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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.22%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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by Jay Seaver

"All robots great and small."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: Filmmaker Tyler Gibb can certainly be proud of "Minushi"; although the tools he used to create it more or less singlehandedly are readily available not many have managed to produce a watchable feature-length film with them. The end result, naturally, isn't going to be up to the standards of a studio production, but it shows enough promise that I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Gibb, like Makoto Shinkai before him, winds up being able to command some of those resources in a few years.

Though the title sounds Japanese, Gibb's science fiction adventure was produced at his home in Quebec. It follows a pair of teenage orphans, Trixi and Khal, who flee their home city in search of Trixi's older brother Griffin, who was drafted a year earlier into the fight against the Giants. These multiple-story-tall robots landed on Earth several years ago and mostly ignored humanity until fighting broke out, but since then, the war has reduced the country to a barren wasteland. On the way, Trixi & Khal will encounter bandits, soldiers, a devastated city and the Giants while being pursued by creepy Mr. Tinker and his robot henchmen, who wants something he says they stole from him.

As stories go, it's not bad, and it's nice that Gibb plays it straight rather than winking at the audience or going for self-parody. The first half of the film especially has a very episodic feel: Gibb originally serialized it on his website, releasing a new chunk whenever he finished it. Though it was completed in sequence, it seems to have been written (or at least outlined) all at once; there are no sudden swerves in the storyline that would indicate that Gibb was making it up as he went along. A side effect of this is that you can see Gibb improving as a director as the film goes on. The animation is a little less awkward, and the pacing is much smoother as well. Once things start rolling, the impressive work Gibb has done building his world comes through.

The dialog doesn't improve that much over the course of the film, although that may all have been recorded at the very beginning. There's also the issue of a serialized story feeling the need to bring the audience up to speed every once in a while, and the tendency to recycle voice actors. The upshot is that even when the visual storytelling is pretty good, the film's homemade nature will call attention to itself when someone talks.

The visuals aren't bad, especially when it comes to mechanical things. Gibb's robot designs are simple yet varied, and he never trips up where scale is concerned, so his giant robots all look impressively large. They also don't have faces, which actually acts as a plus - while the animation for the human characters' facial expressions and mouth movements is kind of limited, the robots work through pantomime and tilting the heads on the ends of their necks.

A homemade movie like "Minushi" sort of has to be judged on a sliding scale. If it were to open up in the multiplex next to a Hollywood blockbuster, it would be a tough sell. As a one-man show, it's an impressive accomplishment; it will be interesting to see where Gibb goes in the future.

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originally posted: 07/24/07 11:06:03
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/28/07 Ken White You've done a nice job here Tyler 5 stars
8/10/07 Shawn A brilliant piece of filmmaking... beautiful and action-packed... Gibb is a revolutionary 5 stars
8/10/07 jay awsome ...very impressive ....i say bring it on i wanna see more! 4 stars
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Directed by
  Tyler Gibb

Written by
  Tyler Gibb

  Vidya Lutchman
  Tyler Gibb

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