Sita Sings the Blues Review
Yet Another Public Domain Work
Alright, I know I've already given Nina Paley the succ in my December BUAFY, but I've been thinking about this bloody film for the past two days since I decided to write this thing, showing up in my nascent memories before I fall asleep and dream about short cars on a long, Canadian highway, and generally when I start thinking about a thing that's when I know I have to write about it. As it turns out, there is only so much that bile fascination can take you when writing, as is the case with that one time I reviewed a Spongebob game for way too long than I should have, or my big article about Valve. Yes, I won't let my memes be dreams, but when it comes down to my best work, it comes from a place of passion. Incidentally, I've been looking more favourably on that Valve article given that what I wrote in it is, you know, true. This had the odd side effect of making the uninitiated think I'm a hypocrite, but I pray you will be....... initiated.
Ask yourself this question: if you had 10,000 hours, some old-ass records from a dead lady in 1920, a copy of Indian fairy tales, and the sheer dogged determination to make an eighty minute movie despite lawsuits, starvation, and aimless ambition, what could you make? A fucking miracle, more like! Well, that's Sita Sings the Blues - a fucking miracle. It's a miracle because of how it was created, a miracle that somebody had the brilliance to create it, and a miracle that it still exists to this day, all released into the public domain for anybody to use, and that people can appreciate it for as long as it exists. It's a story of just what somebody can do when they're given the most basic resources available to every human being on Earth: time, and effort. Sometimes making magic is just spending more time on a thing than anybody thinks is reasonable, and the key theme here is having the effort, the discipline, and the conviction to go through with a project and finish it despite what reasonable people think. That's how miracles are made, after all. When reason fails, magic happens.
While movies aren't my specialty as compared to other things I was addicted to in my youth, and thus had the good fortune to learn an ungodly amount about, I've discovered a newfound respect for animation and the arts these past few years, and so in my limited capacity in understanding the arts, I feel I may make a noble contribution to them by taking a look at this wonderful film. Barring that nobody has "filmed" anything within the past seven years or so, one must respect a discipline that has the potential to not only tell epic stories, such as in books, but can also show it, using all the techniques that the visual arts entails. I will not make any excuses for sounding like a liberal arts student. I will not apologise for bringing up "cinematography", a word which give me a shudder due to its foreign nature. I will apologise for that time where I accidentally knocked my cat off my bunk bed. A few dozen times. My apologies, dear Drunk. Yes I had a cat named Drunk, what the bloody heck are you going to do about it?
Why I watched it:
I have absolutely no idea how I came into contact with Nina, or Paley, or Nina Paley, or Paley, Nina, or whatever the convention is for bringing up people's names is. I'd calls her Spongebob if that would make things simpler, but unfortunately calling people Spongebob doesn't do well for either of our reputations, bar the cat I named Spongebob who had a seizure shortly after birth and I had to put it a plastic bag and smash it over my head with a sledge. Christ, this review got dark.
So a frog walks into a bar with a sledgehammer. "Strong frog", says the bartender. And that's the entire joke, because frogs don't usually carry sledges. Now a frog walks into Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is a joke, scathing cultural commentary ahoy. But this frog walks through the section of Wikipedia that deals with free culture, and though the pictures never get updated, they are always pretty to look at once in a while to see what happens when the censorship that is copyright gets blatantly ignored for the sake of creating such pretty things. And of course he gets angry, and to get rid of the pronoun charade, of course I get angry. I get angry when I see that the common sense principle of people contributing to a culture, giving free ideas to your neighbour and enlightening both them and yourself because of what you create, being thrown away for the sake of some greedy motherfuckers, to quote Penn Jillette, who want to take all of that away for holding ideas hostage until you pay money that you, in all likelihood, cannot afford to spend. I'm right fucking pissed that we have every opportunity in the world to get everything in the world for free, forever, at no cost to us, and yet be a victim of the artificial scarcity, the "you can't have that unless we say so", of copyright.
