Whenever I see a tweet or blog post that describes an animated film as being very funny, I usually follow up in hopes of finding something good. Often they are pretty good. Occasionally they are less so. Like many people, I tend to share the work I think is successful. We all do that. But, it may be more instructional to assess what bothers me about those that I don’t find so funny. It’s especially risky when a fair number of people seem to disagree with me by having posted likes and positive comments on the work.
I found one recently that had some obvious problems – for me. Here is “850 Meters” with my review following.
The knight, Roger Flambé, is what is known in theater as a “Braggart Soldier.” It is an archetype that is centuries old. He is quite full of himself despite how poor a warrior he is. Such types can be funny, but they are historically secondary characters. As part of an ensemble they can provide a strong personality for the others to deal with. A good example you might know is Zap Brannigan in Futurama. He is someone you laugh at, not with. 850 Meters does nothing to elevate Roger Flambé as a character likable enough to be the lead. It is another example of loser comedy, which I don’t find to be at all interesting.
I also have a real problem with the excessive use of slow motion effects. From the sped up motion of silent films to the zippy action of great cartoons, the history of film has taught us that faster is funnier. Applying dramatic effects used in action fight scenes has the opposite effect. Zack Snyder put that sort of thing in “300” where it belongs. It is the same with the extreme camera moves. The sweeping rotations and smash zooms only draw attention to themselves, and do nothing to improve the comedy. It is a real distraction.
At least the post credit coda left the character being happy with the outcome. He stayed true to his character, and I appreciate that.