Monday, November 24, 2008

Minuscule: Hypnotic, Hilarious, Brilliant

[Media] Minuscule is an animated series produced for France 2 by Futurikon--and I have to admit, I've became so enchanted with it that, in the space of two nights, I ended up watching more than a dozen 5-minute episodes. (Later, I found out that it's supposed to be a children's cartoon--but this 40-year-old found it to be beautiful and entertaining. Minuscule is no more a "children's cartoon" than Looney Tunes or The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.)

Minuscule is about the day-to-day travails of tiny creatures--snails, ladybugs, mosquitos and the like--doing their best to get ahead in a bucolic environment. Presented sans dialog, the series still manages to endow the various species with distinct personalities and characteristics. Dragonflies are bullying louts; ants are militaristic, disciplined and capable; flies are working stiffs, practical but easily annoyed; ladybugs are sassy and defiant; caterpillars are peaceful, idealistic and very hungry.

The characters are modeled in CG and then, for the most part, inserted into an environment of real-life footage of the pastoral French countryside. With its minimalistic yet expressive soundtrack, the result is hypnotic, beautiful and very funny. I'm hoping it'll be released on Region-1-format DVD in time for the holidays--I'd love to share it with my friends.

It's one of the best things I've seen since the Wallace & Gromit cartoons--and it puts to rest the common neocon complaint that the European democratic-socialist system of government somehow stifles creativity.

Here's "La Coccinelle" ("The Ladybug"):

(Brandon Burt)

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