Digital Henchmen Launch Party - Had a chance to stop in at the Digital Henchmen launch party last Thursday night @ Club SAW here in Ottawa. Didn't see too many from the animation comm...
Friday, January 23, 2009
I missed this when it came on here in Canada (the History Channel I think?), but was very interested in seeing it at the time. Here's how it's described on the NFB site: A look at the impact of the Great Depression years on Canada and its people. What started with an economic crash in 1929 would end only with the guns of World War II. Of the many stories and legacies of the Great Depression, perhaps its greatest is that it created a modern Canada: more questioning of the power of government, inclined toward social policies like welfare and health care, and prepared to play a role in international affairs and economies.
I came across a listing for it from a network in Australia, they had a little more to say: Canadian history has the reputation of being bloodless and consequently uneventful, especially in comparison to the often violent and dramatic events that have shaped other countries. Yet this three-part animated series presents a lively and visually sumptuous look at Canada during the Great Depression, proving Canada’s history to be anything but tepid. From record breaking cross-Atlantic flights, and the birth of the world- famous Dionne quintuplets, to the slow march to war, The Dark Years uses original animation, archival footage and eye-witness accounts to bring to life colourful stories from the 1930s.
The whole series was produced using stock footage and animation, which sounds really interesting, and there are some good names on the production credits, Including Chuck Gammage Studios, so I was hopeful.
Here's the clip: The Dark Years.
There's more over here: Dark Years clips
The second link also has all kinds of other info, including links to an interview with the animation director, John Halfpenny.
Now, to be fair, I judged this pretty harshly based on the forst clip. It's a good story to tell, it sounds well written, and I think that's Maury Chaykin narrating. But the animation left me really cold. The illustrative style just doesn't work in flash. In fact, I was going to just say outright that it looks terrible.
The second clip, featuring Hitler in Mickey Mouse pants, is far more entertaining. Still though, this would have looked a whole lot better done traditionally. The arguments are always going to be there, budgetary largely, but once again, here's a potentially great project that just comes up short on the execution.
But maybe the technology isn't the culprit? Ive seen some very good traditional animation done in Flash. Is this just a question of poor animation? Poor animation done in Flash that just as easily could have been poor animation done traditionally? I can't say. Lord knows we had a lot of terrible animation before Flash, so why should things be any different now?
Animation aside, this still looks like something I would watch, and the animation isn't all terrible, but unfortunately, the parts that are bad, are just that: terrible.