A surprising change from a US based animation studio.
I absolutely loved this animation when I first saw it at Siggraph 2006. Though I could easily consider it an animated work of art based on the visual aspects of it alone, the one thing I loved most about it was that the animation studio took a divergent path in telling a story that was more or less tragic, something which is normally left to Japanese animators. I think the American audience is still on the fence about considering animation as a valid medium of expression but hopefully films such as this might help pave the way. I also found it amazing that while the style was highly realistic both in appearance and behavior, the artists where able to successfully communicate emotion through simple gestures and small changes of expression. You never forget they are rats, but you given just enough visual cues to become involved without things resulting to typical disneyesque behavior. I think that's the reason that the film has garnered so much attention. I really hope to see more from this studio since they seem to have a pool of great talent across the board. As to though who still ask how anyone can get emotionally evolved with a story about rats, I think Roger Ebert said it best in his review of Grave of the Fireflies; "This film proves, if it needs proving, that animation produces emotional effects not by reproducing reality, but by heightening and simplifying it, so that many of the sequences are about ideas, not experiences."
- Oct 10, 2007
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