BMZ Review: Cyberworld (3D)
By Herb Lash
BMZ Review of Cyberworld
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: Feb 2001
Cyberworld 3-D has a little secret. It's not a real movie, it just acts as one on Imax screens. Like Encounters in The Third Dimension, CW3D is essentially an assemblage of the latest in 3-D animation (much of it is stunning.) The large format film is too easily mistaken for an original, single themed animated story - those expecting a story will be disappointed. But those interested in seeing several nuggets of spellbinding digital animation will be greatly satisfied.
The producers here have created the thinnest of dramatic constructions in order to link eight very separate animated installments and form of a single coherent whole. Jenna Elfman is the voice behind sexy sprite from the future Phig - our guide through the eight rooms of a Cyber Museum of 3-D animation. While the Phig moments are great to look at, they aren't all that entertaining - Phig is a sort of bad awards show host. Step through a Cyber Museum door, leave Phig behind and get a taste of some weird, spooky, funny and inspired animating. With the exception of the ANTZ and THE SIMPSONS entries, none of the animated installments are much more than creative storyline samples.
It has been said that given enough time, a room full of monkeys with typewriters would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. MONKEY BRAIN SUSHI is the first animated clip featured in CW3D and it seems to somehow be related to the monkey/Shakespeare experiment. Not quite Neanderthal apes are chained to computer consoles and use their free hands to bang pipes against the ground. An unnerving techno rhythm develops and the place begins to resemble an underground rave on bad, very bad, drugs. Also in the trippy/intriguing category are the Morrisey themed LIBERATION (floating winged heads flutter through a cloud top metropolis) and KRAKEN (massive rhino-whales are harnessed to drifting sky ships.) The animators are in a sense freed of the responsibility of storytelling because of the time constraints - all that is left to do is dazzle with imagery. There is no storyline, no explanation and no featured characters - but the 3-D digital work being done here promises something very good for the future.
A specially created scene from ANTZ and a six-year-old SIMPSONS episode are the least impressive in terms of animation and invention - but both are mildly entertaining for their gags and pratfall antics.
CW3D viewers might suffer from false expectations as they wait in vain for a story to develop. Animation enthusiasts have long attended the Spike and Mike Festival of Twisted Animation film series - a handful of animated shorts carefully selected and then simply spliced together. Spike and Mike filmgoers always know they are in for a potpourri of styles and images. Those willing to forgive the absence of any real story will find in CW3D a peek into the alluring future of digital animation.
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