Monday, November 21, 2011
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On and Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Two
Directed by: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Voiced by: Jenny Slate
Written by: Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On tells about the life and stories of a shell that wears shoes named Marcel. From the small blunders of life, the big problems he faces daily, to the positive outlook he has on each and every aspect of his world, the film follows Marcel through it all. The adorable little shell makes us laugh out loud with his innocent quotes like, "Wanna see me lift this? (struggles for a bit trying to lift the crayon) Yeah, no... I can't... I can't lift anything at all," "You have to be pretty easy going to drive a bug because no matter where you want to go, you're going wherever the bug wants to go,", "I like to tie a piece of hair to a ball of lint and drag it around." You also have more serious quotes that do not become overkill because of the innocent nature of Marcel like, "I used to have a sister, but someone asked her to hold a balloon. (Later) I just pretend she's out traveling," "My biggest regret in life is that I'll never own a dog," "You know why I smile so much? Because it's worth it." These quotes and the entire film in general is really a big pick-me-up and refreshing couple of minutes.
I chose to include Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Two as well because I saw the shorts back to back and felt that I could not talk about one without the other. The first time my friends showed me the video, they were laughing and rambling about how hilarious and great the short was while it loaded on my computer. I could see the shell standing on the couch and I expected myself to really not find it as funny as my friends. Then the video started, and the character voice of Jenny Slate gave the short life. The adorable voice that tells us each random story, comment, or fun fact makes this video stand out above anything else I have seen and catapults it into a category all it's own. Even though there really is no set plot in these films, the audience is still enticed throughout by just listening to Marcel talk to the interviewer (whose purpose is really to only say "what" when Marcel asks, "guess what?"). I think that these films, which have already had success as an AFI Fest Best Animated Short winner and an Official Selection at eight different film festivals including Sundance, are going to not only be great shorts but also have crossed into mainstream culture and will become much larger in the very near future. The happy-go-lucky and refreshing feeling that Marcel leaves the audience with is the last addicting component that will continue the success and demand of the little shell. I for one will absolutely appreciate as much Marcel the Shell as Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate wants to give us and look forward to more of his positive tone in the future.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Escape from City 17 Part 2
Directed by David and Ian Purchase, United States, 2011, 14 minutes
Welcome to city 17! This live action Half Life based short produced by the purchase brothers is the second part of this series of shorts. This series follows a group of soldiers as they partake in the events during the Half Life video game series. The basic story line is that a group of rebels are attempting to escape from the doomed city 17 that is going to blow up. As is typical of these sort of fan films, there is a love story and a lot of unexplained things going on.
The reason I chose this film was because I had stumbled across the episode 1 of the series and noticed they brought out a newer part of the series. If you take the time to look at the other Purchase Brothers films, the company that made the short, most of them are really well done and are full of great special effects. However, most are also not over the five minute mark besides this one and honestly that has helped them. While the special effects in this short are amazing, the story is atrocious and pathetic. While I love the beauty of the entire film the story and the occasional misfire of special effects really irks me to the point that I just can’t enjoy it. While the film was done on a 250 dollar budget if you are going to spend all that time on doing the models and special effects get a story writer and do things right.
However, in the video game world this video started a whole slew of fan based films most of which are going to be released later this year. While I know as a fact that most of these other fan films will probably end up having horrible story lines, this video is still important because of what it did. However this video should have set an example for a stellar story line with great effects so hopefully the purchase brothers can get their act together by part 3.
Directed by Tom Tykwer, Faubourg Saint-Denis, 2006, 7 minutes.
This short portrays the relationship between a blind student and his girlfriend Francine. It chronicles their apparent breakup and then flashbacks through the development of their relationship.
I think this short is so beautiful in the way that it shows the couple coming together and falling apart. Although Francine has not really broken up with the protagonist, it does seem that they have grown more apart. Tykwer really does capture the emotion of a relationship very well. I also especially enjoy the way that the flashbacks comprise of both still shots used to simulate motion and video clips.
I think the film is significant because it does say a lot about relationships. It's not cliche like the portrayal of relationships in most chick flicks. It's realistic, allowing its audience to empathize and relate to the characters in it. As we've discussed in class before, being able to connect with a film's characters is key in the success of a film. Without being able to empathize with the characters, an audience becomes lost and disinterested.