Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SS1- CASE STUDY: Duck Amuck

DIRECTOR: Chuck Jones
STORY: Michael Maltese

In a series of comical mishap, the character (Daffy Duck) is tormented by a seemingly sly but initially unidentified animator who constantly manipulates Daffy’s existence by changing his locations, physical appearance and voice. Daffy’s constant attempt to return the chaos back to normalcy only ends up with the animator to be excessive in literally interpreting Daffy’s demands and eventually ignore him.

Maltese very diligently incorporates animation elements from real life such as film strips, paint brush erasers and other components which communicates the storyline uniquely, through interactivity between the creation and the creator with the use of elements like a paint brush which keeps manipulating the character's(Daffy) environment, appearance and also a pencil eraser which the unseen animator uses to 
rub out the character at certain points.

The initial scene is established with Daffy enacting the role of a musketeer set up in the appropriate time period and location. However, before even progressing quarter way through the act, he is in the middle of nothing but a blank canvas. On requesting for a scenery to suit his part, the animator paints on a completely contrasting location to Daffy’s role which forces him to resort to a change in clothing and role play. It is thereon, that the character is constantly forced to adapt to locations that are unsuitable for the part he plays.The use of this comical tactic really tests one’s funny bone as it exposes the demanding yet unquestionably hilarious behavior of the character which remains unchanged till the very end of the story. Conventionally, one would expect the character arc to end in a state of ‘realization’ where he experiences a change;however in this short, the characters persistent demands and mishaps manage to successfully entertain throughout till the surprising climax.

Prior to the actual climax, there comes a point where the audience is made to anticipate the end of the story where it appears to be a curtain close. However, the character is proving to stop at nothing till his demands are fulfilled, just as much as the creator who is also as much determined to pester Daffy till he is at wit’s end; that would include messing up the film roll as well. From that point, the characters sanity is put to the ultimate test with constant obstructions and hurdles which includes a failed attempt of sucker punching his body double who is literally erased from the picture by the creator. These series of incidences only cause further anticipation from the audience who want to further witness the amount of blows the character can take.

A great attempt of manifesting the nature of the relation between the creator and the creation is in the part where Daffy’s attempt of landing on ground with a parachute is slyly erased and redrawn into an anvil by the animator. What highlights the relationship is the revelation towards the climax where the quick witted animator draws out a door around Daffy and shuts it. This camera shot then zooms out from the paper canvas to an animators desk behind which is seated none other that Daffy’s best friend/arch-rival.

Behind every comical misadventure in the short lies a very simple concept of fate. No matter what life throws at you, one should adapt or make amendments rather than complain about what nature has designed for you.

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