Reviewby Chris Shepard,
Earth vs. Mars, order vs. chaos! The story of one man who must make a choice.
By some definitions, Understanding Chaos isn't an anime at all! It's the one-man animation project and dream of Terrance Walker. Reaching an approximate 20 minutes, it's a side-story and technical demo featuring characters of an apparently larger vision. This is the product of one extremely dedicated American who's bent on making an animated short in the style of anime. And it's all done in his very own home, too.
Finding the correct approach to this title is difficult as it's very different from the normal review-load. For one, it can't be viewed as just another standard anime title. Anyone could easily pick it apart and throw a boatload of criticism at it. But, since a single person is handling it all, it's actually quite amazing. It's absolutely stunning what just one man can do with digital animation.
Understanding Chaos is the short tale of a man who finds himself in a chaotic situation where he just doesn't know what to do. Played out in a science fiction setting, he is in the midst of confrontation. It becomes apparent to him that everything he believes in may be false. Tension rises and frustration sets in. It's one of those situations you find yourself in that no matter what you do, you're screwed from every angle and there's absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself or make things right. Understanding Chaos tells of this man's reaction.
Characters move a little jerky at times, the big confrontation could have been made more exciting, Mr. Walker isn't that great of a voice actor, and a wider variety of camera angles could have been used. Okay, I've gotten that out of the way.
It's amazing what Terrance Walker came up with all on his own. All with consumer products and equipment, he successfully made several beautiful scenes of animation that are very reminiscent of higher budget anime films of today. Understanding Chaos proves that with the digital revolution, anyone can follow his or her dreams and anything is possible.
Along with the 20-minute feature is a 50-minute documentary of how Understanding Chaos came to be. Mr. Walker explains each step he took in making the film, tells of the computer programs and equipment he used, and goes into detail with some of the more complex scenes. Any aspiring animators or even just people with a tiny bit of curiosity should find this all extremely interesting. It shows that just a little bit of time and dedication, anyone can do this. It's a very motivating and inspiring piece. Definitely something to check out for anyone who's been thinking about getting into this field.
The Understanding Chaos DVD isn't really something one would buy for a deep entertaining story. There's just not enough here to warrant such a purchase. However, for someone interested in animation, drawing, or just being creative, this can be a very motivating disc. By the time I was done watching, I even found myself day-dreaming about what I could accomplish with just a little time in front of these animation programs. Understanding Chaos is going to get your creative juices flowing. If you love animation, Understanding Chaos might be right up your alley.
+ Stunning for being handled by just one person.
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