16 October 2010

The Grand Old Duke of York as Steampunk Megalomaniac

If you like your nursery rhymes at their darkest then you will like this version of The Grand Old Duke of York.  It is the university thesis of Daniel Boyle who studied at Kingston University in the UK and is now part of the Treat Studios Collective of animators.  He admits himself that it is now rather old but I love the more traditional forms of animation used here as well as the extended visual metaphor he uses to take the nursery rhyme in to a different definition of itself.

From a nursery rhyme come action song in to a powerful anti-war statement via the power of animation.  This is at the same time an ambitious undertaking but also the power is in the simplicity of the idea, with the Grand Old Duke himself portrayed as some sort of steampunk megalomaniac creating his soldiers as toys and sending them in to battle.  The reality of the situation is however, vividly illustrated at the point at which casualties of war start to occur.

I don't want to contradict the creator of this piece so I will say, yes, perhaps this animation is now old in terms of the techniques used to create it.  However, its underlying message has lost none of its power. Like the best of animation, time shall not weary it.