MT. OLYMPUS DRIVE Image

MT. OLYMPUS DRIVE

By admin | June 1, 2000

This comparatively gentle and more complex Nittoli premise does not suit the filmmaker’s unique roughshod style of animation. It follows the domestic consternation of a mythical Greek cyclops (with the personality of an NYC wiseguy) who rants about coping with the modern racism of two-eyed casting directors. Right off the bat I should say that cute, modern takes on traditional characters never sit very well with me. It’s the sort of “Fractured Fairy-Tale” approach to storytelling that is difficult to pull off without being glib and predictable. Nittoli attempts to keep his edge while infusing his fable with the same kind of ironic humor that allowed animated shorts like Creature Comforts to bring about a renaissance in claymation. It just doesn’t mesh. All of Nittoli’s characters are at least somewhat derivative, but the success of his work in bringing an original “edge” to the screen clearly depends solely on the director following the voices in his own head. The portraits that Nittoli has drawn here seem to come from somewhere else, and his own passions and raw humor don’t come across.
When most of the viewers attention is drawn toward trying to identify the various mythological characters roughly rendered in clay, subtlety isn’t a virtue. Possibly due to it’s longer length and Nittoli’s talent, this offering doesn’t completely blow. Moments like Cerberus the three-headed dog urinating on the Cyclop’s leg are funny. I can’t help laughing when Nittoli’s nastier characters smack-up the weaker ones, each blow verbally punctuated with a Brooklyn-tinged “Ehn! Ehn! Ehn!” Unfortunately these moments can’t sustain even a couple extra minutes of drab social commentary.

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