Going into this year’s Sundance Film Festival the one movie I wanted to see more than TEETH was M Dot Strange’s WE ARE THE STRANGE, a hypnotic animated feature film that looked like it was going to revolutionize animation over the next decade. As much as I wanted to love the film I still left the theater pretty disappointed, not by his stunning visual techniques, but by the incoherent narrative.
In this animated feature film, two outcasts fight for survival in a sinister fantasy world. Their lives are constantly in jeopardy after they’re caught in the middle of a deadly battle between bizarre monsters on their way to the ice cream shop.
As a calling card STRANGE can easily propel M Dot Strange into fame. The film is destined to become a cult classic watched and passed around by teens across the Nation. One of the coolest parts of the screening for me was that 3/4th of the theater (I kid you not) walked out during the presentation. Why was this cool? Because it lets you know that since you’re enjoying the film, and no one else is, it becomes YOUR film – hence it becoming a cult classic. M Dot’s minions absolutely loved the film and couldn’t ask enough questions following the screening. M Dot explained that he was happy with the remaining audience members because “those were the people I made this for.” Admirable and honest he explained right off the bat one of the main problems with the film… the way it was developed.
The way the film was made was in order over the course of three years, so as the story developed it changed in the film… and as his skills developed they also progressed on screen. The problem this caused is that the first two acts of the movie are completely incoherent and confusing as all hell. There is next to no dialogue to help us through this mind fuck of a movie. Furthermore the film went from being mostly claymation and 2-dimensional computer animation to stunning 3-D. By the end of STRANGE there are two 3-D robots the size of the Sears Tower fighting across the world created by M Dot.
The entire film was visually stunning and hypnotic. I can say this without a doubt in my mind that if M Dot Strange takes the right steps he will become the next Tim Burton. When the movie was over I leaned over to my friends and said, “This movie would be amazing projected on a wall at a party.” Once your eyes hit the screen you won’t want to let go because you’ll be afraid of what you might miss… even though you won’t miss anything in the plot.
I had to go to the bathroom for a good half of the movie and stuck around because I wanted so desperately to understand what the hell was going on. The only thing I knew was that M was on a mission to get ice cream in a world possessed by evil. Thank God that the third and final act of the film took off. It was incredible apparent that M Dot worked from start to finish on STRANGE as the finale rocked! Giant robots shooting missiles, punching each other, flying into space… you name it. In addition, the third act we finally had some dialogue and an understanding of what was going on and what needed to be resolved. Unfortunately for us we never got an epilogue and a look into the world before it was destroyed by evil.
In the end I think WE ARE THE STRANGE is a beautiful calling card, something that is sure to arouse the right people. If M Dot is looking to get into filmmaking I think his three years on this film was an astounding experience like no other. He did say he was working on three other films – if the finale was any indication of what’s to come, sign me up for a M Dot Strange fan club membership.