Thursday, November 19, 2009


Animated story

One of the many forms of stop-motion animation is clay animation. Each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around a wire skeleton called an armature. For feature-length productions the use of clay has generally been supplanted by rubber silicone and resin-cast components. Regardless of the medium used, the object is arranged on the set, a film frame is exposed, the object is moved slightly by hand then another frame is taken. This cycle is repeated until the animator has achieved the desired amount of film. It is an extremely laborious process.
Normal film runs at 24 frames per second. With the standard practice of double-framing (exposing 2 frames for each shot), there are 12 changes made for one second of film movement. For a full-length 90-minute movie, there would be approximately 64,800 stops to change the figures for the frames. Great care must be taken to ensure that the object is not altered by accident, by even slight smudges, dirt, hair, or even dust. This technique is not for everyone.

Bethany Whitmore: Mary Daisy Dinkle, 8-year-old Australian girl
Renée Geyer: her mother Vera
Philip Seymour Hoffman: 44-year-old New Yorker Max Jerry Horowitz
Eric Bana: Mary's Greek neighbour Damion
Toni Collette: Mary as an adult
Narration by Barry Humphries

A simple well told tale of two lonely people reaching out to find understanding from someone. With time given to each, the characters are fleshed out well enough that you can really get to know them. The story spans twenty years and is a mix of the serious with many laugh-out-loud moments. The voice work is terrific, the expressions and images well done and I just loved the soundtrack.

One more thing: although an animated film it’s target audience is not children because it deals with subjects they would have no interest in nor would they get a lot of the humour. And there would be the problem of having to explain certain things like the manner of dog procreation which appears on screen several times. This and the frequent potty-type humour may not appeal to everyone: for that reason it loses a star.


Mary flips through the telephone book and spots the name M J A Horowitz. So when she addresses the envelope she would have no way of knowing his first name is Max.

There's something special about stop-motion animation with its slightly jerky, less-than-perfect motion that cannot be matched by the more sophisticated, technically superior CGI method.

I read somewhere that often they managed to shoot just four seconds in a day which is the main reason it took them over a year to film it.

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