Prepare your smiles and soap. Keep a watch out for the JubJub and Bandersnatch, because on this edition of Creations of Chaos, we’re going on a hunt with The Hunting of The Snark.
The Hunting of the Snark is based on the nonsense poem of the same name, by Lewis Carroll.
A group of quirky characters set out on a voyage to hunt an elusive creature, the Snark. Along the way friendships are made, dangerous creatures are fought, and sadly, lives are lost.
Having just watched Kubo and the Two Strings, also a stop-motion film, the animation in The Hunting of The Snark felt very basic.
I do respect that everything was carefully made by hand, though it was evident that someone was a little unwieldy with the glue gun. It was hard to determine how deliberate the design of the figures was. I found most of the characters downright creepy. Their eyes don’t move, and the Bellman had no eyes at all, only empty voids where eyes should be. Though mustaches wagged back and forth when characters who possessed them talked, other mouths remained still when speaking, and some characters had no mouths at all. The Beaver’s teeth were especially disturbing.
All of the exterior shots of the ocean were simply stock, real life, video footage. I’m not sure if this was due to a limited budget, or if they were just trying something different, but it looked odd and made the film feel a bit cheap. Again, maybe it was the budget, but the film would have felt more cohesive if they built an ocean out of something as simple as blue cellophane and created an ocean backdrop that was more in in the style of the rest of the stop-motion.
In The Details
When I was little girl, I had a dollhouse. It was a glorious piece of construction that my dad built. I was free to decorate it as I liked and soon became obsessed with miniature things. With the help of my parents, I built furniture for the house. I learned to make miniature food out of clay. I used the few dollars given to me by grandparents and aunts to furnish the bathroom, and buy toys for the home’s children. How I wished as a kid to shrink down and spend the day with Billy and Sally (the home’s children), running through the rooms of my creation.
Miniatures are used throughout The Hunting of The Snark. The same exact kind I used in my dollhouse. A warm wave of nostalgia washed over me as the characters drank from tiny bottles, and stirred teeny pots of soup. It was my favorite part of the film.
I’m not sure if they used already made clothing, or if someone made the clothing the characters wore, but I enjoyed the costumes. You are very close to the characters while watching the film, and I couldn’t help but admire the careful tiny stitches and thoughtful details in the clothing.
Poetry in Motion
Normally I’m not a stickler for the movie being like the book, but there were some changes, mainly to the characters, that didn’t seem necessary.
They made one of the characters an additional villain, but the JubJub and Bandersnatch they encounter are the villains, so I’m not sure why another villain was needed. They also changed the identity of one of the characters, I guess to make her backstory more interesting. Finally, they added in a character, but for what purpose I’m not sure.
Though there is voice over narration of the poem throughout the film, I wish even more of the actual poem was utilized. It’s a fantastic story. I’m always game for anything where a group of quirky characters band together for a common purpose, whether it’s to solve a crime, avoid being murdered, or catch an elusive creature that could possibly cause you to vanish forever. It’s always interesting to see how various personalities combine and compromise.
Though the poem has been adapted into a stage musical, and a short, live-action, student film, I think in the right hands, this story would make an intriguing, live-action, full length film.
I’d highly recommend reading Lewis Carroll’s poem. It is a lot fun and it makes the film easier to understand. If you have a little extra time on your hands, and are looking for something creative, strange, and different, give The Hunt for The Snark a watch.