Fresh From the Festivals: October 1999's Film Reviews
At the other end of the spectrum is a sophisticated computer animation film, Plug, by first-time director Meher Gourjian and first-time producer Jamie Waese. Described as being about "a futuristic society in which people live their entire lives plugged into electronic dream machines," the film is visually interesting for its combination of live-action and animated effects. The basis of the action was provided by live performers in front of a blue screen, whose images were scanned into a computer and modified. The effect is something in between rotoscoping and motion-capture, with the characters reminding me of the movie Tron, or in general the rotoscope work of Ralph Bakshi films. Computer-generated backgrounds and props were composited with the characters and, after being digitally compressed, the footage was then recorded back to 35 mm in CinemaScope. The production of the film, costing a mere $12,000, was supported by numerous computer-related companies in the industry. Sound design is by Randy Thom, an Academy Award winner with impressive credits to his name, including Contact and Forrest Gump.
Maureen Furniss, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Film Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. She is the Founding Editor of Animation Journal (John Libbey, 1998).