The film "Imagination" lives up to its title. Here is a work that doesn't have a lot of respect for boundaries. Eclectic doesn't quite cover it. The movie is a visual riot, utilizing animation, live-action, stop-motion, claymation, puppetry, herky-jerky moving sketches, time-lapse photography ... all linked by a strange but fairly cohesive narrative.
"Imagination" came to me as an early early preview DVD courtesy of the filmmakers, the Leiser brothers. Eric did the crazy-quilt animation and direction; Jeffrey created the score. Talented guys. They made the movie for
about $110,000. Expect the DVD in the spring.
The story concerns identical twin sisters of about 12 (Jessi and Nikki Haddad), whose lives are in a punishing downward spiral. One has a degenerative eye disease; the other is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a highly functioning type of autism that afflicts high IQ kids. Their father has left the family and their caring mom dies in a massive L.A. quake. The twins' psychiatrist (Ed K. Gildersleeve) races to learn the secrets of the otherworldly visions the girls share.
Jeffrey Leiser's music is strong and good but fairly conventional (I kept thinking some early Pink Floyd would have been right at home with all this visual psychedelia). The Haddad sisters were suitably mysterious. The adult acting wasn't all that convincing at times.
In spirit, "Imagination" seems to come from the same planet as Neil Gaiman's "MirrorMask" and "What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole." I'm not sure of the target audience. Open-minded tweens and younger teens should enjoy the many playful moments, although the overall tone remains quite dark. The "Donnie Darko" crowd could be coerced. Animation buffs will be dazzled.