Science fiction is driven by vivid imagination. Its director also needs the skills to execute his or her vision, peppered with a perceptive view on our society. And not many science fiction stories are built on top of reality, they are inspired by reality, and so is Takahide Hori’s stop-motion animated short, Junk Head, which is set in the aftermath of environmental destruction.
The opening briefs us with necessary background information to understand the story. Past those slides of info, Junk Head looks magnificent. It’s an excellent micro-indie production that defies looking like a micro-indie production. The story becomes eerily curious as the camera airily sweeps through Hori’s rugged, boundless dystopia.
Junk Head has a Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The City of Lost Children vibe, as it is filled with slapstick playfulness, which balances its misty seriousness. The film’s comic cheerfulness comes from its bizarre humanoids that are endearing in their own way. But the humanoids share their underworld with unpleasant beasts: the spiky, muscular, bony, worms and pseudo-worms which reminded me of Bacon’s tortured creatures of Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. The worms are faceless, but with a mouth that engorges itself with all things that scurry past their vein-like radar.
Characters look detailed and hand-made with care; they are deftly animated as well. I was moved by how Hori captured a pair of quivering eyeballs on a human head. Besides, sets props and backdrops keep a unified, balanced aesthetic. The mix of textures is one fun part of watching the film as well.
Because the story structure has a fictitious foundation, Junk Head needs more depth and space to elaborate its story. A promising story as Junk Head deserves a chance to be developed further. Plus, I am desperate to figure out what had happen to our troubled Junk, so I am participating in Hori’s fundraising campaign online.
Having painstakingly crafted and animated this movie during his free time over a period of four years, Hori is now seeking the funds to produce a 60 minute sequel which will take the story to a 90 minute feature length. You can find out more and support the campaign at his Indiegogo page.