Film Review - “Magic Mountain”
(director - Matt Bissett-Johnson)
“Magic Mountain” is a one-minute animated short film that you will definitely watch until the very end. One might assume that its duration helps. Surely, I mean what is a minute after all? But it is the film’s inherent ‘oddness’ which creates an interesting paradox. It will make one enjoy watching it, sustaining interest until the last second, at which point one will end up realizing that this was not such an interesting story to watch after all. Or at least wondering about it. I call this a success in some cases. Which speaks of Matt Bissett-Johnson’s, three times winner of the Stanley Award for Animator Cartoonist, talent.
This work is the definition of ‘weird’, with the term being used both as a value and as an aesthetic judgment. After all, this is a story of a single celled animal chased by a bizarre flying monster, while the former descends the Magic Mountain. Although it does not belong to mainstream culture and why should be, as Spielberg says “with animation, fantasy is your friend”, so why be dull, it nevertheless produces a familiar intimacy which makes it charming.
The good use of anticipation poses, makes these two extraordinary beings believable, cute even, and definitely not boring, as not boring is the film itself, but overall the work doesn’t really stand out. It lacks in staging and weight, and although the story serves the basic dramatic principles we are left not surprised by the creator’s world which feels as an aesthetic universe strapped together rather than harmonically unified, although color and sound are intriguing.
We are not introduced with something profoundly new here, and even if ultimately this might not be the goal for some, what eventually we are introduced with doesn’t occur through a powerful visual invention, which, well most of the time, really helps, so that we can positively agree that “Magic Mountain” affords an aesthetic stance.
In the end, besides its weaknesses, animator and cartoonist Matt Bissett-Johnsonatt delivered a short film that captivates the viewer’s fantasy, making it difficult to turn his/her eyes away from the screen.