Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Pretty much every thing you’re gonna read about the new adult animated film RENAISSANCE (2007) is going to name-check SIN CITY and BLADE RUNNER… so I figured I ought to get it out of the way as early in this review as possible.

Paris, 2054: A young female researcher for the powerful Avalon Corporation has been abducted and maverick cop Karas (voice by Daniel Craig, CASINO ROYALE) is assigned to the case. With the help of the missing woman’s sister, Karas finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy and targeted by Avalon’s high-tech stealth assassins. In the end, Karas unravels the mystery and discovers the earthshaking secret at its core.

A visually stunning combination of hand-drawn/created elements, CGI and motion-capture technologies, Christian Volckman’s RENAISSANCE is a unique, adult, computer animated movie, one that successfully attempts to mimic the harsh, high-contrast B&W imagery of the Sin City comics or the early Brian Bendis written-and-drawn graphic novels Jinx and A.KA. Goldfish. Backgrounds are gorgeously executed with endless little details, and the characters are generally distinctive and fairly easy to tell apart.

In terms of story, it’s yet another sci-fi noir with an overcomplicated plot and plenty of ‘40’s crime fiction tropes and iconic tough-guy characters transplanted into a dystopian futurescape, where the only real difference between it and a vintage detective film is a sci-fi MacGuffin. That’s not to say it isn’t involving or interesting – because it is – but it’s funny how filmmakers keep looking back narratively, while the technology to make the films keeps accelerating forward.

Miramax’s DVD sports a solid 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer and a Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack. Bonus features are lean – there’s a single "Making Of" featurette and a handful of other Miramax trailers.

While the story is literally nothing new, the visuals are innovative and unique. If you like BLADE RUNNER and similar films, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too. I thought it was pretty good, and would definitely recommend at least a rental.

BUY: Renaissance