All 2 movie Reviews

Tarboy Tarboy

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Grand stuff

That was absolutely excellent! The sequence where the attacks of the locust bot (how I see him) are synced with the music is top notch

the Last of the Dashkin the Last of the Dashkin

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

Brilliant, but flawed

I think the animation, pacing and sound of this Brackenwood short are excellent. However, I think the approach to the storytelling underlines the virtuosity of the technique.

The problem centres around the voice-over. While I think the narration is very nicely read, well-written in itself, and well matched to the visuals, I think it is, in itself, redundant. The images (combined with the emotional cues of the music) are the primary method by which the story is conveyed, while the narration, which simply recapitulates the on-screen events, has nothing to add - it merely *tells* what the images *show*. In fact, in saving me some work (by presenting the intended meaning of events, and giving immediate, unmediated access to the character, rather than requiring an effort of interpretation) meant that the narration made me feel more distant from the story. I had no need to *engage*, to interpret the story, as the inner life of Bitey was already presented to me as the story unfolded without any need for effort on my part.

For example, the resonant vignette of the Bigfoot surrogate family that abandoned Bitey once they had a child of their own was a perfect visual clue towards his bitterness, abandonment and loneliness. This was rounded off very nicely by the image of Bitey staring at his reflection, while the other creatures of Brackenwood enjoyed the company of their own kind. The narration simply wasn't necessary, and impeded on the images, lessening their emotional impact.

Towards the end, I think this got a little more pronounced. The very last narrative hooks ('We are about to find out'...) felt too much like they were leading the viewer, especially because it felt like the narrator was pretending to be on the level of the audience, not knowing the eventual outcome of the story, whereas the viewer would naturally presume the narrator had full knowledge. The result feels slightly manipulative, and off-putting for that reason.

But I want to stress again that I think the animation is wonderful, and the story intriguing. It's going to be great to learn a bit more about Bitey, and the few details presented already make him an even more interesting character than in past shorts. I just think that the narration can afford to step back a little, and let the images simply do the job they're already doing brilliantly.

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