________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 2004


John Weldon’s Deeper Dementia.

Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2003.
63 min. 44 sec., VHS, $99.95.
Order Number: C9103 006.

Subject heading:
Animated films.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4

John Weldon’s Deeper Dementia consists of six animated shorts: The Hungry Squid, The Lump, Emergency Numbers, Real Inside, Scant Sanity and Of Dice and Men. John Weldon's Deeper Dementia is divided into two acts. Act I "Recyclomation-Weldon: Medium and Raw" includes The Hungry Squid, the newest short included (2002), and Weldon's first attempt at puppet animation. Weldon introduces this short to the audience on camera. Weldon's young knotty-haired main character struggles with absent parents and homework eating pests in this tall tale. Her inability to submit her homework lands Dorothy Sue Ann in the guidance counselor's office on a daily basis. No one believes her stories about the ravenous animals devouring her homework on the way to school each morning. When the hungry squid is on the loose, Dorothy's quick thinking saves the day. Act I also includes The Lump (2001) which is a parody proving that looks really are everything. This animated short featuring cutouts and 3-D backgrounds looks at the human qualities that lead to popularity and power. The Intermission features Emergency Numbers (1984); a silent short which features a fast paced cat-and-dog fight.

     Act II "The Mind Within" includes Real Inside (1984) which features Buck Boon, a cartoon looking for a job. This short reminds me of a Roger rabbit style of animation, combining live action with animation. The personnel manager is not used to dealing with someone so "different," and this short pokes fun at hiring practices and stereotypes. Also included in Act II is Scant Sanity (1996) which is also introduced by Weldon with commentary on his personal life as inspiration for this film. This short looks at life as different levels of insanity. The last short on this video compilation is Of Dice and Men (1988) which was apparently made on a simple office computer. This short examines the theory of probability using a 17th century dice game as the setting.

     The viewing of this compilation was my first introduction to this recyclomation style of animation. John Weldon is a seasoned director who has collaborated on over 50 productions for NFB. Weldon co-directed Special Delivery, a 1978 Oscar winning animated short. Because Weldon is known for his quirky, colourful characters, Weldon fans will not be disappointed. Weldon has made a name for himself with his digital recyclomation style of blending low-budget computer animation, puppets, photos and stop-motion. Generally the music is well suited to each short, often fast paced and complementary to the elements of humour.

     John Weldon's Deeper Dementia is recommended for Weldon fans and animation buffs.


Catherine Hoyt is the Public Services Librarian for the York Library Region in Fredericton, NB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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