Masters of Russian Animation, Vol.1 Comes to DVD
This collection of award-winning animation has some wonderful moments and images. Some of the art is striking—portions of My Green Crocodile and The Glass Harmonica are sheer eye-candy, and There Lived Kozyavin's hyper-realistic portrayal of a surrealistic world seems absolutely contemporary—but most of the material seems to lack any sense of true passion.
With those three exceptions, this collection doesn't have a lot of charm. The Story of One Crime is little more than a poster proclaiming that consideration for others is good (and this from a country that raised poster art to new heights!), A Mountain of Dinosaurs is a "whimsical" look at the story of the dinosaur that totally lacks whimsy, and Film, Film, Film starts strong but just peters out.
Of course, the '60s weren't exactly a high-water mark for animation in the West, either, so perhaps Masters of Russian Animation is just a reflection on the state of the art at the time. Still, it's hard to say who this collection will appeal to. It's not aimed at children, that's for sure, and there's not much here for most adults.
Sturgeon's Law dictates that 85% of anything is crap, so with three strong short features, Masters of Russian Animation, Vol.1 is ahead of the curve. Certainly any collection that includes the beautiful and unearthly The Glass Harmonica can't be considered a loser. I'm just not sure how many people will feel their purchase decision validated by such a batting average.