Because copying isn't theft. It's the most basic linguistic principle you can come up with, but copying is making another thing, and theft is taking a thing so that person can't have it anymore. I used to argue with my law teacher over this, and he called it "arguing over semantics", but it's not arguing when they are literally two different definitions. It's like the difference between assault and murder - there's no ambiguity over there, because they are two entirely different things! And when I saw, and let's use her first name for the sake of saving a byte, Nina's "Copying is not theft!" badge, I knew that she was on my side.
And that's important - because when you see somebody like Disney sue a group of cartoonists for two million dollars (archive) and demanded to imprison (archive) a despot middle-aged-man for six months for having the gall, abolishing copyright isn't just abolishing the enemies of our world, it's actively abolishing the means for evil like this to happen. And let's not mince words here: when a billion dollar company drags out a court case for eight years, threatening to jail somebody unless they paid up what is to them the equivalent of a twenty dollar bill, ruining somebody's life for getting almost nothing in return, then that's the evil of the modern world. This is what happens when you put a company which exists solely to manipulate money out of people beyond the basic common sense of your fellow humanity: fellow humanity gets fucked, every time.
And I'm bitter, supposing I have the right to be, that I'm supposed to be a criminal for enjoying the media that was given to me, given to the world, if only I had the currency to pay for it. Well, no more! I checked out Nina's background information and found out she was a cartoonist. I guess this means that she would have made some cartoons, hmm? It's only natural that a hooker hooks, so popping around Wikipedia and finding examples of her cartoons meant that I had a lead onto the cool train to funkytown. Behold, mere mortal, the glory of Sita Sings the Blues, as represented by like four screencaps, on a website that won't even post the cover of a video game on the main page because they're afraid some cunt is going to sue them for profiteering off of the world's free and unlimited knowledge. Incidentally, I have to wonder why Wikipedia text is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike and not into the public domain, if they want their knowledge to be free. I suppose copyleft is mean to ensure the content remains free, though I would have really liked to see an experiment with a public domain Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia article for Sita Sings the Blues, and I suppose I'm obliged to write out the entire title of Sita Sings the Blues every time I bring mention to Sita Sings the Blues so Sita Sings the Blues may pad out my word count of this Sita Sings the Blues review, was pimped out by and for Nina's influence, and I appreciate very much her doing so. Because one of the driving motivations behind me seeing this movie - this movie being Sita Sings the Blues - was because of this still frame from Sita Sings the Blues. That image, with its combination of ancient art, modern vectors, bright colours contrasting with subdued ones, and the distorted teeth and fingers of the shadow puppet, all gave rise to a feeling like I was experiencing something that is both appealing to me as an artist, and unfamiliar to me as a person. It was a very conflicting feeling and one which I am glad to feel, because it is these foreign feelings which is at the core of all of art. It shames me to have no better word for "art" than "art", because the word "art" has been marketed as something meaningless at this point, used to express too much in too little, and yet the entire meaning behind that word does express so much. If I had a better word, I would use it, because to abuse this word so much is a disservice to my interests.
So I saw the image, and I knew that, with the efforts provided by one crazy bastard in making the film, and the whole copyright fuck-you involved (well deserved fuck-yous indeed), I had to watch it. Right away. Not some other point in the future like I shovel away things that I think I'll like, only for them to go half a year before finally looking at them and wondering why I didn't indulge in them sooner. But right now. So I watched it the very next day, in the twilight times where I have just enough sentience to focus, yet not enough to think about anything conflicting, and I indulged the entire thing in one go. And I'm proud of that, because it means its was something really, really good. Something worth watching, and not just skipping away like the nerd that I am, deciding to move from one easily-digested property to the next, as I absorb knowledge like a parasite. It was a movie I savoured and a movie I still think about. And that's special, and so I must talk about it.
