Magic's the Thing | Chicago Reader

Magic's the Thing

Five videos on magic and myth. The lively French digital animation Xcalibur conflates Arthurian legend with a little too much Star Wars decor, yet the characters' artificial faces seem appropriate to the tape's schematic nature, and director Didier Pourcel conjures up dramatic angles that would be hard to get in a live-action film. John R. Dilworth's The Tower of Dr. Zalost is the strongest entry; its story of a scientist disgruntled with a town that won't fund his "research" is invigorated by spirited animation and dramatic color schemes. Some images are inherently funny, like the ridiculously tall stone tower from which he fires cannonballs at his opponents, and the characters' rapidly changing poses recall classic Warner Brothers cartoons. 93 min.

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