ASTROTURF Image

ASTROTURF

By admin | August 9, 2000

This animation showpiece is basically a short vision of technology through the ages, and through the jutting, bulbous eyes of a handful of colorful, potato-headed 3-D humans and robots.
We begin in 70,000 BC with a caveman looking every bit like a devolved and twisted Mayor McCheese. Our hero beats himself about the head with a shillelagh, until he somehow sparks an intellectual Kubrick-esque evolution that allows him to dream up the pre-historic video game Pong. The examination of men and machines continues, culminating with a visit to the near future and a wacky robotic dog, who’s frenetic break-down is traced back to a missing screw lost in hispacking materials; a chilling warning of technology misused. Aldous Huxley, eat your heart out!
Cinema, even when computer generated, lives and dies on the ability of the characters to advance the plot or further the filmmaker’s ideas. The collection of nuts (and bolts) who populate this sparsely furnished CGI landscape are, perhaps, a little too wide-eyed and vacant to advance much of anything. On the other hand, the designs are clever, the animation is clean and professional, and the director has clearly injected an original, personal style into his creations. The film itself is not as empty as the characters’ heads. Haig is trying to illustrate the idea that man has sought to replace himself and his organic environment with machines and maybe the filmmaker’s point is that to sit alone in a machine fabricated world with a vacant stare has become mankind’s greatest aspiration. Point made, but fooey! I want my animated friends to emote and say “Doh!”

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