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|Index||21 reviews in total|
This independent film has everything to become a big hit... a solid
storyline, driven from the book by the same name, that leaves you both
amused and disturbed at times. A good soundtrack that leaves it's mark,
but doesn't overpower the art and dialogs. Amusing characters that you
can't help but sympathize with, and finally, beautiful artwork that has
nothing to envy to Hollywood productions, as it doesn't distract your
attention from the story itself.
Reading the book beforehand is not necessary, but will definitely help you catch on to the story faster, as you will not sit there wondering what's up with these wacky Flatlanders while an important part of the plot is revealed.
A must see! I highly recommend it.
If I had a dollar for every time I walked out of a movie theater griping about how Hollywood has run out of ideas, I'd be a rich man. Lately I have been on a spiritual search if you will, to find some truly unique movies and Indie films seem to be the grail. Flatland was an impulse buy for me and I must say that this was the most unique movie experience I ever had. Nothing I'm aware of is more thought provoking for people who like discussing UFO's and Inter-dimensional travel. I can't think of a genre this film fits into. This is a thinking person's film and since I've seen it, I've been trying to explain to my cat what a solid is. I've also named her "Pea Brain". You can bet this film will get some serious looks from the big movie houses.
Back when I was in the 6th grade my Dad gave me a copy of the book. I've read it 2 or 3 times over the years and always enjoyed it. I ordered your movie and recently watched it. I totally agree with the reviews you have received from Film Threat magazine and SciFi.com. You did an excellent job of updating the book to be more relevant for today's audience. The movie was incredible. I loved the character design, dialog, action, and music. Great job! The animation is engaging and completely different than the typical CGI films today. I would highly recommend this film to anyone. I wish you great success on this and future projects. I'm looking forward to your next one. Thanks and good luck!
Literally. Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott was a little gem of a book
which could not be pigeon-holed into a specific genre over a hundred
and fifty years ago and as a result ended up on Science Fiction
shelves. Combining Geometry and Philosophy (and even Religion), it was
an allegory on the human condition, describing a very
rigidly-structured Society where square pegs aspired to fit through
The plot focuses on A. Square, who is led to a series of epiphanies on the Nature of Reality itself to the realization that not only is there an existence beyond his two-dimensional plane in the form of a 3-dimensional universe, but that further dimensions are implied. He learns that appearances are not necessarily all they seem.
Difficult to conceptualize in its reading, Llad Ehlinger, Jr. has managed to graphically express this evolution of the mind. Despite these worlds being populated exclusively by geometric shapes, we are drawn into the story and feel A. Square's transformation as though it were our own, which it hopes to be. Flatland itself is appropriately extremely two-dimensional, yet has endearing qualities. From our hero's perspective, he is at first confused, then exhilarated as he is lifted into the three-dimensional world. We are taken along for the dizzying ride. This is only the beginning for A. Square, who then postulates other worlds with both less and more dimensions. Ehlinger has a sequence which can only be an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey as multi-dimensionality is explored.
As if this were not a big enough task to tackle, Ehlinger expands the storyline by applying some of the original concepts of Governments to their logical path to War. Flatland, both the book and the movie, can be appreciated at many levels. By adding an extra layer, Ehlinger has actually simplified the book.
I enjoyed this movie. It is mind-bending and thought-provoking, with a graphic element integral to its message. A potentially too-heavy treatise is lightened by very humorous details, such as the warbled battle cries of female lines in Flatland, who need to both sway and make noise at all times in order to be seen when not approached from their sides, so as not to pierce unobservant polygons! There is more than meets the eye to this unusual independently filmed and marketed movie. One viewing may not be enough.
This is what independent work is all about. The animation is beautiful,
yet not like any animation you've seen. This is no slick rip-off of
successful style with smarmy pop-culture references; no Disney/Pixar
wannabes here. The director has a vision of his own and makes it
happen. It's a very, very good adaptation of the Abbott novel, witty,
with good voice-work and very good music. There are some mind-blowing
sequences towards the end, but the most impressive quality is the
originality of the vision.
If this is the director's first feature, there are big things in store for him. Don't lose that vision! A film like this gives me hope.
For the Limited Edition DVD-R. This film was leagues more interesting
that I expected it to be--my girlfriend REALLY wanted to see it,
Lay back, sort of sleepy, watch the film. Some early on-screen direction annoyed me but it didn't last far into the film.
I'm not familiar with the book, but this film is a helluva lot of fun and it brings about some great self-questioning about the perception of consensus reality.
The creativity expressed in the various worlds was quite amusing. And it's mostly a family film but there's some language kids might repeat the next day at school (and get in trouble) and there's some very strange violence :)
Well worth a shot, though.
This review covers both versions of "Flatland" released in 2007, one by
Ladd Ehlinger, Jr. with a mostly unknown voice cast, and the other by
Jeffrey Travis with some Hollywood big names providing the voices.
