Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Harvey Krumpet

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Harvey Krumpet - 4 out of 5

I don't often review short films--I have reviewed a collection of short films but if you read the comments, you would swear that my enjoying some of the collection meant I threw my lot in with Hitler--however, Netflix has been recommending this Academy Award winning short for quite awhile now so I decided to do Netflix a solid and take them up on this recommendation.  The movie is only 20 minutes long, what's the worst that could happen?  Well, the worst thing that could happen is I'm viciously raped by a Sasquatch as I'm viewing this and a whole list of equally, possibly even more terrifying, things could easily happen.  However, I lucked out and found myself enjoying this 2003 Australian claymation hit.

Baby Harvey...choke on the cuteness!!!

Okay, so maybe his mom can't spell the best...
but neither can The Tea Party and we allow them to vote!
First, I must say, Netflix is eerily getting to know me as their recommendations rarely are ever wrong or fall short.  Harvey Krumpet is almost exactly what I like in a movie--even a short one.  Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, the story is about a troubled young man growing up in Poland in 1922.  Harvey has Tourette's Syndrome and has a difficult upbringing.  His mother takes the responsibility of raising and teaching him, instilling a great love of knowledge in the boy--to the extent he actually carries around a book of facts that grows with every bit of knowledge he gains.  Sadly, Harvey's parents die and he is sent to Australia as a refugee.  As Harvey ages, he is plagued with bad luck (starting with his Tourette's).  Harvey is struck by lightning and loses one of his testicles but, despite all this (me, I would have given up after losing the ball or facing the fact the lightning strike didn't grant me superpowers) Harvey remains optimistic.  He even meets a woman and forms a family with her.  Bad luck still plagues Harvey as he enters into his golden years and his once optimistic streak starts to fade.

Staring blankly at a TV...sound like my usual Saturday night.


Sadly, this is one "fakt" that most people still don't get.
Like I stated, Harvey Krumpet is nearly everything I like in a film.  It's creative, unique and bittersweet.  There's no fairy-tale ending and nothing is sugarcoated so it goes down smooth.  It's bitter and real--but this is a reflection of the animator and creator of Harvey; Adam Elliot.  If you've ever seen his stuff, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.  It's ugly and real...but that's what makes it beautiful!  Elliot calls himself a auteur filmmaker and, without apology, says his films are "bittersweet" and "semi-autobiographical."  Take his short film about his brother.  Seriously take it, here's a link so you can get an idea what Elliot makes...

Wait, is Harvey nude?  Yes, he is.  Watch the film to find out why.
That's some sad, depressing stuff...but beautifully told and presented.  Elliot takes serious storytelling and places them within a genre that rarely takes the deep route--and Davey and Goliath don't count because, let's face it, if that cartoon was made now, Goliath and Davey would be hanging out with the Westboro Baptist Church, pipe-bombing abortion clinics and calling all Muslims terrorists.  The closest any other claymation extravaganza gets to what Elliot makes is the final two season of Moral Orel (seriously, if you've never seen that show, you must because it is amazing!).  Adam Elliot isn't afraid to get "real" with his clay.  He's not afraid to get dark and make the viewer uncomfortable with what they are seeing and, in doing that, Harvey Krumpet becomes a thing of beauty.

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