Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Renaissance? Renaissance of What?

I just finished watching Renaissance. It’s an animated film out of France that takes place in the near future, a bright, sunlit “Bladerunner”. If you’ve seen the trailer, or the ads for it running as a sidebar on sites like aintitcool, you know the cool shtick is that it’s all black-and-white. Faces are ovals of negative space, in which float lips, noses, and most of all, eyes. It’s very much in the style of those pseudo-erotic, very simple art pieces that were all the rage in the 80’s. The artist had a name like Olivia or some such, but I can’t remember it now.

Anyway, the art’s neat, and only occasionally swerves into being pretentious and too fancy for its own good. There’s a strong computerized feel to much of the animation, but the black-and-white keeps it from feeling like some sort of Pixar-noir. Neater stuff was done to better effect in “Serial Experiments Lain”. But if you’re fascinated or excited by the art you’ve seen so far, you might want to check it out. Don’t bother worrying about the story, however. It’s a horrible mush.


Seriously, the writers were so lazy, or the story so chopped up in editing, that they couldn’t even be bothered to go through the motions of presenting their clichés. We have the tough-guy cop who gets suspended part way through the story, but that doesn’t seem to interfere at all with him using official police resources afterwards. His opposition is the nasty evil medical corporation. We know they’re mean and nasty because… er, well, because they’re a corporation, and we know that corporations are all nasty and evil, right? They do kill some people about halfway through the film, seemingly just as a matter of course. But to show just how despicably and unabashedly evil they really are, it is revealed that their secret plot is research that might lead to human immortality.

Yeah, really. Immortality. No more death, no more disease, no more aging.

No, it doesn’t require that they harvest the spinal fluid of poor children kidnapped from the slums of Asia or anything like that. It seems to be a fairly simple and safe process. It doesn’t reverse whatever problems you had before, but it does seem to provide eternal youth and eternal health.

Which is evil. Because, you know… Big corporation, with immortality serum they sell at the grocery store. Evil! Right. No more disease, no more death or suffering from old age. Evil! Because, well, because…

“Without death, life has no meaning!”

That’s a quote from the movie. No, I’m serious. And no, they don’t provide any sort of support for that thesis. We’re just supposed to believe it because the doctor who stole his research on immortality and spent his life working in a clinic for the poor says it.

Of course, that didn’t stop him from using his research to save the life of his younger brother.

And, in the end, our “hero” saves the world from immortality by shooting the young researcher who was on the verge of rediscovering the medical breakthrough that would make it possible. In the back. And then he lies about it to her older sister. So he can bang her.

Um, yeah…

Seriously, unless the art really floats your boat, don’t bother with this one.

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