Renaissance review, Renaissance DVD review

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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Renaissance (2006) starno starno starno starno star Starring: Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack, Romola Garai, Jonathan Pryce
Director: Christian Volckman
Rating: R
Category: Sci-Fi

Six years seems like an awful long time to spend making a film, especially when the film in question is Christian Volckman’s “Renaissance.” Created using advanced 3D motion-capture technology, the animated feature is certainly one of the most impressive endeavors in the history of film, but sadly, it’s a complete failure. It should probably be chalked up as more of a waste of time than anything else, since anyone that goes to see it will likely want to leave after the first twenty minutes. Yes, it’s that bad, and while the film does boast an interesting visual likeness to Frank Miller’s “Sin City,” the lackadaisical script makes even the most striking images appear dull and lifeless. An ironic predicament considering the story is all about immortality.

Set in Paris in 2054, “Renaissance” tells the boring tale of a cop named Karas (Daniel Craig) and his investigation into the disappearance of Ilona Tasueiv (Romola Garai), a genetic researcher who carries the secret to a cure for the premature aging disorder, progeria. Others view the formula as a sort of Fountain of Youth-in-a-bottle – namely the evil president (Jonathan Pryce) of Avalon, a pharmaceutical company who could only profit from such a discovery – and will go to great lengths to get it. With the help of her older sister, Bislane (Catherine McCormack), and a German scientist (Ian Holm) with a mysterious past, Karas must track down Ilona before it’s too late.

Stealing plot devices from just about every sci-fi noir ever made (including “Blade Runner” and “Dark City”), “Renaissance” is a clichéd failure that doesn’t deserve anything better than a clichéd evaluation. The film seriously reeks of “been there done that” material and is entirely “all style and no substance.” Part of this is due to the shoddy voice work throughout, and despite a fantastic English-language cast, the emotions of the characters are never conveyed quite as strongly they should be. Everyone sounds wooden – as if they’re reading pages of dialogue in between their daily errands – and the animation looks just as stiff.

It’s strange to think that the filmmakers would spend so much time on the laborious creation, only to slack off in post-production. Then again, perhaps the director (Volckman) simply grew tired of the process and just wanted the whole thing to be done with once and for all. It’s a nice theory, but I’d hate to think there was any truth to it. After all, sloppy filmmaking is the last thing you would want to present to a group of tired, grumpy critics. This isn’t a film renaissance. This is a film degeneration.

~Jason Zingale

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