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From his birth, Harvie Krumpet (voice of John Flaus) is seemingly cursed with ill-luck - he suffers from Tourette's syndrome and has to leave the country after the Germans invade and his parents freeze to death. He immigrates to Australia, where he suffers further woes, including the loss of a testicle, but finally learns to accept his lot in life.

Review by Jake Wilson
Adam Elliot's previous claymation short films were charming on their small scale, so it gives me no pleasure to say that Harvie Krumpet, his most ambitious project to date, is a total failure that reveals the limits of his over-hyped talent.

It's supposed to be a magic-realist fable about an Everyman's journey through the 20th century, but the uplift falls flat and the "quirky" touches (Harvie joins a nudist colony) are twee or random. Elliot is obviously way out of his depth in trying to give his contrived story some historical resonance: the narration mentions the German invasion of Poland (in 1942!) but shies away from making Harvie a Nazi victim.

To be whimsically serious in this manner requires a certain purity of heart, and this anxiously ingratiating filmmaker is no Michael Leunig. The weak script also makes it hard to ignore the technical and budgetary limits of the animation: rooted to the spot, the characters blink their eyes or scratch their bulbous heads - but the elaborate sight gags that Nick Park pulled off in the Wallace & Gromit series are far out of reach.

Special features review by Andrew L. Urban:
A 22 minute animation can carry only so much bonus material on the DVD, an Oscar notwithstanding, but it's good to have included Elliot's 'family' of three shorts. They provide a glimpse at the Elliot style and the genesis of Harvie.

The storyboard featurette is probably of greatest interest to animators, but at least it isn't boring and complements the audio commentary. In the commentary, Elliot explains things like why Harvie doesn't have lips until he's a teenager, and what his ugg boots are made of.

The overall presentation of the DVD is fun and navigation is clean. What more can a clay man ask for?

Published April 8, 2004

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VOICES: Geoffrey Rush, Julie Forsyth, Kamahl, John Flaus

PRODUCER: Melanie Coombs

DIRECTOR: Adam Elliot

PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Adam Elliot; storyboard featurette; 3 other Elliot shorts: Uncle, Brother, Cousin


DVD RELEASE: March 10, 2004

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