Norman McLaren

film 19 of 24

Animated Motion, pt. 2

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 8, 2015

Now McLaren and Munro give us a further subdivision into five categories of motion, starting with constant, acceleration, and deceleration. At the middle of the spectrum, acceleration becomes constant motion. At this point McLaren brings us out of the abstract again, making associative suggestions that transform and animate this plain moving ball. These variable rates of motion give the object weight, and so come to resemble a punch, or a cautious touch, or a push, or a thrust. Next comes up and down gravity (bouncing), and hills. Back come the calibrations, to remind us of the technical components of this illusion. Or maybe, for all of his often anthropomorphism—see review for A.M., pt. 1 (q.v.)—to show that absolute abstraction is possible and pleasing after all.

As if that wasn’t enough, our guides now introduce and gloriously explicate another eye-popping and utterly foundational institution. It is perspective, “where different tempos are needed to create the illusion of movement at a uniform speed.” So that’s how Hayao Miyazaki does those previously inexplicable multi-planed lateral tracking shots! More than that, this is what I see, and how and why I see it, when I proceed on my own way at the same time that I try to take note of everyone else’s way, beside me.

This inspiringly accessible material might just make one rethink one’s whole life. Why didn’t I just become a filmmaker? It would have been so easy, and so lovely!