Friday, May 10, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Thumb Snatchers From the Moon Cocoon (2013) *½

NR, 7 min.
Director/Writer: Bradley Schaffer
Voice: Evan Hyde

Cinematic legend Ray Harryhausen passed away at the age of 92 Wednesday. He was known for the stop motion animation work he did for live action movies. His credits ranged from “Mighty Joe Young”, to “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”, to the original “Clash of the Titans”. Working mostly in B genre pictures, Harryhausen was practically a household name, a rarity for a filmmaker working his entire career in special effects. Nevertheless, Harryhausen was thought of as one of the pioneers of filmmaking and many within and without the filmmaking community admired him.

I suppose the title of “Thumb Snatchers From the Moon Cocoon” owes a little something to the cannon of Harryhausen’s work. I doubt it will go down as a classic of the stop-motion animation genre, however. It isn’t the sharpest tool in the stop-motion shed. Its plot consists of a race of robotic aliens coming to Earth to take humans’ opposable thumbs because we’ve done nothing with them but destroy things. They are stopped by a Texas lawman who pretty much proves their point about the destructive nature of man.

The narration writing is not good. This Sheriff Huckiss is filled with unenlightened insights such as “Death… They say it can kill a man.” I suppose a line like that might seem hilarious to a mind that thinks robotic aliens would spew green slime out of their heads when they are shot with a pistol. It isn’t quite as funny in the context of a movie as it might seem in such a person’s head, however. I don’t really know whether this film is a fitting tribute to Harryhausen. He wasn’t really a creator of story and dialogue. He just made the fantasy come alive long before CGI made it “realistic.” In terms of subject matter, what is to been seen in this short isn’t a far cry from some of Harryhausen’s creations. You’d probably be better off search out one of his movies, though.

Watch the short below.

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