Friday, February 8, 2008

Movies You Haven't Seen But Should: Twice Upon A Time

From Wikipedia:

Twice Upon a Time is a 1983 animated movie directed by John Korty and Charles Swenson. This film had an unusual history in terms of release and editing, but it has been named one of the most important films in the history of stop-motion animation. This was also the first animated film George Lucas produced.

The film uses a form of cutout animation, which the filmmakers called "Lumage," that involved prefabricated cut-out plastic pieces that the animators moved on a light table.

Twice Upon a Time is an action-adventure-fantasy-comedy about two oddballs who are so eager to be heroes that they do something very wrong in trying to do something right. One of the two would-be heroes is Ralph, the all-purpose animal. He's a nice guy -- a friendly, dog-like animal who wears glasses, and has the special (yet unmastered) ability to transform into any creature he wishes to be. Mum, Ralph's prankster sidekick, is a trim fellow in a black suit who speaks in special effects and loves mischief and magic and a good time. Their relationship is the opposite of human and dogs: Mum is happy-go-lucky, Ralph is a worrier. Together they are funny, lovable dupes who have recently been exiled from Frivoli, Home of Sweet Dreams.

Frivoli bakes sweet dreams, The Murkworks hammers out nightmares, and the harried people who receive these two very different kinds of dreams are called the "Rushers of Din".

Greensleeves (affectionately known as "Greenie") is in charge of delivering sweet dreams to the sleeping Rushers of Din with his helpers, the Figs (Figmen of Imagination). But the paunchy and raunchy Synonamess Botch, maniacal ruler of the Murkworks Nightmare Factory wants to foil Greenie's efforts and increase his own production of nightmares, to the point where the Rushers are subjected to non-stop nightmares. Botch uses his vultures - who deliver the nightmares - to kidnap the Figs and Greensleeves.

Botch also cons the innocent Ralph and Mum into freezing time in Din by releasing the Magic Mainspring from the Cosmic Clock, telling them that it's the humane thing to do. The naive "heroes" soon find out that stopping time was a big mistake. Their Fairy Godmother twinkles in to spell it out in her Bronx accent that they have been tricked. Ralph and Mum must now find the Spring before Botch's menacing vulture minions can drop thousands and thousands of so-called "Nightmare Bombs" on Din, preparing for world-wide misery when Botch starts time again.

Ralph and Mumford join forces with Flora Fauna, a true flower and aspiring movie star, who is the heroes' heart throb, as well as Greensleeves' niece, and Rod Rescueman, a recent graduate (D-average) from Superhero School. They free Greensleeves and the Figs and attempt to stop Botch before he can start time back up and activate the bombs simultaneously - with a button he calls "The Big Red One."

Together they foil Botch's plan and defeat both he and his henchmen: Ibor, the half-gorilla, half-robot who responds to Botch's commands with old, cliched television clips, and Ratatooie, Botch's pet rat/armadillo who has a voracious appetite for garbage and an inscrutable passion for bowling balls. Scuzzbopper, Botch's Head Screamwriter, turns coat to help the heroes. Eventually, Ralph and Mum become true heroes and restore cosmic balance.

See also: Twice Upon A Time on the IMDB

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