677. The End – Chris Landreth

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SUMMARY: A strange, pseudo-intellectual animation breaks down when the creations begin to question their own creator.

WHY IT’S HERE: American animator Chris Landreth’s CGI shorts have been cult hits since Landreth first released ‘The End’ in 1995. Given that ‘The End’ appeared when CGI was still a comparatively new phenomenon, the intricate, strange creations and realistic human characters he has produced in this, his first film, are very impressive. The premise of ‘The End’, an animator’s characters conversing directly with him, is a very old concept that dates way back to the Fleischer Brothers’ ‘Out of the Inkwell’ shorts but Landreth has attempted to take it to its logical extreme, tying himself in pseudo-intellectual knots while slyly and purposefully opening up questions about whether the film itself is pseudo-intellectual in its process of questioning pseudo-intellectuals! ‘The End’ plays the sort of games that Charlie Kaufman toyed with in 2002’s ‘Adaptation’, a comparison which becomes especially pertinent when the focus of the film switches from the animated characters to the creator himself. While it is undoubtedly clever, ‘The End’ leaves many viewers curiously unsatisfied. It sort of slips away on its own elusiveness, which may be the point but can seem a little frustrating. Still, as a taster for Landreth’s work it certainly piqued interest and the Academy were impressed, nominating this oddball little piece for an Oscar.

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