How it works:
Sita Sings the Blues is the touching story about an Indian lady named Sita as she goes on quest for the Burger King Limited Edition Chicken Fries and the McDonald's Monopoly Quarter Pounder with Cheese, fighting off the legendary Munchies of Old. And there's singing, too, but then that's a bit on the head. You play, sorry, project yourself into the role of a helpless old bint as she waits patiently for her asshole husband to solve everything for her, because this was the Scary Times where if you were born the wrong gender you automatically lost all sense of self-determination. There's also a Monkey King, or as I call him, Le Combatte Monkee, who boldly fights the patriarchy and represents all of Monkeekind, until he becomes the servant of Sita's husband despite having the resources and the army to start his own kingdom. Aren't religious fairy tales great?
In reality the whole plot is an old rag meant to showcase the real stars of the series, which is the four (maybe five) different art styles and how they interact with each other, blending together into one epic story about a woman whose entire life revolves around a man who got banished from his kingdom because his dad's wife told him to. The moral of the story is you must enslave your women, or else they will seek to destroy you. Listen, it was the Scary Times. People still believed in God back - oh wait. Well at least the world has evolved, to the point where a woman is just as equal as - oh wait. At least you can fuck a monkey without suffering any ill effects whatso - OH WAIT.
This is the big problem I have with ancient literature, aside from being devoid of the modern masterpiece that is Twilight Sparkle Eats Exactly Two Bananas: everything is either about God, or is full of characters that act like they're on some big old quest for the epic truth of the world, when all they're doing is dicking around waiting for some mystic bullshit to happen to them so the plot can be advanced and the next nonsensical scene comes up. Nothing happens because the characters will it, but instead because the characters are being willed by the act of God. So everything is about God, after all. Well, that isn't entirely true, considering how you can read tales of burly Greek dudes fighting mythological monsters, but considering nobody sucks eachothers dicks it's a missed opportunity. I'm a fan of the "visual novel" approach to literature - the more blatant fanservice, the better.
But this is about India, the country of dualities. At the same time you have beautiful architecture devoted to the kings of old, you have some street beggars shitting right next to it. A bit like China, or your mum's house. I'm going to propose a metric that determines the quality of a country based on a combination of pretty-looking landmarks and the amount of people shitting next to them at any given point in time, thought I was sadly banned by the United Nations for my anti-terrorism "Dungeons and Dragons" proposal, where you give them all the weapons and nukes they want until they get bored and leave your mum's house. Naturally India and China would rank in the middle of this list due to the all important shitting metric, with France on high, and Finland being disqualified to the virtue of not existing.
So about that fanservice, there isn't much at all. One art style features a bunch of shadow puppets talking about the absurdity of the thing they are forced to narrate, being just as self-aware as anything else in this series, E.G. a lot. I won't say they're taking the piss, seeing as they're just talking as opposed to a part of the action, though it's clear that the movie understands the silliness of the thing it's portraying. Most of the action happens with the cut-together ancient paintings, featuring all the dialogue that we're supposed to fall in love with, and is the most concrete of the styles. After that section ends up a vectorised music video featuring the copyrighted music from a singer who died thirty years ago and those cuntbag distributors wanted to censor from this movie, and it shows a lot of courage to take songs that had nothing to do with the story and manage to integrate it in so well - especially considering the limited art style of vectors. There's also a traditional squiggly animation where we learn of Nina's heartbreak with somebody else, following the events of the fairy tale nicely, and multiple scenes where a cat's asshole is plainly visible. I never knew whether to tag those little "X" button assholes as explicit or safe. You'd have to be a pathetic sort to jack off to them, and as we all know~! If it's a cat, it's probably not sexual!
I especially like the vector artwork because of how limited it is. This isn't because Nina is a shitty animator - though if she was, she'd probably be doing anime, because as we all know anime is full of cheaply-made crap with no emotional depth or complexity that exists only for the sake of selling toys - wait, that's Disney. What the artwork serves is to tell a story without being obliged to make the story look as visually impressive as possible, which is what most anime serves to do, and as we all know all anime is just flash and spectacle designed to create the most generic "impressive" looking dialogue and fight scenes without any regard for story or - wait, that's Adult Swim. Oh, Christ, why does the United States make such awful work? Look at our work - we have Corner Gas! And uh... The Nut Job. Oh fuck it, all animation is bad. Let's all regress into the primordial sludge we came from and look at cat memes all day, because that's better than what we're suffering from.
