mad god | phil tippett | alex cox | niketa roman | satish ratakonda | animation | fantasy | sci-fi | united states | religion | harper taylor | brynn taylor | hans brekke | monster | monsters | creature | creatures | brett foxwell | jake freytag | witch | harper gibbons
Film: Mad God
Director: Phil Tippett
Writer: Phil Tippett
Starring: Alex Cox, Niketa Roman and Satish Ratakonda
This is a movie that I saw part of the trailer at the Gateway Film Center. What I took from it was that it looked wild. I saw that Phil Tippett was behind this and that made me want to see this even more. This is one that I went back to the theater to see as I figured it was a movie that I needed to experience.
Synopsis: a corroded diving bell descends amidst a ruined city and the Assassin appears from it to explore a labyrinth of bizarre landscapes inhabited by freakish denizens.
There’s not a lot more that I can say from that synopsis. This has no dialogue. I should say that it starts showing a tower, a heavy cloud descends over it. I’m assuming this is showing us God when he destroyed the tower of Babylon. We then get text from the bible from the book of Leviticus. This is followed by the diving bell from the synopsis as it lowers. The last man, Alex Cox, exits and follows a map he is given through different sections of this world. It is a living nightmare that includes the world, the creatures that inhabit it and how everything is connected to other things to make them work.
Our last man must traverse this world. I’m not sure his mission is, but that also isn’t important. We get to see the events that lead to him arriving and even the person who sends him there. What is important here is the journey. Seeing the time and effort that went into not only thinking this up but bringing it to life. Sitting in the theater, I can’t fully explain what I saw, but this is visually stunning. This would be a movie that I would recommend to people who use mind altering substances. If you are prone to a bad trip, avoid this as I think this could mess with some people not prepared for what they’re going to experience.
To get a bit deeper, I haven’t looked much about this movie, but I know a good portion of this is stop-motion photography. That is just impressive. The trailer is boasting that this is 30 years in the making and I believe it. From what I saw on Letterboxd, it appears that this has been released throughout the last decade or so in parts. This I’m guessing is the most compiled version. It also looks like that this movie is incorporating in camera effects like forced perspective and having real actors strategically in shots. The cinematography and effects are amazing. Bringing this to life is impressive as it feels like our characters are in this world. Not everything looks realistic, but that would be nitpicking, which I’m not going to do.
Going along with how this is shot is the soundtrack. The sounds that go into this are things that I recognize like animal sounds or babies crying. In normal situations, they are just that. What is making them in this are nightmarish creatures and that adds to that vibe. I thought this was also quite effective. Since there isn’t dialogue or a coherent story as I’ve been saying, you don’t have to pay attention in that sense. This is more visual and auditory journey with what it is conveying. The sound design of the movie is right up there for me as well.
Normally I’d go into the acting, but there isn’t much I can say there. When we get live actors, I think they’re solid. They can hide who they are or what they look like. It is almost like watching silent actors performing in roles. They can be expressive with body language and in cases like with the nurse, played by Niketa Roman, facial expressions. No one in this movie is going to win awards. They aren’t the focal though. They are just another piece to add to the atmosphere that is effective.
There’s not a whole lot more that I can say. I’m not trying to shortchange this movie, but this is more of an experience. The amount of work and time that was put into this is amazing. The final product reflects that. I love this nightmarish world we are in and seeing our characters traverse it. This is a visual and auditory odyssey. Not everything makes sense, but also in a way it does. This won’t be for everyone. This is most definitely an arthouse film. With this first viewing, I’d rate this as a good movie for what it is. I wouldn’t be able to go higher than where I have it now though.
My Rating: 8 out of 10