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Blend Films presents
DVD ReviewPatrick Smith may be unknown to most, but as the back cover text informs me, he directed several episodes of MTV's Daria series, as well as a bunch of commercials. While you may have seen that popular series, you likely haven't seen any of his animated films, unless you're a regular on the festival circuit, which they seem to have been limited to. This new release gathers his five completed films, along with some making-of material.
The four shorts and one music video all feature a similar style, which is a slightly rough, thick-lined approach to designing his characters, and it's an attractive look. Characters often morph and merge into one another. As Smith comments in the interview in the extras, he uses his own life as inspirational fodder, such as a bad break up informing the bitter Handshake and his brother's method of throwing him across a room in Delivery, to name two examples. Dialogue is nonexistant, as Smith allows the actions to do all the speaking. The sound work needs to be good to compensate, and it's very good.
The other films here are Drink, in which the titular item displays mind-enhancing (or is it mind-warping?) properties; Puppet, which provides a look at the fear of one's creation getting out of control in the form of a sock puppet that proves brutally and hilariously efficient at making its creator's life hell. Finally, the video to the Planets' track Moving Along wraps things up.
For fans of animation, this is a nice collection, if really too brief at less than 30 minutes. The extras, as described below, may make this worth a buy for would-be animators or animation fans, but otherwise I'd be rather aggravated at spending money on a disc this short. Recommended, but with reservations.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: Everything is in nonanamorphic widescreen, which is a bit of a downer, but the video is crisp and colorful otherwise.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 track is perfectly fine for highlighting the variety of sound effects that Smith uses in the course of the shorts.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Feature/Episode commentaries by Director Pat Smith
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsThe only real disappointment with this collection is that it's so short. I enjoyed all the films here, and I daresay most animation fans would enjoy taking a look at them. An interview with Smith and commentaries on some of the films provide some good detail about the nuts and bolts of putting them together.
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