With the vector art, it's never about what's directly being represented on the screen, because if you look directly at it you'll find a stiff and somewhat awkward-looking series of models, practically being a beginner's guide on how to use Adobe Flash. All the transformations and character movements are obvious, as are they too often reused. But I'm not one to complain about re-using content; I've been draping the same site design for seven months, and it works just fine. Same with what we have here, with the animation working just fine. You see, the professional knows that the best work is not the work that is most "realistic" or is obliged to follow practices beyond what it sets out to do. And the vector art sets out to be a symbol in launching the story, portraying limited motion to express far greater scenes than are being displayed on the screen in front of us. It's about envisioning what is happening rather than bearing witness to it, and I like that. I like it's efficiency, I like its candour, and I like how the audience isn't expected to partake in a culture of needless spectacle. And for what it's worth, the music videos are spectacular in their own way.
I'm guessing you don't need a recap of what goes on in the story, because it hardly matters. I wasn't being entirely honest when I said there was no fanservice - there is an unbirthing scene at the end where Mother Earth, casually baring... her bare... breasts, absorbs Sita into the fucking earth and then she becomes a God. I'm guessing, because dissecting what the fuck goes on in religious texts is like trying to dissect a bad fanfiction on DeviantART. The plot of the movie actually is straightforward, in that you're never confused as to what's happening, nor does it really matter that it only happens because of multiple contrivances and violations of common sense. My feelings towards plots is that it doesn't matter how they happen so much as they do happen. I don't mind that Gandalf the Asshole Wizard recruits The Hobbit (from The Hobbit) on some grand adventure for no reason, so much as the adventure was grand. And it was grand, very much so. But I do mind when the adventure pulls something out of its ass as opposed to telling a functional story, such as Gandalf disappearing for a whole movie, or Gandalf using magic to bail the team out of a tight spot and nowhere else, or Gandalf showing up out of nowhere and telling the Elf King to go fuck himself. Basically fuck Gandalf. And those bears at the end of the last movie. But fuck Gandalf.
The difference between an acceptable handwave and an unacceptable asspull is like what happens in Super Mario Galaxy. "Mario, you have to collect the seventy macguffins!" Alright, fine, so long as we get good gameplay and levels and holy shit it actually was good. "Good job Mario, but now you need 120!" Alright, fine, might as well get our money's worth, or the time we spent torrenting the thing and the cost of the VPN used to cloak it. "Thanks Mario, but to see the true ending, you have to do the entire thing all over again as Luigi!" And at this point I say "fuck it" and go play Wind Waker and collect the seven magical birth certificates. "Thanks Link, but now you have to collect seven other ones I never told you about -" DEAR SINFUL NINTENDO WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
I read a piece of advice from the South Park creators (who have been forever damaged in my eyes thanks to that episode suggesting that transgender people should succumb to centuries of oppression and just be who you're born as) that says you should always continue a story with "and because of this", and never "but then", because if you ever catch yourself writing something along the lines of "Mario successfully saved the kingdom, but then Bowser showed up for one last fist fight", then it probably wasn't a good plot (discussing the plot of Mario games oh how silly I am). But if you write something like "Mario successfully saved the kingdom, and because of this Luigi showed up and demanded a go at it before he gives up the best ending"... actually, that's shitty too. I'm guessing the advice takes some practice to get used to.
Basically the movie is built around the trappings of the source material, and give the Indians some credit, it manages to be somewhat sensible. There may be the scene where Sita gives birth to two twins that doesn't really matter at all, and the ending scene where her husband is a sexist dick and causes Sita to get unbirthed, but so long as the animation is good and it's reasonably funny and the music videos manage to be as awe-inspiring as the rest of the animation, then so be it. And like I said, it is awe-inspiring, which is why I did the review you fucking natter. And then he started to talk about things that existed for entertainment value that doesn't have much to do with the rest of the review, but it hardly mattered, seeing it was less about the topic at hand and more about the journey experienced through reading about it under the convenient foil of Froghand, leading to great topics being discussed that you would have never cared about otherwise.
