Friday, January 2, 2015

Rare Flix: Gandahar (1988)

As always, let's usher in the New Year with something weird, crazy and Foreign.  Today's film is Gandahar, a 1988 Animated Film that comes to us from France.  Ah, France- you are both so cultured and so in love with the ridiculous.  How do you have the Louvre and your highest-grossing Film ever be a crass, stupid Comedy?  How do you love Jean Paul Sartre and Jerry Lewis?  It's weird.  This Cartoon is full of weird imagery, a surreal Plot and just general insanity.  An idyllic Society is under attack, but they don't know why.  They send out a hero- naturally, he's named Sylvain- to find out, which he does.  However, knowing what the problem is and how to stop it are two very different things!  Fun Fact: Miramax bought this for U.S. Distribution (with some minor Edits and Dubbing) as their first Film!  Interesting choice, Mr. Weinstein.  I got this Film from my Brother quite awhile ago, but it just didn't make it past the other 'Ooh, I need to see this!' Films until recently.  In spite of that, I have to share this bit of crazy with you.  To find out what too many faces on a torso looks like, read on...
While this Film is not about Nudity, it does have a bit of it randomly-dispersed throughout in a Natural Geographic sort of way.  This Cap and the timer attached to it are 100% true.
Anyways, the titular City is under mysterious attack by some creatures.  Their silly heads won't help them now.
Sylvain is sent out into the outskirts to find the cause of the attacks and hopefully stop it.  Sounds easy enough to me.
He runs across large creatures, deadly swamps and...the outcasts of his City cursed with mutation.  She's got you beat, 3-Boobed Chick from Total Recall!
He also runs across a lady to fall in love with.  She doesn't add much, but she is decent eye-candy.
The villains are a group of Robots who worship a mysterious pink blob that they claim tells them to destroy all other living beings for purity.  Resistance is futile!
The only way to stop the Robots is kind of weird.  You see, the blob is not evil, but can't dissuade them either.  So...

It tells Sylvain to travel to 1,000 years in the future and kill it then.  A Time Door will then allow the situation to be fixed in the Past.  Make sense?
He goes to the Future- where all but the misshapen are captives and seeks out the blob, who is now...well, you figure it out!
He manages to destroy it- despite it apparently changing its mind after 1,000 years- and he manages to destroy the Robots as a result.  One Time Door later and the day is saved...apparently.  The End.
This is quite an odd Import- to say the least.  The Film feels very similar to other Sci-Fi Cartoons like Wizards and its ilk.  That's not to say it's a knock-off; it is just a similar vibe.  This Story is wholly-original in most ways.  The idea of mechanical beings vs an idyllic Utopia is a common enough one.  The idea of Nature vs Man-Made Monsters is also pretty common.  The way the Film puts it all together gives it enough unique imagery and style to stand out though.  The dull black of the Robots juxtaposed with the surreal use of shapes and colors of the people from the city is notable.  The creatures are even quite neat, like giant crabs and a lizard.  The misshapen people are certainly the most notable people here, as their designs are all over the place!  Gandahar is certainly not for everyone, since its dream-like qualities and bizarre imagery won't appeal to all.  It is not my favorite kind of Film, but it is hard not to respect the amount of detail and work put into this one.  It is one of those Films to look back at to remind you that 2-D, hand-drawn Animation has a certain timeless quality to it & that creativity could certainly still reign supreme.  If you like the weird and fantastical, this one is for you.  If your only Cartoons are stuff like Toy Story (not that it's bad!), you may not like this one.  It does have my new favorite line though...
Next up, another late-to-review Film Present.  It features insanity so Divine weirds even me out a bit.  Stay tuned...

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