One of the delights of the small spaces between programs on the Australian national broadcaster ABC’s schedule are small bite-sized cartoons by a French company, Ikon Productions.
Their series, Minuscule, features short usually humorous interplays between various computer-generated 3D insects set against the idyllic backdrop of rural France. The insects display an engaging anthropomorphic sensibility and I can honestly say it is some of the funniest material I have ever seen on television.
The key to it I think is its inherent simplicity. The story lines aren’t overly complicated, and rely on a clever use of slapstick, characters with personalities so beautifully detailed they come alive in an astonishingly short space of time, and short, sharp and very much to the point durations.
It is a testament to co-creators Thomas Sazbo and Helene Giraud, and producer, Phillipe Delarue that a series about teeny tiny insects, which they freely acknowledge owes a comedic debt of gratitude to the 1950s Looney Tunes cartoons by Warner Bros., looms so large over the cultural landscape.
And it is about to stand even taller still. Ikon is in the midst of filming on a long-planned theatrical movie release, Valley of the Lost Ants, with a final shooting session set down for July this year. No word yet on its planned release date but if the movie bears even a skerrick of the humour and cleverness of its more short running cousins, and why would it not, it can’t help but be a box office smash.
Or is that last word a bad one to use when there are so many flies about to start buzzing around cinemas worldwide?