The source material for both is the 1884 novella by Edwin A. Abbott, but the approaches of the two films differ radically. The book is a staple of science fiction, and one of the few to address mathematical issues at its core. Being a product of its time, the book is technically naive, and politically incorrect based on current sensibilities.
The Travis film is visually slicker, but significantly shorter, and tackles philosophical issues relative to the passage of time from initial publication. As such, it tampers with the plot to mixed effect. Unlike some others, I have no problem with some of the revisions to the underlying plot since they do help bring some of the book's major issues into somewhat sharper focus. On the other hand, they also add a "feel good" and politically correct sensibility that seems out of place.
The Ehlinger film is much truer to its source material, which is both a strength and a weakness. Given a current perspective, its 19th century depiction of the political and social subjugation of women is a distraction that the Travis film avoids. It's also a longer film and could have been more effective with some of the same plot and editing license employed in the Travis film. Where it does tamper with the plot, some of the decisions are questionable as other reviewers have pointed out.
So which is better? In my opinion, the short answer is the Ehlinger film. Despite its length, political incorrectness, and technical inferiority (the animation of the Travis film is much more sophisticated), it resonates at a technical level to a degree that the Travis film can't match. As a scientist, this means a lot to me. On the other hand, the Travis film resonates on an emotional level that the Ehlinger film can't match. So the answer may be whether you're looking for technical insight or emotional satisfaction.
Most jarring in the Travis film is that, unlike the Ehlinger film, the animators never quite caught on to the implications of a two-dimensional universe. It is filled with objects which are instantly recognizable to us, yet would be clearly impossible or meaningless in the film's reality (e.g. the protagonist's daughter has toys which only make sense to someone with a 3-D perspective, and how does he open his briefcase?). The cover art is an obvious first impression example. The Travis film's characters look more human, but ask yourself how their eyes work. One detail of the book is that looking at a Flatlander from above, all of his internal organs are clearly visible, as they should be. Travis' animators hint at this, but don't meet it head-on. The Ehlinger film's animators may not have had the resources to make as slick a film as Travis', but they obviously gave a great deal of thought to what they were doing (or maybe not, since the necessary designs were all in the book). In short, Travis had the budget, but Ehlinger had the passion for the project - albeit perhaps a bit too much respect for the source to create a truly superior adaptation.
The differences reflect different target audiences, though. The Travis film is an educational short film which was obviously meant to be viewed by classrooms of middle school and high school students. As such, it had to be socially inoffensive while conveying concepts of geometry that would never occur to non-mathematicians. That it includes recognizable names voicing the characters will help it grab a bit more attention - an educational short film for the "X-Files" generation. The Ehlinger film would mostly appeal to people with a college level interest in mathematics, or others who are already familiar with the book.
Neither film is perfect, but I'm giving the Ehlinger film a rating of 8 and the Travis film a rating of 6. Depending on your sensibilities, your conclusion may be exactly opposite of mine, so I hope this review includes enough information to guide you to an informed selection.
Or, like me, you could simply buy both... ;-)
flatland has always been a magic book for me, as math itself although I
was never VERY good at it. My average ability as an engineer to
comprehend the mysteries of both the world of science and the social
sphere, were given a true boost with this magic allegory. I purchased
the film two times so far, one for my husband and one for a friend, and
each time I watched it it revealed something new. The animation, I find
it superb and the storytelling brilliant. Just brilliant.
I only wish there were subtitles to it, as English is not my mother tongue and I struggled enormously at first with all these terms and the peculiar accents. I shall definitely jump to buy the subtitled edition too when it comes out! Not to mention I am truly looking forward to the sequel!!! Flatterland - my last summer reading I mean. How does this sound Sir Ladd?
I have to say, I love this film. I bought is as soon as the special release was available and my DVD is numbered #11! The detailed animation in this film is very impressive. The intricate inner workings of the Flatlanders blew me away. I mean with a bunch of characters on the screen you could see all of their eyes blink, hearts beat, etc. I was simply amazed at the level of detail. I never read the book but the story is really great. It really makes you wonder what's beyond our 3D world. My kids loved this film also. They keep asking if they can watch it again. It's really cool to see the different things the kids pick up on, and how they interpret the film. The film is deep on many levels. The music was spot on and fit each scene just right. I would highly recommend this film to anyone! I'd love to see this in the theater. FLATLAND THE FILM RULES!!!
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most innovative and bizarre films I've
seen lately, and I can tell you I see a few every week! The graphics
are just wonderful - probably not so high-tech as you can see in some
stupidly expensive Hollywood productions, but who needs those when the
beauty is in what those flat characters say and show us! Well, maybe
those who don't have anything to say...
The use of the different dimensions and the explanations that the characters use to make us understand are of the highest level -- lucid and intelligent, it's a really thought-provoking film, one of those few left out there! ...And what's more, it's even funny at times!
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