Sunday, February 27, 2005

Broken Saints (2001) - * HIDDEN GEM *

Meditative and perfectly paced, there's nothing broken about these Saints

Genre: Experimental Animated Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller Mini-Series (Canada)

Starring: Michael Dobson (Jin-Roh;"X-Men: Evolution"), Colin Foo

Directed By: Brooke Burgess

Overview: Four people from four corners of the world sense a great evil rising. They follow their faith and come together to stand against the epic foe.

Acting: The actors only have their voices to portray their emotion, and since it isn't actively moving animation, their job is even more difficult. This is obviously the reason that they speak their words with such import and weight. It may seem melodramatic at first, but it's actually quite refreshing to have someone enunciate their words with long breath. Kamimura's voice is my favorite, very meditative, even in anger.
Rating: 8

This was originally made as Flash animation, for an internet audience. Now three years later, it's available on 'CBC on Demand' (if you have access to that) but you can watch the whole thing on the internet too if you like, for free. Also the DVD is available... Point being, this is new and innovative, a totally different medium and the animation style is daring, because it necessitates an enormous focus on the script, as not much else goes on. The cinematography is all about framing, timing and conveying the tale in a minimalist fashion. These guys pull it off so well... I was blown away.
Rating: 8

The script had to hold the whole thing together, without a doubt. It's all poetry and epic speeches, marvelously eloquent and deep. The four main characters are so different from one another it's like they were written by different people. This is one of the best scripts I've ever heard (and read), no bullshit. It's as grandiose as the tale, and it really makes you think, because they don't forcefeed you the plot, which means you really have to pay attention.
Rating: 10

The plot is pretty basic. Four people get visions and they have no idea what's going on, but they follow them to where they lead. You know by Chapter 2 what the idea is, what the plot's going to be, but by Chapter 16 (half way through) all four characters haven't even joined together. This is what makes the story great. It's not all action and 'get-the-job-done', it's a huge part self-discovery and self-doubt. I mean honestly, what would you do if you had visions? I think I'd be real cautious too. And it doesn't end all fast and hard either, it takes it's time. This is really great.
Rating: 8

The mood made the medium work, the voices and the score reinforced that perfectly. The delivery and the theme of this mini-series complement each other so well it's almost like Flash Animation was made just for Broken Saints. Either way this will leave an indelible impression on you for a while. When the action starts, things speed up and though it's slow in comparison to actual rapidly moving scenes, it still puts you on the edge of your seat. All in all the epic importance of what these guys are doing in the face of all the danger, you really feel it along with them. Wow.
Rating: 9

You can't quote my favorite book and expect me to think it's no good...

Overall Rating: 86% (Absolutely Terrific)

Aftertaste: This is not the sort of thing that you may necessarily like, it's very different, very Graphic Novel, very slow in it's delivery, but instead of wondering when it'll get there, you really find yourself just enjoying the ride. I love the fact that even though it's so long, it's split up into these 10 minute segments and you can watch the chapters whenever, online or 'On Demand'. It really didn't feel like 12 hours. I'm waiting for more from these guys. I wish everyone would watch this because maybe we'd start having better television in the world. I fear that this will stay a hidden gem forever, but I'm trying to do my part to let the world know about it.