Early Thoughts on Renaissance
by Alex Billington
July 20, 2006
Although I'm a bit tired given that it's 1AM after preview night here in San Diego for Comic-Con, I wanted to take some time to voice my opinion on Renaissance, the French motion-capture animated movie that I caught a screening of tonight.
I have to say first and foremost that the animation style on this movie is not only amazing but incredibly unique and, dare I say, groundbreaking. I feel it has opened some great doors and amazing possibilities for many more movies in the future. It's similar to the Sin City style but still unique. Watching it was honestly like looking at a pencil sketched comic-book in live action; even more so than both Sin City and Scanner Darkly (too movies which I am very fond of it). This style really helped escalate the elements of the film to a much more in-depth level without worrying about nit-picky details. Attitude Studio, the studio that came up with the idea for this animation and is the one who is working on movies with this style, has a great future ahead of them. We have an interview with Marc Miance, the guy who came up with the original visual concept and started Attitude Studios, on Sunday, and will have the chance to talk to him about the future and this amazing animation.
As for the film itself overall I enjoyed it fully. After watching another film-to-animation movie, A Scanner Darkly, recently I've realized that these sort of animated films often lack a strong storyline that can keep progressing smoothly and interestingly throughout the entire film. Renaissance stood out in that its story was considerably riveting and drew you in until the end to get an explanation to what happened and "solve the mystery." This itself was quite fulfilling, but on top of that the acting (if it is even criticize-able given it was just motion capture) and French-style action scenes and car chases were excellent. It had an intriguing fading transition that often split scenes and certain moments that really helped maintain the smooth feel overall.
I would guess that some others may criticize Renaissance, but as always it's up to personal opinion. It does a great job of meshing the various philosophical and action elements together into a good story. On the negative side, there are some moments where it seems to build up more and more and you want to get into a moment where it just explodes into a full-on tense scene, but it never does. It fades away and destroys the hype. I feel like if it kept going and went right into that it may have been just that little bit better. These minor moments are the only parts that take away from the otherwise well-done film.
Although it is not as profound as a true-blown Japanese anime nor is it as action-intense as Sin City and Hollywood action films, it is still a wonderfully unique and revolutionary film from France with fantastic animation. It deserves some more recognition and a fan base so that Attitude Studio and Miramax can realize how inventive of a style this truly is and continue making movies in the same way. I hope to see it gain a strong following on its US release date of September 22nd.
That's all for now from Comic-Con.
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