[Fantasia 2021] Who’s the Master with Dreams & Monsters? Mad Gods?

19 Aug

Mad God (2021) - IMDbFantasia Film Festival 2021
Available to Stream on Aug 22 & 24
Tickets purchases available here.

Mad Dreams & Monsters is available in The Monster Collection (Amazon USA Link)

Anyone who saw Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters before going to see Mad God at Fantasia Film Festival is ahead of the game when getting to know how this film came to be. No prior knowledge is necessary, but this documentary by Gilles Penso and Alexandre Ponce will help. It’s a love letter to the man, and every film he made movie magic in. It includes his contributions to television (The Pillsbury Dough Boy) too. 

The transition to filmmaking took place when he met Dennis Muren who was looking for talents to staff Industrial Light & Magic. He is the creative mind behind realizing Dejarik, a weird chess-like game that Chewie and R2D2 played in episode IV and since then, his cinematic legacy was set in stone. The fact he had to recreate it for the new trilogy meant looking for those original molds and casts. 

This excellent documentary works well on its own. It explains where he came from, how his involvement in cinema began, and what inspired him. Anyone who’s bought Mad Dreams & Monsters in The Monster Collection (Amazon USA Link) will have a lot more Phil to adore, especially when he offers a master class and a lot more insight to his works. 

Phil Tippett: Following his Imagination to the Stars and Beyond - VFX Voice  MagazineVFX Voice Magazine

But in what defines the feature length standalone work is the look at his social life. He was a geek in school. Tippett talked about how he didn’t have many friends. So he made his own! Amusingly, it was the girl who proposed to him. Even though he’s considered a workaholic, Jules Roman understood. They stayed together despite being labelled the Taskmaster. The insights from family and friends make for the stronger narrative.

Tippett’s love for bringing still life to animated form all began when he saw The 7th Voyage of Sinbad when it released to theatres in 1958. He fondly talks about Ray Harrayhausen and Willis O’Brien. Half of the best genre films owe an enormous debt to all three. Without this latest contemporary’s steadfast attitude, they wouldn’t be the blockbusters fans know them for. Plus, Star Wars fans are delighted that he continues to work in that galaxy, far, far away.

But this master of stop motion is not willing to rest on his laurels either. In his spare time, he’s been working on his own material. He had to turn to crowdfunding to help with production, and at Fantasia 2021 (and other film festivals worldwide) he’s now able to premiere Mad Gods on Aug 22 and 24th. This unique film mixes up steampunk and horror, and it’s sure to be a sellout for fans of this man’s works.

5 Stars out of 5

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