Nor did he have a budget. The Absurd, Surreal, Metaphysical and Fractured Destiny of Cerebus the Aardvark has a budget of zero. The director and 200 others all worked on this on a volunteer basis. It took 14 years to complete. 14 years! That is some Linklater-like dedication right there. Imagine working that long on a project without knowing whether the rights holder will approve of the final product. Lucky for all, Sim did grant his approval and declared that this is the official Cerebus film. And what a fit for the poster aardvark of independent comics, as movies don’t get much more independent than this.
As one would expect for a production cost of nothing, there are rough edges. There are some sound mixing issues, including complete dropouts and dialogue muddied by the music track. Also, the look of the animation on the human characters is definitely a decade ago in the rearview mirror. However, the animation on Cerebus himself is excellent, making the character stand out starkly against the backgrounds, just like in the comics. Also, the camera angles are great, as is the lighting.
“…movies don’t get much more independent than this.”
The script and general vibe are slavishly faithful to the comic books. I can’t imagine the godawful changes a more commercial production would have imposed on the adaptation. The Elrod sequence, in particular, is a showstopper, with its mix of Elric and Foghorn Leghorn. Also, there are several blink-and-miss-it cameos from the books, including Jaka and Red Sophia.
Simonsen includes post-credit sequences, both hinting at adaptations of the later adventures of the aardvark. The first stinger recreates the cover art to the second graphic novel, High Society. The next sequence, which plays after the credits, hints at the main character’s time as Pope. I have already watched The Absurd, Surreal, Metaphysical and Fractured Destiny of Cerebus the Aardvark three times. I plan to watch it several more times, as I cannot believe this was made for nothing. Simonsen could do some amazing things with this property, but please, someone get him a budget! I can’t wait another 14 years for the next installment.
"…Simonsen could do some amazing things with this property..."