Wastelander Panda is a film project about an anthropomorphic panda who wanders a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland. Think Mad Max crossed with, well, a zoo. Or perhaps don’t; because that’s just too trite for a story that has a fair hunk of depth to it in spite of the panda heads.
Wastelander Panda is a post-apocalyptic adventure series about Arcayus – the last mutant panda of the Wasteland, and Rose – a human girl raised by Arcayus’ brother, Isaac. Together, they set out on a journey of redemption, seeking to avenge Isaac’s death.
From the interactive website, at wastelanderpanda.com, to the movies themselves this is beautifully conceived and delivered. I must admit, though, that I found it hard to keep a bemused expression from my face as I watched the story unfold – you see the main character has a panda head. And watching a seven-foot tall panda wander the Australian desert while caring for a stray child is, bemusing – in spite of, or perhaps because of, the captivating underlying story.
Wastelander Panda is made in South Australia and was originally crowd-funded. It has since attracted more traditional funding including becoming the first project in Australia to be funded by a government film agency without a traditional market attachment.
I passed a very enjoyable hour watching the Wastelander Panda episodes and playing with the website. It’s a great project from some talented people. It’s beautifully filmed, has an interesting story, and is really well acted. And there’s a panda; and everyone knows pandas are cool.
Finally, here’s a bit of trivia: Arcayus was featured as an Easter egg in Borderlands 2, after the director emailed Gearbox Software to ask whether she could feature the DAHL logo in an episode. Gearbox loved the Wastelander Panda Prologue, and not only agreed to the use of the DAHL logo, but put Arcayus in Borderlands 2 in exchange.