THE CHOSEN ONE
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Lou Hanske is having a bad day. His girlfriend dumped him, his car got smashed by a falling satellite, he just lost his job and has been mauled by a bear. When his elderly roommate Zebulon (who used to be both a soldier and a heavy metal singer) takes him to worship and get a hand out at the cultish Church Of Frank, they believe that he is their "Chosen One", destined to travel to a hilltop in Kansas and talk to God! So with Zeb, his best friend Donna, and even the Devil himself, off they go to Kansas, not knowing that German uber-assassins, femme fatales, a ninja, holy robots, a mad scientist and his giant mole, and the combined might of the ass kicking Western Religions are all arrayed against Lou to prevent him from realizing his true destiny! Some days, the whole universe is against you, I swear to god!
Is it good movie?
Not since the early days of Camp Chaos or the first time I discovered James Farr's excellent series Xombie have I been this impressed with Flash animation. Sure it's not showy, shiny or slick (and in some places it can be damn ugly and limiting), but in the case of Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey's The Chosen One, it results in one of the best damn movies I've seen all year, animated or otherwise! The misadventures of poor Lou (voiced by co-writer Chad Fifer), his friend Donna (Danielle "Topenga" Fishel) who has a serious crush on him, and his insane octagenarian roommate Zebb (the always excellent Chris Sarandon) are at all times hilarious, insightful, randomly goofy and even touching. Throw in a slinky femme fatale (porn goddess Traci Lords) and a twisted Catholic bishop (Lance Henrikson), and you've got one hell of a voice cast backing up a most excellent piece of animated fun.
While the voice acting is excellent (and Fifer's comic timic is dead on target through the whole movie), where this one really shines is in the writing. This is a damn funny movie, from the one liners to the detailed and compex mytholgy within the movie. Lou's bad day is just the start of the insanity. When he meets Lucifer (very appropriately voiced by Tim Curry), and learns that he has super powers and all of the Western religions want to destroy him, well, things get out of hand in the very best ways. The buddy sequences with Lou and Lucifer are laugh out loud funny (as is most of the movie, in fact), and the pay off at the end manages to be funny as hell, as well as being poignant and socially relevant! Never thought I'd say that about a comedy cartoon, but there it is. This film has a message in all of the hilarity, but the fun is in finding it, so I won't spill the beans. The whole idea that our souls are driven by pure and simple choice really appeals to me. So to the belly laughs and random liquids squirting out of my nostrils (warning: don't drink anything and watch this movie. Painful).
On the flip side, some of the limitations of Flash animation really show, especially during action scenes (and when Lou is running!), but surprisingly now that I've seen it, I can't imagine this story being told in any other medium. It just seems to suit the goofy fun of the script. The story, no matter how random it gets (it flips from road comedy to spy movie to buddy flick to anime kung fu craziness, and to a million other stereotyped genres), the movie keeps you entertained and engaged, and it really makes you care about these cartoon folks. No matter what your opinion of animated comedies are, this movie is guaranteed to not disappoint. It's a well made, finely written and brilliantly executed comic gen that I had never heard of before.
In short: SEE THIS MOVIE! Sooner rather than later. Your life may depend on it. Okay, that was a lie, but you get the point. It should not be missed.
Video / Audio
Video: Full Screen - 1.33:1. It's Flash animation, so it is a little jerky in places, but overall it looks sweet on DVD.
Audio: English (Dolby 2.0). The voices come through loud and clear, and the soundtrack is frickin' hilarious.
Since this was a screener, no features to be found. Can't wait for the DVD release though, since I'd love to see some of the behind the scenes material, especially the voice sessions.
To say I enjoyed this movie would be a huge freaking understatement. The sheer amount of glorious randomness had my head spinning, and the animation was sweet, even when it was crappy. That just added to the charm of the flick. From the very appropriate and excellent voice cast, to the inspired and hilarious writing (get ready for one-liner quote heaven, folks), to the just plain fun craziness of it all, everything about this one just worked for me. Milestone in animation? No. Killer comedy achievement? Yes. Best damn flick of the year? A big hell yeah! Here's hoping this one gets a wide release, so more people can see it and love it.
And come on, Tim Curry as Lucifer? It doesn't get much more perfect than that.