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Friday, 31 August 2012

Jacob Stålhammar "The Cats of Mars Meet the Toy Car" (2010)

Back to earth. Or not. The Cats of Mars Meet the Toy Car is an unusual piece of work, indebted to the verse style of Dr Seuss, utilising public domain music from films as far back as 1937 but more usually in the 50's, and the vocal talents of Jeff Crackower for the English version and singer Freddie Wadling for the initial Swedish recording. The actual animation may not be state of the art but this is not the object of the exercise. What Jacob Stålhammar achieves is utterly charming. In a style from a different age of animation, and an era when space was the frontier that captured the public imagination, Jacob presents a whimsical tale of cats, residents of the planet Mars, who befriend a space robot on a voyage of exploration from Earth. After consuming fish and playing piggy-back they journey by magic carpet and beam back to Earth amazing footage of the planet. And all the while there is that often crackly but always exquisite soundtrack to add to the perfectly soft voice of the narrator. From what I can gather, Jacob designed his creations to match his rhymed couplets, learned to paint with gouache on cardboard, taught himself animation, and produced a novel film, already screened around his native Sweden. He includes amongst his talents stand up comedy. I'll bet the guy is also good at that.

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