While in California last November for CTNx I sat with my mentor and we shared our feelings about the animation industry. He then suggested that I check out his good friend Mark Mayerson's blog, "Mayerson On Animation" and so I did. Last Friday Mayerson posted about the movie "Twice Upon A Time", a movie that sounded familiar though I could not recall it specifically. Mark described it as "an animated feature that uses backlit translucent cut-outs in stop motion". The Film was produced by George Lucas and directed by John Korty and Charles Swenson.
Mayerson posted about the movie because it was going to air on Turner Classic Movies Sunday morning at 2:15 am. Hey goes on to say that
"The 1980s were an odd decade for animation. Disney was rebuilding, Don Bluth was attempting to overtake them and Bakshi was in his rotoscope period. The decade also saw lots of independent animated features that were interesting but failed to have much box office success. It wasn't until the later '80s, when Disney got back on track and Spielberg got involved with animation that a new normal was established. Prior to that, films like Twice Upon a Time, Heavy Metal, Grendel Grendel Grendel, The Plague Dogs, Rock and Rule, The Adventures of Mark Twain and When the Wind Blows were looking to take animation in new directions, but due to inexperience and audience prejudices, they failed."
Thanks to DVR I was able to watch "Twice Upon A Time" and boy was it an experience! It is a really unique movie in the sense that I'm not too sure who the intended audience was or is or should have been...maybe? I enjoyed the treatment of textures on the characters and their environments. I also enjoyed how integrated the live action elements with the characters and created stimulating sequences and the multiplane usage when it came to animating within actual photographs and still frames.
"Twice Upon A Time" is a very important film, for the reasons that Mayerson mentioned but also because it is so uncenventional when compare to the animated features that were created befor and after it. Even though it has all of the elements of a Disney or Don Bluth film it stands on its own.
I'm happy that I was able to watch this movie and experience it for what is and its contribution to animation. For all who are interested I just found out that BAM will be screening it Tuesday Feb 24 at 7:30pm. The director John Korty will be there for a Q&A and tickets are currently on sale! Enjoy the trailer below!