Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly

Sunday I went to see "A Scanner Darkly". You've seen the trailers for this. It's the one where it looks like they took a life action film and then went back and traced the characters. Sometimes you're convinced that's what they did and other times you're convinced they didn't because things aren't moving or rotating correctly.
It's another Phillip K. Dick story made movie form. You'll remember him for writing "Blade Runner", "Total Recall", "Minority Report", and "Paycheck" among others. I thought "Paycheck" would have made a better video game than movie, but there you are.

So, "A Scanner Darkly" stars Keanu Reeves playing an undercover drug agent. He wears a suit that is programmed with millions of facial features. So he can look like anyone. Around the office it just randomly shifts facial and physical features. Nifty technology, but he only wears it outside the office to give a speech to the Elk's Lodge or something like that.
I don't want to get too far into the plot. I'll just say that it includes a heavy dose of PK Dick's usual paranoia and a string of twists and new complications as the story goes along. Some you expect from 2 minutes in others you don't see coming at all.

I can think of two reasons to use the animation technique they did. First, it would be cheaper to create the effect of the shifting features on the suits if they just drew it. Second, by making an animation based as close to reality as they did it causes the viewer's perception to shift and drag you into an altered state of mind to allow you to sympathize more with the drug induced state of the characters.

I haven't decided if I'll but it yet, but I enjoyed the movie.

1 comment:

Rene' said...

I can really tell I'm a science geek, because when I looked at the photo of you from "Fun with Cameras", I immediately thought of gravitational lensing! Ha!