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Michael J. Minor
Without qualification, among the best animated features ever made
In the technical sense this is "limited" animation - the handful of animators (just four are credited) charged with bringing the story to life restrict themselves, when they can, to less than the full 24 frames per second, and often use all manner of cunning tricks to avoid having to animate at all. But the animation is emphatically NOT limited in any other sense. Neither the story, nor the world, nor the characters' freedom to move and breathe and think, has been constricted in any way; the animation (like the artwork generally) is simply GOOD, and there's an end to it. If your experience of "limited" animation is "South Park", you can be forgiven for thinking that "limited" is just a polite synonym for "bad", since "South Park" looks crude and awkward and just plain awful even when compressed to fit the tiniest of TV screens. But the glorious animation of "Grendel Grendel Grendel" expands to fill a wide cinema screen with no effort whatever.
To be blunt, "Grendel Grendel Grendel" is among the best animated features ever made: funny, sad, tense, relentlessly intelligent, what have you. If I say that there's a dragon who makes veiled allusions to Wittgenstein, that might convey something of the film's flavour; on the other hand, you might suspect this to be a sample of the kind of pointless eccentricity which film-makers (animators in particular) indulge in so that they won't be accused of being mainstream, and for no other reason. Not a bit of it. The film doesn't make a single false move or strike a single false note: every joke flows naturally out of its surroundings, and the film seems to be doing nothing so much as taking a healthy, childlike delight in its (surprisingly rich) material. I'm not saying this because I'm Australian. I'm as surprised that an animated movie this good was made in Australia, as anyone else. I'm even more surprised (despite the fact that it WAS made in Australia) that it's relatively unknown. You owe it to yourself to see it.
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