Re: Whale, Whale, Whale [THAC XV]
An absolutely amazing entry! The unique take on the theme was great, and I really appreciate the fact that you didn't use minifigs to make it more original. A creative film created in only 24hrs!
Re: Whale, Whale, Whale [THAC XV]
DISCLAIMER: This was THAC. You only have 24 hours. It's not easy, and no THAC brickfilm is ever perfect. I know this when I write the detailed review. IF IT COULD BE PERFECT, what could have been added/changed/improved? When we think about all these details in retrospect, we are training ourselves to think about them the next time we sit down to make a film.
This was one of my favorite entries.
It has a unique setting (underwater) which surprisingly wasn't very unique this year as there were two other films that also took place underwater. But to me this had the best impression of being underwater. The lighting, the set, and even the shallow depth of focus lent itself to invoking a deep-sea ambiance. Set on the ocean floor, we meet three whales Pink, Blue, and Green (The Good, The Bad, and The Goofy). The first and establishing shot really does a good job of carrying that ambience, which is important as it sets the tone for everything else. Pink makes her way through the frame and the focus follows her as she enters her apartment (whales have apartments, the nature shows never mentioned that...) Then we see a glimpse of Blue who has obviously been following her, but he backs away as Green (who is speaking to himself) enters the frame. Green is carrying on about what a lovely city this is, and now he's made it to his new home.
What's interesting to note is that the animation is all done using clay to hold things in place. With the exception of Pink's eyes, everything that moves is moving with clay as its hinge. I personally like to use clay, but I am a bit of a stickler about hiding the clay from view or even using colored clay to camouflage with the surfaces that it is holding (I had a shot in my own THAC entry that didn't try hard enough to hide the clay and I'm a bit miffed with myself about that). This film has clay EVERYWHERE. Under the whales, holding Green's eyes in place, and holding Blue's eyebrows on, and helping Blue hold his gun, and helping Green hold his camera. If it weren't a THAC film, this would be a cardinal sin to me...
The Whales' eyes are the only moving part on all of them, which is a little disappointing, because some tail movement would have been nice to see. BUT. The eyes are animated, and they are the "window to the soul" If you're going to limit how much animation you do with a character, you'd best choose wisely what you WILL animate. And Rioforce definitely did choose wisely. If it wasn't a THAC entry I would expect that the mouth should also be animated too. The sloped brick that forms the lower jaw could easily had a 1x2 plate added to drop it lower, and the revealed studs would have made excellent teeth.
So Green gets out his keys and enters his new home (keys are sfx only, but still worked). That door entry though... revealed a light behind the door. It was nice set lighting before he opened the door, but after it was open we could see it in plain view.
Once Green is inside Blue follows him in, and he's got a gun. Blue is an oafish brute, but he's not stupid, though he plays ignorant in order to manipulate Green more easily. The writing isn't overly complex, but the voice acting is superb. Blue as a character is someone you immediately hate. He is a bully and he coerces Green (at gunpoint) to help him follow Pink and gather "evidence" that she "robbed" Blue. They proceed to have a montage of Blue and Green stalking Pink as she goes about her day. Blue is able to confirm Pink's address (right next door to Green) and he reveals that Pink has "betrayed" him in some fashion. Maybe Pink Cheated on Blue, Maybe she just broke up with him, it's never explained. Instead when Blue makes his move to confront Pink, Green comes in to the rescue and knocks Blue out. Cue stereotypical "Love at First Sight" moment. He says he won't betray her and that he lives next door. The two are paralleled as they each say "Ah, what lovely people in this fair city".
What happens to Blue?
I can only imagine that Pink takes his unconscious body, cuts it apart and sells it to whale hunters. We don't know.
The voice acting is great. The animation is pretty good aside from drops of clay left everywhere, and the full story arc is noteworthy. The ending might be cut a little short and corny too, but it is by no means a bad ending.
The biggest qualm I have with the story overall is at the beginning Blue pretty much sees where Pink lives. So, why does he mess with Green at all? Why go through the extensive charade of "gathering evidence"? The only explanation I can think of is that Blue wants to confirm that's where Pink lives, and if he goes in and makes a ruckus Green would come over to find out. Instead he's included Green, who still comes in and knocks Blue out cold (nerd power). A simple adjustment in "blocking" for Blue would have sold it a bit better that he really lost track of where she went in that very first shot.
On the whole though I really enjoyed this film.