Thursday, October 25, 2012

Renaissance - A graphic novel alive!!

Renaissance (2006) – English/French
Voiced by – Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack, Ramola Garai, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm
Direction: Chirstian Volckman
Genre: Sci-fi, animation, crime thriller

Renaissance is a French/English rotoscopic animated black and white film directed by Christian Volckman and voiced by Daniel Craig, Ian Holm, Ramola Garai, and Jonathan Pryce. The plot is set in 2054 in Paris where everything and everyone are under surveillance. Everyone is heard and every action is seen with the use of high tech monitoring systems. The plot follows the abduction of Ilena (Ramola Garai), a talented and key genetic researcher of a big corporation Avalon. Police captain Barthélémy Karas (Daniel Craig) is assigned to the case. Karas is a reckless officer who has expertise in rescue operations, and finishes the task assigned to him at all cost. Karas’s attempt to solve the mystery leads him to various clues and directions which he really doesn’t want to lead but he has to. Other characters in the film are Bislena the sister of Ilena, Avalon's chief researcher Dr. Muller, Avalon's chairman Paul Dellenbach, an Arab mobster Farfella.

The visual imagery of futuristic Paris has skyscrapers double the height of what we have now. Holographic touch screen devices, powerful corporate organizations, advanced weapons are all become a part of the dystopian Paris. Unlike most of the animation films that mainly targets the children below 15 years, this is a sci-fi film noir, with murder mystery, violence, nudity, cops striving to solve the mystery behind those murders, wealthy manipulative organizations, advanced technology, etc. The radical and distinctive black and white look without any grey shades makes the film unique and marvelous. It is like giving life to graphic novels and comic books, a feel like comic characters are moving and fighting in front of you. A visual treat! A ‘wow’ while watching..!! 

Distinctive visual imagery of Renaissance
While certain motion captured films use the voice and faces/body of same actors (A Scanner Darkly), Renaissance has no face resemblance to any actor. So there is no need to talk about the performances. Only the voices have been rendered by familiar French and English actors. Although it is a strong story, the pace is slightly slow at certain places, giving a slightly bored feel to the viewers. But that doesn’t mean it has no action scenes. There are some really impressive car chases and fight sequences.

Renaissance is purely original. It was released a year after visually similar Sin City but not its rip-off, as the making lasted for a painful 7 years. Director Volckman has deviated from the standards of making normal, live actions with similar plots to which the outcome is original creativity. The movie as a whole is not too great, but technically it is excellent and admirable. For the director’s efforts and creativity, it is underrated and surely deserves more.

If you like sci-fi and detective genre films, and their combo, and imagine them as animated, Renaissance is for you!

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