25 September 2010

Dead Leaves

What is Dead Leaves (2004)?

Fun. Pure, unadulterated fun. I mean, really, that's the best way I can explain it. At first I thought "insanity," but that doesn't quite work. I mean, the animation is pretty insane, but surprisingly, the plot was fairly coherent.

But yeah, it was fun. It was a lot of fun.

What's it about?
Okay, so two people wake up naked in the middle of a field and don't remember anything about who they are, where they came from, or how they got there. One is a girl with a circle marking around her eye, who takes the name Pandy (as in panda). The other is a guy with a TV set for a head who ends up going by Retro.

The two decide they need some clothes and supplies, so they go on a crime spree to steal themselves some necessities. Then they figure, hey, why not a car? The police show up and a crazy high-speed shoot-out ensues. Despite their overall success, they end up crashing and finally arrested, and they are sent to the prison on the moon. That prison is called Dead Leaves.

They end up breaking out of their cell and freeing the other prisoners through the power of their rocking hot bout of sex. You heard me. It was, apparently, that awesome. The prisoners aid them as they try to escape, including such characters as a man with a giant drill for a penis. Remember where I said it's surprisingly coherent? That's assuming you just kinda go with the flow for some of these details.

Anyway, they end up discovering the secret nature of the prison and start to get an idea of who they are and such. Really, though, the whole point of it seems to be...

Badass animation
To say that Dead Leaves is "well-animated" is somewhat awkward. The animation isn't smooth, as the frame rate is sometimes visible and there's a lot of repetition of frames and such. However, it doesn't feel like it's because the animators were just lazy or something. It's all part of the style, which is just completely over-the-top. There is a ton of stylization going on here. Just watch for yourself.

The film pretty much goes full throttle for its entire 55 minute run. The plot is full of all sorts of nonsense and weirdness, but it never goes all intense cerebral like Neon Genesis Evangelion or even FLCL. The basic plot is pretty easy to follow, and the rest is more just there for the fun of it—just to be silly and over-the-top.

Strangely, it kind of reminded me of Dan Kim's Paper Eleven, though far more light-hearted. However, both are very stylized in their own ways and while the plots originally seem like they are going to be very confusing and obtuse, by the end, it's all fairly simple and understandable.

Not really sure what else to say about it. I'm not going to try and dissect the meaning or something because I don't think that's really the point. The point is to have fun.

Anyway, this made me excited for Redline (2010) all over again, which looks like it's gonna have the same vibe to it, but is coming from the same people who made Taste of Tea (2004), which is one of my favourite films.

As a note, I watched this on Netflix Instant Streaming, so if you've got Netflix and like crazy awesome animation, be sure to check it out. Sadly, the only option is the English dub, but as I said earlier, dubs tend to be pretty solid these days and tend to work fine for animation. I really liked it, though, so I'll probably check out the DVD sometime (maybe even purchase) and watch the original Japanese.

1 comment:

  1. Having just screened the subtitled version at Gonzo I wish we would have screened the dub,

    The subtitles don't really work very well with this movie. its too fast paced so by the time you read the subtitles you've missed something. also not all the movies dialog is translated in the subs, which leads to it being kind of weird when someone says something and its not shown.

    but even so, fun ass gonzo showing. and the shortest gonzo i've ever been to.

    also i'm tagged for some reason. (YAY!)