Wait, so what's the plot again? Well it's an old religious story about AND THEN HE CUT TO THE NEXT SECTION WHILE THE FUNDIES WERE DISTRACTED.
How I felt:
There is a particular scene at the very beginning of the movie featuring a pulsating series of hearts, all stylistically and thematically different from one another, alternating rapidly, beating in time to the pop music backing it up. Given how any one of those images could have been copyrighted or what have you, it made me wonder at an instant how things that nobody expects to be repurposed, such as those theoretically-copyrighted illustrations of hearts, can be taken and made into a work of art, even without the knowledge of the original artist. And if credit is given, there is no certainty that the artist knows their work is being used, meaning they cannot give themselves credit for having made it. We're facing the problem of creating a culture where people may use anything for any purpose by abolishing copyright - or at the very least making it exceptionally weak - and yet when you are using works made by dozens of other people, attribution becomes cumbersome and complexly incomplete. Just like snippets of videos on the Web, we are entering a little anarchy where everybody may take from the commons, give back to it by creating another work, but not telling anybody that this is happening.
There's a persistent problem with the idea of "credit", and the idea goes that your right to earn attribution for a work outweighs the right of a person to use it at any time and with the least amount of restrictions. It sounds psychotic to place it like that, saying that people should be able to use works like leeches without consequence or even telling the audience where the source material comes from, damaging the audience who might want to see the source. And when it comes to single uses of somebody else's work, like a joke or a derivative image or a fanwork of a property or a character, then it's quick and easy to give credit where it's due. But when it comes to making art that are full of these dozens of individual creators, then attribution just becomes a bureaucracy. If you make a collage from a hundred different magazines, are you expected to name the photographer of every single magazine? If you redistribute a collection of computer programs, are you expected to name each and every programmer, or even company, that worked on it? Now that's psychotic. The choices are either to create a happy anarchy, or to create a barely-happy bureaucracy. I stress that the bureaucracy always stifles innovation, by forcing rules where none need be.
I have found that when it comes to credit, real artists don't care too much about it. The people who go to work every day making their establishment cleaner, more efficient, and better to inhabit, don't care that every single detail they contribute to is attributed to them. They don't care that they took out the garbage, or dusted off the shelves, or straightened out the packages and the books and what have you. What they do care about is that the work they do stays done - that the project they worked so hard on, perhaps a giant pyramid of books, isn't carelessly tossed aside by somebody who doesn't care about the quality of their work. A job well done is its own reward, so to say. In fact, I have many images on my hard drive I may never share, all made in GIMP, that are well-constructed and made out of projects used to learn about how GIMP works. I recreate images with my own hand, and the artists don't know that I'm recreating their images, and nobody knows that I even made them at all. But the work is its own reward, and I don't need credit for having made them, and the artists don't need credit for having made their work, because its existence is its own reward.
But of course, when it comes to selling work... well, then you do need credit. Lots of it. You need to get paid, because that's essential business. You need to imprint yourself onto it, because the customer needs to know who to trust. When you go into a store, you better make sure your work has your name on it, otherwise you and your audience will never meet eachother. A businessman cares very much about his credit, because to do so otherwise would kill the business.
As I've said before, even free art is a business, because a person who creates a work and shares it expects to be seen, and to do so otherwise would damage the brand. An unsourced image on a booru damages the artist, because their art will never be seen by a fan who admires it. A sourced image, however, among dozens of other sourced images on the boorus, will lead to a massive boost in your popularity. Not only is your work being seen, the people seeing it knows that you're the artist! The smartest artists are those who use these boorus to promote, because it's a very good deal for them. You give a little bit of your time learning the tags and the standards, and you get a lot by having your work be accessed every day, just by people popping through the tags. It's a brilliant system, one that flaunts copyright by giving artwork the right-to-be-seen that it deserves. Copyright only gives you the power to censor these services, and artists who join a blacklist of "don't post my work here", are enemies of culture. From a business standpoint? Fucking idiots.
