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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not going to beat around the bush: The pilot of "The Amazing
Screw-On Head" blew me away.
Here are the reasons why I am so impressed by this show:
1. The Style
The look of the animation closely mimics the style of comic book illustrator Mike Mignola, giving it a unique appearance.
2. The Villains and Creatures
Okay, the pilot episode has 3 undead zombie-type creatures, a werewolf, a vampire chick, a demi-god, and a monkey with a machine gun. All this in about 23 minutes! How could I not like this show?
3. Off-beat Humor
This show is nuts! Just watch the hookah scene and you'll know you're not in the realm of typical animation. Some may be put off by the insanity, but I (personally) was amused.
There is some witty dialogue here that older viewers can appreciate.
Also, for me (especially considering the time constraints of a half hour program), the plot worked fairly well.
5. Voice Acting
Very good performances all around.
In short, the pilot for "The Amazing Screw-On Head" is one of the best examples of televised animation that I have ever seen. I highly recommend it.
This was the best show I've seen all summer. I didn't really know what
to expect, and then managed to sit in some peace and quiet and watch
A perfect 1/2 hour of television, no matter what the medium. The story moved, the look was unique, the dialogue, the framing, the voices... were all perfect. TV has come a long, long way....I sure hope this becomes a series.
Kudos to Mike Mignola, Dark Horse, the team that did this gem, and sci-fi channel.
Now...give us ...MORE :)
If you missed Amazing Screw-On Head from Sci-Fi channel, then rent, buy
or download it now! This short animated film is brilliant, hilarious,
and perfectly employs the visual textures and grimy, baroque aesthetic
of Mike Mignola's world. It uses elements of Lovecraft, Universal
Monsters, steampunk mecha, and Wild Wild West to plunge the viewer into
a completely absorbing adventure.
Amazing Screw-On Head is stylistically superior to both the 2004 live-action Hellboy and the 2006 Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms. This production has more in common with Mignola's concept work on Bram Stoker's Dracula, Blade II, and Disney's Atlantis. His monsters are both horrific and lovable, his hero is upright (when attached to his body), and his villains are truly sinister.
Attn Cartoon Network and Sci-Fi: Screw-On Head should be a template for future Hellboy and BPRD animated specials.
I absolutely love this show! I love the humor and the detail that was
put into each character. Emperor Zombie is now one of my all time
favorite animated villains, not just for his witty remarks, but he is
so excellently drawn! Abraham Lincoln is also an awesome character,
along with Mr. Groin, Patience, and Amazing Screw-On Head himself.
This show surprised me. I half expected it to be some odd show that I wouldn't like, but, boy, was I wrong. The show is odd, to be truthful, but it is hilarious! The story and the characters are easy to get into and understand.
This is now one of my all time favorite animated shows! The pilot on July 27th on the SciFi channel was phenomenal. I can't wait for the rest of the series.
MTV showed potential with "Liquid Television" a few years ago (But
never realized that potential). David Lynch proved that weirdness could
survive at least one season with "Twin Peaks" and now finally animation
AND storyline that truly raises the bar. Sure HBO had Spawn and it was
edgy but this is the cream.... I would love to see more episodes of
course (Mignolia is the new Kirby). What would be really nice is to see
this on the big screen, Say before "Hellboy II", Sci-Fi could use this
as a great advertising vehicle.
One can only hope that this will lead the vanguard for more interesting projects in animation. I can only dream of a world where "Flaming Carrot" and "The Sandman" are animated fare. Something like "The Invisibles" ,"Preacher" or even the easily contemporary "Transmetropolitan" with Spider Jerusalem tapping away at his powerbook and creating havoc.Sorry, I strayed far....This Mignolia work is amazing and until I can get cable in the alternate universe this will whet my fanboy appetite.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm pretty sure the creators sat down and made a list of everything
cool they could think of. Zombies, werewolves, and vampires? Check.
Super-heroes and mad scientists? Check. Hilarity and spoof? Check.
Abraham Lincoln? Check.
The best part was how much of it they were able to fit into 26 minutes, with barely enough time to laugh between such excellent dialog as "He was kidnapped by two old women... and a monkey." This would have been a GREAT television series. Oh well, some other time. Maybe it still has the opportunity to go the way of Family Guy and have a rebirth through DVD sales and rentals. So, yeah, get at 'em. This is as good as some of the best features of Adult Swim.
I was not so excited to watch The Amazing Screw-On Head because I was
visiting a friend from out of town and he insisted that I sit at the
computer and watch this online rather than other things we were
planning to do. But I was fascinated by it. The animation, firstly,
seemed like it would not draw me in, however it is perfect for the
noncomformist comic tone of the cartoon. There are so many pitch-black
shades of definition in the images and at times, it's as if over two
thirds of the screen consists of shadows. The creatures are watered-
down Gothic with a coating of the physical presence of sci-fi and
anime-loving, computer- savvy quasi-Goth-dressing teenagers. The colors
are never bright or positive, always swampy, antiquated, and moody.
Mike Mignola's visual style is carried through motion by director Chris
Prynoski, who creates a grungy little onslaught.
It begins as if it were a serious cartoon, violence preparing to break out, but then there is a hilarious German accent, played very incidentally. The show progresses into a very offbeat farce with a witty, creative sense of humor that grows elementally out of the material.
