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Overall: 6
Story: 5
Animation: 7
Cinematography: 8
Sound: 7
Music: 8

The Man with the Top Hat

Directed By: Jonathan Vaughan

Genre: Mystery, Action
Length: 0:6:30
Released: September 21st, 2006

Director's Comments

This was my entry to the Fame, Infamy, and Glory competition on Brickfilms.com (it placed 6th). In the city of Tompa, the elusive criminal known as "the Man with the Top Hat" strikes again, drawing police closer to discovering his true identity.

Staff Review

Watson:
It's entirely possible that the man with the top hat was the first film I ever saw from Nick Durron; it was one of the first he'd ever made. One could immediately foresee that he was capable of producing quality brickfilms. His more recent productions show that this film was indeed a sign of what was to come.

On of the remarkable things about The Man With the Top hat is it's polish. The technicals are all there -- the animation, the sound effects, the music, the cinematography -- it's polished. But it's not the polish of a glossy magazine, punching up its contents and giving it more authority, nor is it the polish of brand new automobile, adding to the appeal and beauty of an already expensive machine. It's just polish. On it's own. And it's rather disappointing without anything to put it on.

In spite of the wonderful filmmaking and obvious talent, The Man With the Top Hat suffers in it's story and it's voice acting. The voice acting problem is easy to dismiss -- most likely, Nick did not have access to a pool of voice actors, and he did his best to voice many different characters, resulting in some pretty wild-sounding voices. At first you wonder why an english language film needs english subtitles, but because of the way some of the characters are voiced, it was a wise choice.

But voice acting is easily forgivable, it's the storyline that's most regrettable. Granted, it could be interpretted as being meant to be campy and silly. The characters themselves point out the absurdity that the man with the top hat who's been robbing banks turns out to be -- quite serendipitously -- the man who works at the bank and wears a top hat. Questions arise:

Why does this criminal, known for robbing banks and wearing top hats, not opt to leave the top hat off during his day job at the bank? Why would he take his secret day planner to the bank, and leave it tantalizingly propped on an otherwise barren desk, begging to be snooped in? At the very least, does his desk not have drawers? Why does he need such an elaborate book, if he only writes the name of the bank he will be robbing on a particular date? Why does he need to thoroughly mark each bank he robs as having been completed? Is he worried that he might forget he already robbed it, and do it again by accident?

While it's fun to think about some of the oddities of the story, it's all part of the fun of The Man With The Top Hat, which, after several years, still succeeds as an interesting, well developed, and yes, polished film.

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