I take comfort in the knowledge that I may recreate any image on any booru, because I have the privilege to ignore what the law says, and simply indulge in the culture that I have been born into. If an individual wants to censor me outside my head by using draconian copyright laws, then so be it. They are an enemy of culture. They must never be patronised. But when it comes to the point where I am thinking about copyright inside my own head, where I have to ask myself "Can I use this?"... then that's self-censorship, and that would also make me an enemy of culture. It is sad to say that it is convenient to self-censor in this way to avoid legal troubles, but we must understand that one does not create progress without ruffling a few feathers. It is like planting a tree without disrupting the ground beneath it, or making a castle without moving stones. We must learn to ignore copyright for the sake of stopping censorship, and for the sake of earning our culture. Any trouble that arises out of that can be taken... outside my skull.
We must agree that, on the whole, giving credit where it's due is a good thing, benefitting both artists and audiences by allowing the audience to meet the artist. We have to understand, too, that the audience may use the artist's work, credit and all, without the artist ever knowing, so it's not a completely mutual benefit. The limitations come when you are trying to credit dozens, if not hundreds, of people who create a work, such as the programmers I mentioned, and this is one of the instances where it is safe to express our privilege to simply ignore credit. But on the whole, it is a good thing, and the bureaucracy is more of a theoretical issue than anything worth fetting over. The glory of ignoring copyright is that you also have the right to ignore attribution. Consider it an "ignore all rules" card, which must be invoked carefully, lest you end up damaging the commons you create.
I don't need to know every single artist who created every heart in the sequence at the start, and I wouldn't go look up every artist if I did have their credentials. I once again point you to the boorus, where there are dozens of artists, all of which I may indulge in because of the beauty of their work. Even without credit, their work is beautiful, but giving credit by giving a source, a name, something! That benefits me immensely, by allowing me to continue enjoying their work, and listing them as an inspiration. Even if credit is not given, I will recognise the work for the beauty it contains, and I will look at it for far longer than any other work that doesn't pass my interest. The right to have the image uploaded, albeit unsourced, is much better than to have that right stripped away from us by artist who choose to censor people who upload, and so will never been as seen as they could be. These artists have taken a thing of beauty away from us. And for what? I can't answer you - I am not ignorant enough to answer why I would ever want to take that feeling away from you.
Credit is not necessary for these artists, because their work represents them as a whole, and is recognisable to anybody with a knowledge of them. Do you think Picasso needs credit for his work? Do the artists in the Louvre need credit? To the ignorant - sure! We credit these artists so that people can continue to enjoy their work. But do they need credit? If I parody one of Picasso's work, the same work that cannot be placed into the public domain because of our copyright laws saying we have to wait over a hundred years before we may enjoy the work of one of the most famous artists of all time, then do you think Picasso will suffer? Let me remind you that Picasso is dead! He doesn't care anymore. He can't profit off of his work. We credit him, because for those who are not aware of him, and feel the same impact with his work as he intended to exhibit, then their privilege to look at Picasso's work is as good as our freedom to share it without credit.
Professionals don't need credit to make good work. A real artist doesn't need it to continue working. They will make regardless, and though the credit benefits them immensely, we must know it is not needed. So if I was to take Sita Sings the Blues, a public domain work, and remove all mention of the people who made the work, then it would be totally within my rights to do so. You would already know, if you are a fan of Nina Paley, who made the work, and so it would not be a major disservice to those who are in the know. But for those outside of the know, then it is necessary to credit her so that they may indulge in her work. It would be an excellent work with or without credit, but given that we now have the privilege to avoid crediting her, thus as she had the privilege to avoid crediting the artists who drew the hearts (perhaps she did, but I wouldn't know), we may now understand the full extent of our freedoms under our wilful ignorance of copyright, and these are freedoms we must exercise responsible in order to create a healthy culture of liberated artists.
