of Mark Twain
delightful and fascinating journey
into the imaginary world of the creator
of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,
told with beautifully-detailed claymation
figures and backdrops a visual treat
for adults and children...
BORN IN 1835, THE SAME YEAR HALLEY'S COMET visited the Earth during
its 75-year cycle, Mark Twain (voice of James Whitmore) believes that he has
an appointment with the comet when it reappears in 1910 and that
is the year he believes he will go out of the world.
Twain builds a fantastical airship full of gadgets and portals to his stories
and his diary and sets off to meet the comet little knowing that Tom
Sawyer (voice of Chris Ritchie), Huckleberry Finn (voice of Gary King), Becky
Thatcher (Michele Mariana) and Homer the Frog (Tom Gasek) have stowed away.
Or does he?
Featuring a series of amusing and well-observed vignettes extracted from a number
of Mark Twain's works, the film is an incredible fantasy journey built around
Twain chasing the comet. The three stowaways and Homer are introduced to characters
from: The Diary of Adam and Eve; Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger;
The Famous Jumping Frog of Caliverous County; and Captain Stormfield's Visit
Particularly funny is when God (Billy Victor) creates The Garden of Eden, with
a spectacular waterfall, and then Adam (John Morrison) first and later
to Adam's consternation! Eve (Carol Edelman), who seems to know everything
and to be able to do anything. I was reminded of the song A Hundred Pounds
Of Clay by Craig Douglas, which describes how God made everything with one
hundred pounds of clay. Adam is destined to become tempted by Eve, even though
he tries to escape on a unicorn!
The sequence based on The Mysterious Stranger, featuring a disturbing angel
called Satan (Michele Mariana and Wilbur Vincent), reportedly received over
ten million views when it was posted on YouTube. This was also allegedly banned
from television due to its "disturbing content". Put it this way: sensitive
children should not watch this. "Life itself is only a vision," says Satan.
Mark Twain says he has friends in "both places": Heaven and Hell. With Old Captain
Stormfield hailing from San Francisco demanding to be let in through the Gates
of Heaven, three-headed blue aliens and a mysterious man in a suit, you can
well believe it.
Exploring distant lands such as London and Egypt, while dipping into the wonderful
world of Twain's imagination, the friends encounter dangers and delights, including
Injun Joe, who crops up like a bad penny. There is even an explanation given
for the Sphinx's missing nose!
Eventually Tom, Huckleberry and Becky begin to wonder if they will ever get
home and Tom decides to hijack the balloon, putting them all in danger. What
have they done to the balloon and who will save them? Will they get back safely
or will they join Mark Twain in his date with destiny?
There are some terrific touches, including Mark Twain playing an organ with
gargoyles singing. The Adventures of Mark Twain is an incredible, funny
and fascinating journey into the imaginary world of the author and the Claymation
is absolutely splendid. A visual treat for everyone and a must-see for fans
of Aardman Studios.
Accompanied by a host of brand new unseen
extras, the DVD and Blu-ray of the first full-length feature film in the magic
of claymation, The Adventures of Mark Twain (directed by Will Vinton;
best known for The California Raisins animation), will be released on
31 October 2011.
Certificate: PG | Running Time: 86 Minutes | Catalogue Number: DVD EKA40341;
Blu-ray EKA70036 | RRP: DVD £16.34; Blu-ray £18.38.
Brand new unseen extras
Commentary and interviews by Producer/Director Will Vinton and members of the
cast and crew | The History of Claymation, a 25-minute documentary on the origins
of stop-motion, Claymation and 3D animation | The Amazing World of Claymation:
tour of the popular exhibit hosted by Will Vinton | Behind the Scenes video
clips and video news stories from… Mark Twain's initial release | The Art of…
Mark Twain a gallery of original concept art of characters and sets in
pencil and paint | Trailer.
"The Adventures of Mark Twain is an incredible, funny and fascinating
journey into the imaginary world of the author and the Claymation is absolutely
splendid. A visual treat for everyone" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"…Twain seems like Fantasia. It's been a long time since anyone
but Disney has made an animated feature that adults and children can enjoy together"
Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times