Friday, 17 February 2012

selkirk (w&d walter tournier)

Selkirk is a curio: an animated account of the life of the man who was the model for Robinson Crusoe. Made in Uruguay. The opening sequences, set in a Scottish port, are so full of charm that it has you rooting for it straight away. Selkirk produces the maps that will guide a ship round the treacherous Cape Horn and on to the gold of the East Asian islands. Once on board ship he succeeds in getting the entire crew in hock to him. So when they get a chance to leave him behind on a desert island, they don't take much persuading.

Clearly made for kids, it appears to have all the ingredients to become a kind of cult hit. Apart from the fact that it all becomes rather predictable. Not because we already know the story, but because Selkirk never acquires any real depth as a character. It may be sticking resolutely to the original story, but the end effect is to make the viewer feel that Defoe probably knew what he was doing when he embroidered the reality.

You have to admire the stop motion animation and the geniality of the project. However, in spite of the fact that the kids munching popcorn all around me seemed to remain engaged, it's hard not to think that there's something missing, some sense of depth to the narrative which would lend Selkirk's achievement of survival a more heroic slant.

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