Don Bluth, 2004
Animated music videos are usually a really good estimate of how good the animator is. Because usually the animator won't have a structured storyline or plot to rigidly follow, but rather a vague idea of what the band wants. Then you have to factor in how much money is being thrown at it- usually its not that much. At the end of the project you come out with around 2-3 minutes of animation that probably months and months has gone into. Singles, especially these days have a limited shelf life, and with supposed Music Channels like Mtv moving on to more mainstream "entertainment" rather than actually showing music videos, and other channels following suit, and Animated featurette is going to catch people attention- even if its rubbish. But of course, if that music video is good, it'll live on through requests and classic video reruns, or even in the back of our heads.
Of course, Mary has the wow factor. But would you expect less of Don Bluth? His distinctive, edgy-Disney (if you'll pardon the comparison) has been used to great effect in alot of my childhood favourites; Rock-a-Doodle (1992), Anastasia (1997) and Titan A.E (2000) aren't exactly Disney level in terms of popularity perhaps, but I know for certain I'm not the only one who remembers them (Yes, I COULD mention All Dogs go to Heaven, but I really didn't enjoy it as a child, so I never mention it). So a familiar style that draws in all the kids of my Era.
Then there’s the quality of the animation itself. All the backgrounds are simple and look a little weird in comparison to the actual characters- but I think that’s because they look a bit too bright- I would have toned the contrast down a touch but they look fabulous because their such parodies of the medieval style fairy tale backgrounds- like the ones in Sword and the Stone for example. And I love the tower and the outside of the castle...it looks all mysterious and foreboding but still whimsical.
The characters themselves- I have no idea what going on with the three troll women (I do love them, but they don't have as much character as the humans do), but "Mary" and her rescuer remind me alot of Anastasia’s humans, and they have that really lovely pretty but flawed feel about them, which makes them alot more interesting to watch than say any of the Disney princesses and their card-board cut out princes'.
I really could have sat through a full-length movie of this. As it is, Mary is a lovely insight into the daydreams of a bored and lonely office worker- and one of my favourite Animated music videos.