Friday, 6 November 2009

Chris Shepherd "Ax Men" (2009)

The Internet is full of stickmen. Any half-baked newcomer to animation can create them and they are addictive. From Slinky Pictures’ Chris Shepherd, comes the viral Ax Men with stickman and axe. It aims to promote the US show Ax Men on The History Channel. Viral is an interesting word creeping into the lexicon of media folk. The aim is to create something catchy that does the rounds of the Internet or whatever and attracts attention to a product. Now Chris is not even a quarter baked and his saga of axe man is compelling in its increasingly frantic orgy of destruction culminating in the unkindest cut of all. This man massacres trees with a zest, ingenuity, aplomb - a mad sap lust. The Matrix and Bruce Lee are mentioned by the studio as inspiration but what about the trees. Just imagine the virus gets out of control, unconfined, teenage maniacs armed with hedge trimmers let loose on the world’s forests. What sort of an example is that for impressionable young people? Rob Neilson and Jack Stephens were responsible for initiating the bedlam, Jason Kotey and Rob Ward charged with the execution. Inventive, funny stickmen but what an example for society. Trees should be loved. But it wouldn't be half so much fun. And of course the twisted humour of it all becomes very clear to me when I hear that director Chris is from Liverpool, the beloved city of my higher education days.

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