TRUE DESCRIPTION OF THE MOVIE PLOT
SCENE: blue scrolling text
NARRATOR: The War was over... The only survivors were street animals: dogs, cats and rats. From them, a new race of mutants evolved. That was a long time ago.
NARRATOR: Another time, another place.
NARRATOR: Mok, a legendary superrocker, has retired to Ohmtown. There his computers work at deciphering an ancient code which would unlock a doorway between this world and another dimension. Obsessed with his dark experiment, Mok himself searches for the last crucial component -- a very special voice.
Despite the fact that the concept for this story is pretty embarrassing:
humans with dog noses,
Imitation 70s rock and roll still exists in the future,
and to be taken seriously it takes place in a dark post-nuclear holocaust world (like a million 70s and 80s movies),
there are moments of really good modern animation and even a character who has a unique design.
SERIOUS AND COOL 'TUDE FILLED CANADA AT ITS PEAK
The poor Canadian animators were stuck with some bad decisions coming from the top but genuinely tried to do some real animation and and have some fun and show off along the way.
The most unique character design is this villain guy: MOK, obviously a caricature of Mick Jagger. I suppose they couldn't afford to get Mick Jagger to do the voice, so they used Lou Reed instead.
The design is so specific and complex that it would be pretty much impossible for anyone to animate it. It doesn't follow traditional animation construction; it's not made of easy-to-animate pears and spheres - unlike some of the other characters in the cartoon.
Just the lips themselves are hard to draw from any one angle, but Robin Budd completely controls it in full animation, and ignores all the stock mouth animation that had come down to us from Disney and invents his own.
I can't say for sure, but all the designs in the cartoon look compromised by the bad ideas coming from non-animators. For some reason, someone decided to animate human characters because human characters would be taken more "seriously" by the audience. Someone at the top wanted Nelvana to be noticed and respected by live action critics and players I guess. The whole thing has "Pleeeeease take me and my dog noses seriously" written all over it. So of course, no one did.BUT maybe during a committee meeting someone else said it would be easier to animate funny animals and so a bizarre compromise was struck.
The characters all had to be designed stiff and too tall (for seriousness) but then had dog noses pasted onto human faces, which just makes the characters even more unappealing than regular 70s Hanna Barbera human characters.
I'm just guessing, but I bet that Mok has been partially designed by committee. The dog nose especially looks weird on him, because he is so specifically Mick Jagger, the human, not Pluto the dog.
It also looks like The Nelvana signature (square eyes) has been grafted onto many of the characters.
The facial construction of this character is so complex that it's amazing that someone could have actually animated it without the typical problem of melting features that you see in so many modern Disney 2d movies.
Robin Budd was the lead animator on the character and he must be some kind of genius to have been able to pull off such a difficult animation problem. Even though I'm cringing all through the story about how evil can be cured by 70s rock and roll, I'm fascinated by the skill of execution of some of the animation.
This character didn't have a huge influence on Canadian animation later, just because the character is so hard to draw and animate. Only Robin could have done it (maybe he had some good people who followed him too)
The character did influence Disney animator Glen Keane who used some of the characteristics of Mok for his Ratigan character in The Great Mouse Detective.
Thanks to Jenny for letting me steal this off her blog.
Except for the square eyes and long legs, Mok wasn't and isn't typical of the Canadian style , but was a pretty interesting experiment and departure from what was thought of as "animation style" in 1980.
The more typical and recognizable Canadian style traits are all over the rest of the film though.
This is ultra Canadian style.
I'll describe the general traits to look for in these and other Canadian models in the next post. Maybe you can already see them.
Thanks to Brad Goodchild for keeping some Canadian history together for us!