The material is founded by terrific comic book concept, a robotic head that screws onto compatible bodies who works as a secret agent serving under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and fighting battles that lead to points in history in completely different ways than how the nation believes. America having two histories is not something so far-fetched, and it latently satirizes the self-secrecy of this country's history.
It's very troubling to think that network heads (no pun intended) didn't find this pilot worthy of a series, because there are many less intelligent and imaginative cartoon shows that have been turned into successful series, and that actually may be the reason why this show was turned down. However, in a sense, it may not be so bad that The Amazing Screw-On Head never grew beyond this twenty-two-minute passage. Perhaps the impact of such ideas that seem so fresh coming straight out of left field is greater and will stay as great rather than becoming old hat after awhile as the creators scramble to concoct more premises and build on the show's substance. The animation, like with many cartoon shows, might have scaled up the ladder to smooth, state-of-the-art, computer-assisted animation, and with a style like Mike Mignola's, it must be preserved in the grungy sketchiness that is present forever in this maintained little cartoon.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS: Err.. OK well, it's all really made up, but a metal head that
hops around and interfaces to different robot bodies, that helps
Abraham Lincoln battle ancient alien technologies during the Civil War
era? His arch-enemy is a zombie king whose fetish is to murder ASOH's
man-servants? Just the simple fact that a metal head has a man-servant?
And top voice talent to execute it all? Pure genius. Mike Mignola was
an unknown to me up until this time, but not anymore, I am a follower
and put him in league with Joss Whedon and Peter Jackson in talent and
I accidentally stumbled across the first viewing of this on Sci-Fi when I was skimming another channel in the guide to record for the upcoming week, and the title alone made me go "hmm... sounds interesting enough to DVR", so I did. I eventually got around to watching it a few weeks later and I thought WOW! I have to DVR the series! Sadly, it was shown one more time and then nothing. I'm glad they made a DVD of it, this way I can have a copy forever.
If they don't make this a full blown series then i'll have to say poppycock!
I would see anything that was animated seeing as I am a big fan of the
genre. I absolutely loved The Amazing Screw-On Head. The animation
style is very detailed and because I haven't seen anything like it I'd
also go as far to say it's unique. The story affectionately reminds one
of the comic book style, and it goes at a cracking pace. The sound
effects are always in place and never take away from The Amazing
Screw-On Head's atmosphere. The humour is very off-beat and done in a
hilariously witty way, helped by the snappy pacing. And there is a lot
of it that you are in danger of missing something. The characters are
wonderful right down to the inspired names, the monsters are instantly
lovable, Screw-On Head is a hero one can identify with wholly and the
villains are appropriately sinister without falling into stereotype
land. The vocal characterisations are also spot on, Paul Giamatti and
David Hyde Pierce have seldom disappointed and they certainly don't
here with Pierce especially relishing his role.
Overall, a very aptly named animated short film...The Amazing Screw-On Head really is amazing. 10/10 Bethany Cox
The Amazing Screw on Head is maybe the greatest thing of all time.
No, really. It might be the best thing I have ever encountered. It's got zombies and robots and vampires and werewolves and mummies and demigods and Abraham Lincoln and a freaking monkey firing a machine gun. And all of this over the course of only 22 minutes. Also, there is one scene where a villain smokes another character through a giant hookah.
'Screw on Head' tells the tale of an alternate history for America. Abraham Lincoln uses the titular character to deal with secret government matters, like attacks by the evil Emperor Zombie, who coincidentally used to work as Screw on Head's first butler. After a brief set up, the series goes for total, gee whiz, super colossal, brilliant dada absurdism.
I have never read anything mike Mignola before. I didn't terribly like the Hellboy film and I never saw Atlantis. However, if The Amazing Screw on Head is so good that I think I'm going to go buy the guy's back catalogue sight unseen. The animation is perfect, the line readings all inspired. Everything about this project is flawless.
Unfortunately, this appears to be all she wrote. 'Screw on Head' was produced as a pilot for Sci-Fi channel, and to my knowledge, it was not picked up for series. If there is one flaw, it is that it leaves you wanting more. Also, the mouth movements don't often match the voice recordings. But, that's a minor problem that is only noticeable on the many repeat viewings that this warrants.
I don't know what the MSRP is for this product, but the extras are very slim. The show is only 21 minutes and change and there is less than 20 minutes of additional features (discounting the commentary track). The cartoon is presented in both normal television and widescreen format, but occasionally the animation feels pixely in its transfer in both versions.
The commentary track is amusing and an easy listen with a good balance of technical jargon and good old fashioned anecdotes. The same cannot be said for the storyboard to screen comparison which lasts for under 4 minutes. The featurette is also fairly standard with talking heads praising the cartoon.
The other major extra is the alleged comic book which is not a comic book at all. Instead, it is just a collection of a few pages of character designs, a 2 page essay by Mignola on where 'Screw on Head' came from and 2 original character designs for unproduced episodes of the series.
It is frustrating that some really interesting features are mentioned in the commentary track, but never materialize on the disc. Why they didn't I don't know because, as it stands, paying even 15 dollars for this DVD seems extraneous. The show is brilliant and has great rewatch value, but if you're going to be shelling out hard earned cash, you should be getting more.
The Movie: 9.9/10 The DVD: 5/10
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