Harvie Krumpet (2003)

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Released 11-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Adam Elliot (Director)
Short Film-Human Behavioural Cast Studies, Part One
Short Film-Uncle, Cousin, Brother
Storyboard Comparisons
Gallery-Character Model Shots
Trailer-Roy Hollsdotter Live, Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends
Trailer-American Splendor, Angry Kid
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 22:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Adam Elliot
Studio
Distributor
Melodrama Picts
Madman Entertainment
Starring Geoffrey Rush
Julie Forsyth
Kamahl
John Flaus
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Smoking Yes, It seems imaginary creatures are still allowed!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

      Adam Elliot achieved the Oscar miracle when his 22-minute claymated story of anti-hero Harvie Krumpet won this year's academy Award for best short film. Elliot, in interviews prior to his win, cited philosophical cartoonist Michael Leunig as a primary influence, and this little film certainly bears that out as a eulogy to a less-than-perfect everyman.

      In 22 simple minutes, we journey with Harvie from his birth in an isolated Polish cottage, his humble and tragicomic origins, his almost accidental arrival in Australia; his (few) wins, his (great) loves, and his (many) losses, until he descends gently into Alzheimer's Disease with his equally demented or deteriorating co-patients in a nursing home.

      This deceptively simple story is told by Geoffrey Rush, who fittingly adopts a gentle and naïve tone, allowing us as the audience to be more knowing than either the protagonist or the narrator. It is this simple device - allowing the audience to be "gods" observing the earnest absurdity of human existence - that gives the film its power.

      Elliot himself was born with a tremor, and grew up well acquainted with disabilities and how isolating they can be (his previous short, Cousin, was about his cousin who had cerebral palsy). Because of his own physical challenges, he makes his models larger than is conventional, and their appearance is somewhat irregular, with plenty of finger and thumbprints in the clay. Perhaps though, this "mark of the maker" is part of the special charm of Elliot's characters.

      His entry into the film world was almost entirely accidental - he entered Victoria Arts College virtually on a whim, and even his move into claymation was mostly expedient - during an assignment, most of the rest of the class were using 2D materials, leaving him greater access to the tools of the 3D animator. His strange, slightly grotesque, utterly sympathetic characters formed the basis of a trilogy of shorts, Cousin, Uncle, and Brother, all of which appear on this DVD presentation. One can clearly see in these 3 short films the basis of the characters for Harvie Krumpet, and the genesis of the naïve story-telling style.

      You have to be a special kind of breed to be a claymator - a good day of intensive shooting results in 5 seconds of vision in the can, and Elliot found nearly $400,000 to make Harvie Krumpet a reality. This is not the territory for those requiring instant gratification or the promise of a guaranteed financial return!

      Elliot himself decries the lack of opportunities for short films to gain an audience, which belies the appetite that the public has for them, as is evidenced by such events as the Tropfest Festival, which draws huge crowds.

      Overall, this is a delicate little film that is loaded to the sprogs with pathos. We can be very proud that we can claim Adam Elliot as one of our filmmakers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Overall, the quality of this DVD was a pleasure to watch.

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced.

     The transfer was crisp, sharp and deep with an excellent luminance and little to mar the viewing experience. Blacks were black, whites were white - it was well defined and richly captured.

     The colours were at times deliberately muted and drab, but there was plenty of punch when required.

     There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is very rare and very mild when it does occur.

     The subtitles were clean, clear and time appropriate.

     This disc is a single sided presentation, with no layer change with which to contend.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Dolby Digital 2.0 English Audio Commentary track. All perform to expectations.

     The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times with no audio sync problems attendant to the production.

     The musical score begins with Pachelbel's Canon and Gigue in D, and incorporates a song called "God Is Better Than Football"....... what more could one want??

     The surround presence was cleverly manipulated, and, although the subwoofer was subtle, its presence was always appropriate.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu design is themed around the movie. It i features an animation and a refrain by Kamahl.

Commentary by Director Adam Elliot

     Charming, self-effacing and informative, this is a sweet little look into Harvie's microworld.

Short Films:

     Human Behavioural Case Studies Part One (1:09)
     And Adam's precursor films:

     Uncle (6:05)
     Cousin (4:28)
     Brother (7:50)
which show much of the genesis of Harvie as we have come to know and applaud him.

Storyboard Featurette - (5:50)

     How an idea comes to life, and the changes it needs to make to do so.

Character Model Shots

     360o angles for the characters Harvie, Ruby, Val and Hamish.

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for:

Roy Hollsdotter Live; Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends; American Splendor; Angry Kid

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Apparently, we're the lucky ones to have this to ourselves. I believe it has come out on a compilation of shorts in R1, but the comparison would be inappropriate.

Summary

     It's charming in a heartbreakingly warm kind of way. It is exemplar to the message that humble simplicity is a winning formula. Mr Elliot - well done.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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