I went to see Flushed Away last night -- the new film from Dreamworks Animation that's Aardman-designed and shaped but rendered in 3-D computer animation instead of Aardman's regular clay stop-motion technique. I was worried it was going to be disconcerting to see the Aardman style transferred over to 3-D, but visually it's not so jarring -- especially when you realize that some clever chappie has made sure that the character's mouths aren't animated perfectly; they in fact mimic the style and frame rate of the original Aardman claymation projects -- a nice, semi-subliminal touch. If only someone had been that smart about the script -- a multi-handed hodgepodge of recycled messages and themes from other children's flicks, larded with creaky jokes about 'The French' and a ridiculous number of pop-culture references. It turns out that putting Aardman's animation aesthetic through Dreamwork's animation mill is like dipping a fluttering butterfly in molten copper -- the industrial process is detrimental to the spirit and grace of the thing you're trying to 'improve.'

And, of course, it's Halloween night. I got my costume on Friday and Saturday, so tonight is all about two things: 1) Handing out mini-size Butterfingers to neighborhood kids without simply gunning them into my gaping maw in a 'one for me, one for you' arrangement, and 2) Having some friends over for a glass of bourbon and a scary movie after the sun is mostly down. No costumes, no spray-in hair dyes ... just the company of friends, a good movie and candy for kids. Which, to me, sounds pretty good.

What are you up to?

J
categories Cinematical