Monday, 21 June 2010


Written by Pamela Pettler.

Story by Shane Acker.

This one has been on my to-watch list for quite sometime, but at the last minute became my next read and strangely, first animation screenplay. Captivated by its trailer and visuals a year or so ago, as well as the powerhouse of talent behind it, it was a highly attractive premise and film to see. However, all details other than an unclear focus on the main character's look and its setting had been lost with time. So I went in happily with a clear head on this. But did it deliver to its potential? The verdict is: Absolutely!

The story centres on a newly created Ragdoll (a unique hybrid of disparate parts), as he comes to life and enters a world recently left in ruins by war and no longer with humans. Void of a voice box and understanding, he meets another ragdoll like himself, but one with older and more primitive features, who advocates himself as a friend. But soon the Ragdoll comes face to face with the horror that stalks the wasteland and finds himself separated from this companion and only friend.

The screenplay was an enjoyable, somewhat profound, and exciting on-the-edge read. It appears in headed sequences with various other shooting script style cues, which gives insight into the feature animation process (where primarily different teams of computer animators create a separate sequence of the script at the same time). It also features heavy cues to dialogue delivery, which aids voice/emotional performance and subsequently facial animation.

The main character is intriguing and sympathetic from the outset and exhibits human characteristics, predominantly; a likeable strong will to survive and motivation to do the right thing. The other characters are exceptionally written and portrayed as emotionally complex individuals with their own motivation, flaws and unique character traits. They are an interesting band of characters who could easily be realistic live-action characters and were a pleasure to read.

Its world and description was rich and vivid, and brought to life the atmosphere and carnage of post war. It carried a fleeting place with each moment and encounter propelling the story forward via new information and/or character development. There was never a dull moment and it was over far too soon. However, as a whole, the story and its characters followed an interesting and entertaining development arc that led to a satisfying and exciting conclusion. It ended as well as it began. Quality throughout.

The story is primarily about courage within an unknown and unstable environment and the importance of following your heart and embracing your right for survival and understanding. Not retreating to the shadows against a larger and more powerful foe to live in fear.

Under the surface, it's ultimately a message about war, and a strong indication to a future point in time when our advanced technology and machines of war will outgrow us. A time where instead of creating weapons to fight an enemy, we are creating them to inadvertently become our successors and carry out our own extinction. But ideally within that in some capacity, the human soul and its spirit will endure, and hopefully thrive.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this now and can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to it. I'm even more excited as it will be viewed on my new HD LCD television. There is a God!

You can read 9 here.