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So, this film’s about imaginary cockroaches, huh?

HD DVD

This evening, I made my way through A Scanner Darkly in its entirety, and, while I found that it picked up slightly in its second half, and sported a handful of smile-inducing lines of dialogue, I ultimately wouldn’t rate the whole experience too highly. I’ve found this on numerous occasions with movies about drug addiction - particularly Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a film that manages to entertain and irritate me in equal measure - and I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that this is one of those “you had to be there” phenomena. I’ve never imbibed a single narcotic in my life, and I’m sorry to say that, although I take my job as a reviewer seriously, becoming a drug addict to get a better insight into the logic behind this film would be going above and beyond the call of duty. (Not that I’m saying that everyone who enjoys the film must be a drug addict.) Watching A Scanner Darkly, I felt incredibly distanced from the whole affair, and I suspect that this had as much to do with the subject matter as the visual styling, which, I’m sorry to say, I found clumsy and distracting throughout.

Incidentally, I was shocked to discover that, rather than simply running the footage he shot through a filter, Linklater actually had a team of artists go through every single frame and trace them by hand. The people - I’ll call them clean-up artists rather than animators, because that’s essentially the function they performed - responsible for this task clearly had no small amount of skill, not to mention patience, but I can’t help thinking that this was wasted on a project that could easily have been automated. By the way, the included documentary dedicated to exploring the process reveals that very few of the artists had had any direct animation experience prior to working on the film. To tell you the truth, it shows, although I would probably have been even more horrified if Linklater had actually squandered the talents of real animators on this cute but ultimately pointless exercise.

Oh, and if you’re going to create animation by tracing over live action actors, please, please, please use someone more expressive than Keanu Reeves as your source.

 
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2007 at 11:24 PM | Comments: 8
Categories: Animation | Cinema | HD DVD | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Here's a challenge for you - watch Johny Mnemonic. You won't believe how badly Reeves reads the line 'Where are you going?' at the beginning, if nothing else.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia, April 6, 2007 11:07 PM

2.

Well, I intend to reactivate my Blockbuster account soon (once I get paid, ahem!), so a double bill of The Wicker Man remake and Johnny Mnemonic might well be in the offing.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 6, 2007 11:13 PM

3.

For me A SCANNER DARKLY was one of the most interesting movie of last year. It was visually striking, intelligent, surprising and featured the best ending of 2006.

Sure, if you never did some hard drug (especially methamphetamine) you might not understand it all. And if your not familiar with Philip K. Dick's work you might not get it all. Still this is the kind of movie that for once the "gimmick" of rotoscopie actually brought something to the film (especially useful for the suit thing).

Like most of Philip K. Dick's novel, this is a scary at what looks to be an inevitable future. With World globalization, and a few companies controlling the entire food domain... this could actually all happen.


"To tell you the truth, it shows, although I would probably have been even more horrified if Linklater had actually squandered the talents of real animators on this cute but ultimately pointless exercise."
How dare you say that?! Thats right... you know better then anyone else!
Sorry of me...

Posted by: ARCVILE, April 8, 2007 6:39 PM

4.

How dare I say it? I don’t see what’s wrong with my statement. The technique used in this film doesn’t require the talents of “real” animators, just people who are capable of tracing over pre-existing footage. That is a perfectly laudable ability, but the proper term for such a person is “clean-up artist”, not “animator”. I would have considered it a waste of talent if Linklater had employed a crew of accomplished animators to do this task, just as I would consider it a waste if a qualified doctor was employed to fetch patients cups of coffee rather than treat them.

By the way, you forgot to include your name, Arcvile. Don’t worry, I added it for you.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 8, 2007 8:24 PM

5.

"By the way, you forgot to include your name, Arcvile. Don't worry, I added it for you."
Thanks! I was using another computer that I dont normaly use.


"The technique used in this film doesn't require the talents of "real" animators, just people who are capable of tracing over pre-existing footage. That is a perfectly laudable ability, but the proper term for such a person is "clean-up artist", not "animator". "
And there is nothing wrong with clean-up artist either.

Posted by: ARCVILE, April 9, 2007 3:56 PM

6.

“And there is nothing wrong with clean-up artist either.”

Absolutely, it is a job that requires a lot of talent. A different set of talents than an animator, though, which is why I said it would be a shame if people trained as animators ended up doing a job that didn’t make full use of their abilities.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 9, 2007 3:58 PM

7.

Come on!
They should just not take the job then!
Its not like anyone forced them to...

Posted by: ARCVILE, April 9, 2007 8:06 PM

8.

They’re not forced to, but, given the dearth of jobs for traditional animators these days, they often have to take whatever jobs they can find. All I’m saying is that it’s a shame to think of people having these abilities but not having the opportunity to use them.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 9, 2007 8:14 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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