Sunday, 27 March 2011

Two Tales of My City

Sylvan Chomet's The Illusionist is based on a undeveloped Tati project about an out of fashion magician who bumbles around on a search for gigs that takes him from London to the Western Isles and finally settling into Auld Reekie of the 1950's. The stunning watercoloured animations are peppered with little dialogue, mostly burblings, slapsticky humour and a big bucket of whimsy. Chomet's insistence on old school animation is admirable (though by account a quite frustrating experience for those involved) but regardless the overall look is lovely with a familliar wispy/misty light infusing our country and he expends plenty of effort making Edinburgh look rather splendid, with tonnes of archictercural detail and even the Crags get an appearance. Sadly it's gossamer thin and somehow I found some of it's charm gets worn away by the insistence on old fashioned laughs. A beautiful ode to the city but there's barely enough plot to fill it's 72 mins.

John Landis' take on the Burke and Hare story stars a bevy of familiars as well as a couple of half decent leads from Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg and with all the comedy chops involved it's surprising it just isn't that funny. Sure there's some nice comedic murderings and a few good lines along the way but it's laboured with a romantic subplot that sucks up way too much screen time and you need something with such a hackneyed tale as this. Landis focuses on the dark closes and dangerous steps that litter Edinburgh and I guess those are suitable spots for the homicidal bumblings but he lumped for all the most obvious locations. Anyways it's not a terrible film just a really average one.

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