Voices Of A Distant Star was released in 2002. Excluding the score and sound design, the entire thing was created by one person. The writing, directing, animation, editing, production design, and even voicing one of the main characters (in the original version) was all done by Makoto Shinkai. Three years prior, he helmed She & Her Cat, again, more or less all on his own. Both of those films, and his subsequent releases, all look jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Why then, nearly two decades on, does the Epic Gravy Films animated comedy Chuck Vs. Satan look as horrific as Rapsittie Street Kids (which was also released in 2002)? Okay, let’s clarify a bit. Chuck Vs. Satan looks slightly better than that infamous monstrosity; maybe a half step up, character movements are smoother. Yet, considering the vast amount of time between Chuck Vs. Satan and Rapsittie Street Kids, this film might be the bigger cinematic sin.
“Cindy’s parents are Satanists who plan to kill Chuck as their final sacrifice to summon Satan…”
High schooler Chuck is facing an existential crisis, questioning why humans are born and his place in the world. His best friend, Paka, laughs off Chuck’s concerns. But things begin looking up for Chuck after he meets the new girl in school, Cindy. The two hit it off more or less right away, and soon start dating.
They go to a carnival and plan to attend the school dance. But, she is keeping a dark secret from Chuck. Cindy’s parents are Satanists who plan to kill Chuck as their final sacrifice to summon Satan to this realm. They cause a string of terrible events to befall Chuck, such as causing his mom to die in a car accident. Now, aside from having to navigate his lack of faith and deal with stupid customers at his after school job, he must find a to stop her parents, defeat Satan, survive, and take Cindy out.
As already stated, Chuck Vs. Satan is beyond appalling to look at. From hair to shirts, chalkboards, and chairs, everything looks smooth and shiny. The character movements are pretty basic, but at least, are not as jerky as their blocky, bland designs would suggest. But the humans in this movie also appear to be made of wet noodles. While movement is not twitchy, no seems to have a skeleton. Arms hang there like a jump room, and legs seem to bulge out, as opposed to having proper knees. Each character apparently has a spring in their neck, as head turns are limited as if it is wound as far as it can go. Nothing and no one has any substantial weight to them, so they just kind of glide across the screen. It’s all just so unsightly, ugly, and mind-boggling.
"…beyond appalling to look at."