Artists by nature are, generally, a self-reflexive, navel-gazing bunch. Probably it has to do with the amount of time they spend in their own heads, inventing new worlds drawn from their own thoughts and experience. If that is true of artists in general, in must go double for stop-motion animators, practitioners of a pain-staking and often lonely craft.
Mikey Please, winner of the SotW Award for Best Film of 2013 with The Eagleman Stag, is quite an entertaining and personable fellow in real life, but in his followup to that magnificent work he plumbs the depth of his angst for amusing result in Marilyn Myller. The film centers on myth, a world creating figure transforming existence on an awesome scale. She is a God! Benevolent and creative and kind—only the film pulls back—our God is actually a lonely, frustrated artist butting her head up against the weight of her own expectation.
The parallels between Please and his character are clear, something even more recognizable in the film’s original iteration as Martyn Physher (a name that was changed as a courtesy to another famous British animator). However like in The Eagleman Stag, Please is able to undercut the heavy meta-commentary of his concept with playfulness. Using satire, he transforms Marilyn’s nadir into unexpected (and stupid!) triumph, paying homage along the way to Please’s past experience as an art student.
It is a challenge to craft a followup to such a universally beloved and vastly acclaimed short as The Eagleman Stag, and that challenge is cleverly addressed by the film itself. Marilyn Myller continues with the intricate white foam modeling that has become Please’s trademark and if anything ups the ante on technical excellence. Please retains the collaboration of his gifted mate Dan Ojari, but now has the backing of notable production companies Blink Industries and Hornet Inc.
A headliner on the festival circuit the past year, Marilyn Myller comes home to the internet, debuting online today. It also marks the launch of Please and Ojari’s new studio Parabella. It can be a challenge to translate such distinctive talent to the workaday world of commercial production, but with Marilyn Myller proving that The Eagleman Stag was no fluke, we sure as hell wouldn’t bet against these guys.