_jagodynski’s review published on Letterboxd:
"It's the mammoth ego trip of Dick Williams"
you can say that again pal
Persistence of Vision is a documentary covering the nearly 30 year long development of animation master and obsessive Richard Williams ultra ambitious (and if were being frank) pretty much downright impossible film, "The Thief and the Cobbler"
This documentary is made up mostly of archival footage and interviews. I knew this going in and I thought it was gonna be a bit tiresome but I was engaged throughout the whole thing and it was really interesting with no low points.
This shares a lot of parallels to the Ren and Stimpy doc that was recently released. In that it covers the story of a man so obsessed with his craft to inane and nonsensical levels that it drives away his friends, family, and ultimately the art he was making the whole time.
Richard is a fucking phenomenal animator but comes off as a total asshole here. (At least when hes a director, as a teacher he seems to be a great dude.) I've read his book and I knew the man loved his technical shit, but oh my fucking god this dude just throws out perfectly fine animation just beacuse the character doesnt stutter for 2 frames or some shit. no wonder people were leaving his studio left and right. not to mention he wasnt even giving people adequate time off and pay. so yea uhhhh i dont care how good your cartoon is treat your workers with respect.
but i digress, the animation that is shown is probably the best of the medium hands down. and it really is heartbreaking that what couldve been THE animated film turned into a free toy in fucking cereal boxes.
I know Richard didnt want to be in the documentary, but his inclusion outside of archival footage wouldve really made this a lot more informative. It wouldve been great to hear from executives or the insurance company that took over production and maybe even some contemporary filmmakers as well.
i also found the constantly changing aspect ratio to be odd. didnt bother me much, but i can see how that would annoy some.
As is, its a great history lesson of one of animations biggest what ifs, as well as a pretty good introduction to Williams work. I reccomend it to anyone interested in film or the artistic process as a whole. for animators its an absolute must see
RIP Dick. Hope wherever you are now you are able to make the movie you need.