You have the freedom to use Sita Sings the Blues, every portion of it, for whatever you like (except for those scumbags who keep the Annette Hanshaw songs under copyright, and let me remind you, the singer is dead and can never profit off it). Whatever you choose to use this freedom for, it is excellent that you have the privilege to use it. Even if it remained under its former license of Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike, you would still be free to make copies under the copyleft terms - assuming you honour them, of course, though given Nina's later renouncement of permissive licenses as calling attention to copyright when it should be ignored, I must wonder what she will continue to license her works as.
Oh, wasn't this supposed to be about the movie? Ah... Sita Sings the Blues is an animated film involving people who may or may not have done things a very long time ago and we can imagine the probability of that happening is lower than not.
What I learned:
Not a damn thing.
Your faithful froge... Froge.
The exciting conclusion:
It's been a long time since the start of this review to the end, and I suppose it should bring some warning signs up for you that I am talking about the circumstances around the work as opposed to the work itself, making you think I didn't find it worth praising at all. Using my excellent power of inference, I may infer based on the tone of this review and the fact I found nothing to bitch about within it, that it is a good movie. Is it something that will perhaps revolutionise your life? Question mark? Well, no. But then that's implying something needs to be revolutionary to be worth watching.
If you're the type of person afraid of any media that doesn't have at least three tits per second, then this isn't for you. It has battles and an affectionate satire of the source material, but I would not say it's something everybody has to see, because the people who would be most interested in seeing the work are those who, too, have put their blood, sweat, and tears into passion projects that aren't given the credit they deserve. There's an expression saying that it's not a wonder that you see a bear dance well, but that you see a bear dance at all, and that's partially true here. But the difference is that the bear does dance well, and it does a happy little jig in a variety of styles, but most dances aren't something you can describe to people and say "Wow, you gotta look at this!" because it's such an intangible feeling.
My benchmark for whether or not I review something is based off how much it occupies my thoughts after I'm done seeing it, as well as three or four other factors such as popularity, notoriety, overall quality, contrarianism, memeness, and all of this mangles the spectrum a lot. This movie occupied my thoughts for hours after I watched it, while I was falling asleep, but not in my dreams. I've had far worse properties enter my dreams, such as DOTA 2 continuing to pop up despite me having quit that game years ago, except for that one afternoon three weeks ago where I played for eight hours straight and thought to myself "Holy fucking mother of all shit, was this all I did back then?" and then ritualistically dissected it lest I relapse into the type of degenerate who actually does play DOTA 2 for eight hours every day, as opposed to something like writing, or playing music, or being a decent human being. The point is that this film was good enough to think about, and that's good enough for me.
I guess I have to summarise, eh? Oh hell, is four paragraphs really a summary? Who knows now? Alright, watch this film if... you're the type of guy who likes Don Hertzfeldt. I don't - I watched "The Meaning of Life" and was amazed at how simultaneously boring, obvious, and heavy-handed it managed to be, without me mustering even an inkling of effort to call it pretentious. "But the animations are pretty!" Oh shit, the animations are pretty! Let me dedicate my dissertation on how pretty they are, while I think about how a message that could have been compressed into two minutes by a competent storyteller ends up taking up twelve whole minutes, with the same handful of scenes playing, because the only people who got time for that are the hippies blazing up while watching this. It's not even a revolutionary message. "Everything is meaningless?" Yes, you truly are one of the great thinkers of our time. Maybe it's just an "artifact of its time" thing, where people weren't nihilistic by default and such a message would actually have some imp- oh, made in 2005? In the post Invader Zim years? Never fucking mind!
Alright, so I just realised that my rambling about completely unrelated things is the exact same thing that Family Guy does, and now I'm ashamed for having realised it. If you're the type of person to have even heard of Don Hertzfeldt and have some understanding of his work, it means you respect animation enough to enjoy this film, and understand some of the processes that go into it. It's sort of retarded, I know, but it's the best way I may describe the type of person who would enjoy a movie like this, because that type of person is likely to create movies like this. Myself included. So watch it. Or don't. It's not like it skins my ass, or however the dismissive saying goes.
It was like a dream - Froghand.
Today's page was updated on 2016-12-30 and created on 2016-12-26!
Animators are the nuttiest artists, fortunate normal society doesn't have to deal with them.