet is hot
Bounty hunters
These bounty hunters have a cool ‘skinned alive’ look!
Saggy-skinned alien dude

The action is very brutal and there’s some cool world-building, with the inclusion of various alien races, including a rock-skinned bounty hunter, and some local vulture-like creatures. There’s a nice touch concerning these flying creatures, when we see them cover themselves completely with their leathery wings to endure the desert planet’s hot midday sun.

These reptile-vulture creatures know that the sun is about to rise...
These reptile-vulture creatures know that the sun is about to rise…
The creatures hide from the sun
…so they wrap themselves up in their leathery bat-wings!

On the whole, the short comes across as a taster for what to expect in the Polity universe, but there are some twists and turns in the brief story, as we discover Snow’s abilities and are finally shown Hirald’s true self – and, of course, you get 18 minutes of sci-fi eye candy.

More bounty hunters arrive

Here are some (spoiler-ific) shots from the story’s finale…

A rock-fleshed bad guy!
Brutal sci-fi action!
Hand through the villain’s chest!
Ah! Hirald is part machine!
Sunrise on a happier future for Snow?

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