There aren't nearly enough stop-motion animated features out there. And, although Talk Like A Pirate Day is less than a week away, Aardman's The Pirates! Band of Misfits won't be out for another six months. But I'm temporarily satiated after stumbling upon Adam Elliot's Mary & Max, which I seemed to have missed two years ago. Although the themes are similar to those in the director's previous works ("Uncle", "Brother", & "Cousin"), this film is neither creepy nor depressing. It's a little bit quirky, and absolutely charming. Check out the trailer:
Instead of spoilers, I'd like to share one of my favorite little details from the film: The Noblets. It's an animated cartoon that both Mary and Max watch on television. I'm always fascinated to see animation depicted within animation. How do animators pull that off? When it's done right, an audience can distinguish between "real life", "live-action film", animation, and even fantasy sequences -- all within an animated world. It's amazing to see so many distinct styles gel together in a single piece. Mary & Max may only employ the two styles, but I think they pair very nicely.
Simmon Keith Barney is an animator living in Fort Collins, Colorado.