Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|It Came From Animatus|
Actors: Mike Boas, Dave Puls, Fred Armstrong
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
Animatus Studios has compiled three cartoon series into one DVD: Derf the Viking, Su & Mo!, and Fresh Toones! Derf the Viking: — * The Scent of Valhalla — * The Quest for Happy Hour — * The Search for the Great White Ale S... more »
Wackiness Ensues with the Best of Animatus!
Don Andrews | New York, NY USA | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a compilation of fun, unusual animation from independent animation house Animatus Studio.
Some of the cartoons aren't for young kids, but my 11 year old son and his Cub Scout friends are crazy about Derf the Viking. The edgier jokes are on par with what you'd see on the Simpsons (much tamer than Family Guy or South Park).
Derf begins as a sort of Wile E. Coyote character in "The Scent of Valhalla," but then takes part in more epic stories with "The Quest for Happy Hour" and "The Search For the Great White Ale." Fans of Norse mythology will get a kick out of seeing gods like Odinn, Thor, Freya, and Loki depicted in cartoon form. In "Quest," the gods need Derf's help to save the world, but he's so self-centered, he doesn't realize what's going on. Loki is the antagonist in "Search," and he sends Derf on a long journey just for his own entertainment, but all his tricks seem to backfire.
The commentary track on "Search" is very informative. Fred Armstrong, Dave Puls, and Mike Boas talk about the evolution of the Derf character and the process of putting these cartoons together. Their studio mainly does commercial work and websites, and these pieces were done using up and coming student animators and local talent. The results are really astonishing, and you can see the improvement over course of the Derf series.
Su & Mo advertise themselves as crude and rude, and that's a good summation. They appear to be sumo wrestlers, but it's not about wrestling. They're filmmakers (animators, like creators Dave and Fred) who take part in exotic dancing to earn money for their films. The first cartoon, an amalgam of toons that premiered on the web, shows the two large men dancing for fanatic women at Club Hippendale's. The next episode, "Lost in Animation," is where the story really takes off. They stumble through shooting their animated film, take a wild plane trip overseas, and make a big impression at the "Tokyo Jokio" film festival. Things get really surreal when their piece is shown just after an (accidental) screening of an autopsy film.
Apparently, Dave and Fred have based this festival adventure on actual events, and I believe it. I've run into these guys at a few film fests, and they're just as much fun as their sumo counterparts!
Fresh Toones is a series of musical shorts from Dave Puls. He writes and sings his own songs, then produces animation to illustrate his work. These cartoons vary in style and content, ranging from the straightforward kid-friendly "Fresh Toones" and "Things" to the political commentary of "True Believer" and "Sharks in the Water." The earliest pieces use traditional hand-drawn and cut-out methods, while the latest use high tech tools like After Effects. You can really see how Dave has enjoyed pushing himself in terms of technique and content over the years. Be sure to check out fan favorite "Sal Monella's Deli" for the grossest diet plan ever.
It's good to see an independent release with attractive packaging, easy to navigate menus, and an abundance of extras. In addition to the Derf commentary, there are two Derf featurettes, plenty of pencil tests, and a short storyboard comparison.
"It Came From Animatus" is an ambitious independent DVD that should interest those looking for animation outside the mainstream. Fans of cartoons from the likes of Bill Plympton and the "Avoid Eye Contact" should find plenty to like here."