April 4, 2007

Animated Manhattan: Shortbus

Part 16 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.

ShortbusThere’s a lot of explicit sex in the movie Shortbus. There’s straight sex, gay sex, solo sex, oral sex, and group sex. But in between all the sex scenes, there are lovely animated sequences depicting New York City.

The movie, which is more artsy than pornographic, is primarily about a relationship-and-sex counselor who has never had an orgasm. She and the other characters live in New York, and when the narrative shifts from one part of the city to another, the camera flies through a virtual version of the city, over bridges and through the park, finally landing on a street or building where the next scene takes place.

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The virtual city is really wonderful. It looks like a handmade and hand painted model. If not for the way the camera moves between and around the buildings, it would be easy to mistake the computer generated model for a real tangible highly detailed replica. Most of the city’s recognizable landmarks are faithfully recreated. The city is depicted by day and by night, and even during a blackout, to wonderful effect.

The animation is done by John Bair, whose company Edgeworx has done visual effects for TV, movies, and commercials that you’ve almost definitely seen. Here are more images from his work on Shortbus:

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IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
BCDb Rating: N/A
My Rating: 8/10

(My rating is for the depiction of NYC only)


This is really gorgeous stuff. Kind of reminds me of Picasso a little bit. Seeing these sort of images about the movie will give you the wrong impression though. It’s very graphic.

The close-ups of the buildings looked like scale models. But the camera flying around the cityscape was definitely CG.