Thursday, January 29, 2009

On Those With Too Much Time on Their Hands

Michael Jackson is being sued again, this time by director John Landis, who claims that Jackson has withheld royalties for the landmark music video "Thriller." MTV and Jackson were at their heyday. Everyone wanted to (and did) see that video. Landis, who directed Animal House and An American Werewolf in London, was the perfect choice for the humorous horror spoof featuring a werewolf Jackson, a Living Dead Jackson and a bevy of zombie back-up dancers in perfect, stiff-jointed time. It was a sensation (and still holds up as loads of fun today). I always laugh when Michael says "I'm not like other boys," and adore hearing my dear, underrated Vincent Price saying "ya'll's neighborhood" in the narration.
So, while reading about the suit, I came across this gem (forgive me, but I forget where, it was early this morning and I didn't write it down):
"Thriller -- In Lego"
Now, if you have the 13 and 1/2 minutes, this short is fascinating, on many counts.
The first thing that occurs to me is that someone (two people, in this case) thought to do this in the first place. There are plenty of Lego animations on YouTube. Some of them are silly, some are quite clever. Most are purile and stupid. There are many recreations of movie and TV scenes and even more original material based on existing characters (an aspect of so-called "fan fiction" -- which can get pretty damned weird). So what drives people to make these things?
The second thing that occured to me is that stop-motion is an arduous task, taking many hours to shoot mere seconds of images. This video is over 13 minutes long! Who the hell has that kind of time?
Then I watched the video and it blew my mind. The really good stuff takes a while to get going, but if your computer is fast enough, you can FF through the first few minutes. It's worth it. The clay and paint zombie effects are just brilliant, and the hyper colors and hard geometrics of Lego make a crazy contrast to the more organic clay and cardboard scenery.
And then there is the choreography, which is a stunning feat. It must have taken hundreds of hours to get those stupid Lego people to move in unison. The lighting could be better and some of the "scenery" is beyond crude, but you can't help but admire the filmmakers' earnestness and attention to detail. I think I like this version even better than the Indonesian Prisoners'.
More, anon.
P.S. I almost titled this post "The Gayest Toys You'll See this Week."

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