Saturday, July 16, 2011

Plain Black and White

Renaissance is an interesting experiment - sci-fi noir black and white animation. And we mean Black and White. Not only is there very little color, there are very few shades of gray.

Daniel Craig voices Karas, a cop in future Paris who plays by his own rules. He gets a little too involved in the case of a missing scientist and her lovely sister. It's all tied in with the Avalon Corporation and their search for the cure for progeria and the secret of immortality.

But that's not important. What is important is the look, the style. The animation is amazing - I assume they did some motion capture, then turned it into black shadows and white highlights. It is lovely and impressive, but gets tiring pretty quickly. The information content is quite low, so your eyes have to fill in the details that are lost in the high-contrast. But they do some amazing tricks with reflections, rain, surveillance, shadows and the whole film noir vocabulary - in high-contrast black and white.

Future Paris is given an interesting look - it reminded me some of Immortal, the Enki Bilal graphic-novel-inspired semi-animation. It has a retro-future look, with the canal boats floating along in cast-iron aqueducts high above the streets (but far below the toits de Paris - the rooftops of Paris).

So - visually stunning (although facial expressions were a bit crude in contrast to the rest of the artwork). As far as the story goes, somewhere between disappointing and disposable. I suggest ignoring this part, and letting the artwork wash over you.

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