One of the things we love about animation is its ability to make magic out of really silly, stream-of-consciousness style plots. Selected for Sundance this year, Black Holes fits that bill: a buttoned up astronaut, his proctologist nemesis, and a sentient, fashion-designer melon (a cantaloupe I think?), all work towards the goal of mankind reaching Mars, and along the way spoof 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film definitely has that charmingly unhinged feel of a story idea developed over too many late-night, dorm-room bong hits, and whether every joke hits for you or not, the result is pleasingly random.
What is unusual for films of this kind though is to have amazingly intricate 3D animation paired with it. I mean Black Holes is grotesquely gorgeous, and the amount of labor that went into this 12min pilot is absurd. With heavily stylized but unique character design, tons of locations, and immaculate background detail, the film is a top-notch artistic production which—when juxtaposed with its off-the-wall story—is a weird combination.
For this reviewer it definitely works though. Produced by the French/American company NOODLES, the short film is the brainchild of two brothers, David Nicolas Laurent Nicolas, who are accomplished animation directors with notable French TV shows to their name, as well as the Netflix series F is for Family. Along with Kevos Van Der Meiren, a frequent collaborator of Quentin Dupieux (Rubber), the team had the talent and experience to pull this off, and their ambitions for Black Holes extend past the short: the film’s online launch coincides with a Kickstarter campaign designed to get the funding necessary to produce an entire season of episodes.
While the adult animation space is still booming in America with Warner’s Adult Swim leading the way, due to the technical and financial challenge of 3D animation, we haven’t seen many of these idiosyncratic shows explore CG. Black Holes could certainly fit in that kind of late-night TV lineup, and in a content landscape defined by fierce competition amongst SVOD platforms, it feels like good timing for an upstart production company to try and pull something like this off independently. Take a look and see if you agree, and if it strikes your fancy, check out the team’s Kickstarter campaign at the link below.