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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.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

All good things ...

My extended vacation has sadly drawn to an end. Two days ago I commenced this walk only to be driven off the mountains by the heat! England is cold and wet for my return. Austria is the prettiest country I know. Back to work. No holidays in the diary now.

Friday, 3 August 2012

BBC Sport's Trailer for London 2012 Olympic Games

My country has been agonising over our preparations for the Olympic Games for years now, wanting to create an event to be proud of. From what I've seen in the past few days the tight organisation has been splendid with a spectacular opening ceremony, smooth operations, not to mention wonderful competition by the athletes. The British public is massively behind both its team and the visitors from over the seas. Which brings me to BBC Sport's Trailer for London 2012. All the drama is captured here to an accompanying soundtrack from Mercury Prize-winners Elbow that fits as stylishly as the snazzy tracksuits all nations seem to clad their athletes in these days. The animation has come under fire for too closely mirroring the acclaimed Lloyd's Bank series of animated ads, an entirely spurious claim in my opinion. We'd not be British if we weren't knocking ourselves but sometimes it can get a tad wearing. Made by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe (RKCR) the sixty second piece is typical of a classy coverage of the Games by the BBC.  A salutory reminder of what my country can do at a time when I have just returned from a region of Northern Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland Norway and Russia) where the people have won me over as convincingly as the British cyclists, rowers and sailors.