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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Claymation > Stop-Motion > TV > British > Rex The Runt (British Claymation series/A&E DVD Set)

Rex The Runt(British TV Claymation Cult Series)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: C-†††† Episodes: B-

 

 

Two things that always mix oddly are Claymation and TV.Who knows why, but if some of the earliest Sesame Street segments being Claymation and the most abstract work the series offered in its early days, there was Gumby. That simple show eventually became a Cult series and inspired the famous live-action skits Eddie Murphy did of the show on Saturday Night Live.SNL had one of its greatest early successes with the clay/Play-Doh skit-series The Mr. Bill Show, and when Music Videos arrived, one of the greatest would be (and still remains) Peter Gabrielís ďSledgehammerĒ.

 

Richard Goleszowski was one of the creators of that classic, and more recently created Rex The Runt (1999), a Claymation series from the Aardman Studios (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) that has its footage mixed in with live action and videotape.That is unusual and purists might find it a problem to call it Claymation outright, but that is the bulk of the show, so it is not a cheat.†† All 26 episodes are now on this double DVD set.

 

The premise has a group of four dogs, Vince, Wendy, Bad Bob and Rex, living together and landing up in surrealistic situations.The theme song sounds like it was by back-up singers from Monty Python.There are film references, but they are limited, as are some of the adult points of humor.I did not find the show funny and never laughed, but still thought it was oddly compelling, especially when it takes odd turns into otherworldliness. All the voice-over actors are great, with an attitude befitting the teleplays and situations.This definitely is Cult territory, a show trying to be something different and succeeding without trying so hard.

 

The full-screen, color images are a bit older looking, no doubt because everything landed up on PAL videotape.The Claymation would have looked better if it was straight from the film, but it is well done.It makes watching each episode always interesting, certainly more so than the latest digital animation, and seeing the analog videotape tends to make this show hip by comparison.The Dolby Digital 2.0 is Stereo without any surrounds, but sounds much more like the productionís age.The shows offer some amusing sounds, not to mention the occasional gross sound, though this is NOT a gross-out show.Extras are few, but include a biography of creator Goleszowski (credited nowhere on the packaging!), photo galleries on each DVD, a weblink for those with DVD-ROMs, and a trailer for the second and last season of the show.

 

I expected the show to be too crude to handle, but it turned out to be far better than I expected.The humor was not as British as I had thought, being more down to earth than expected on some level.These dogs are not happy with their lives and want to find something more, but they have each other, no matter what.That is appealing in this case.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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