Broken Saints

Starring (voice): Kirby Morrow, Janyse Jaud, Michael Dobson and Scott McNeil
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: 34.99
Certificate: 15
Available 21 August 2006

In a world much resembling our own, four disparate souls are drawn to a dark city where their own fate, and that of the worlds, will be decided. Driven by terrifying visions an American programmer, a Japanese priest, a Fijian girl and an Arabic mercenary have to find it within themselves to confront a world wide conspiracy and to move to a point where they have to decide whether they have it in themselves to sacrifice everything for world salvation and the chance to know the truth...

Broken Saints is truly a prodigious work of flash animation, created by Brooke Burgess who had previously worked as the executive producer for the game Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. It is a show with a strong philosophical and religious bent. The show justifiably won the Online Film Festivals Viewers Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and Producer of the Year at the 2005 Canadian New Media Awards.

The story, stretching to twenty-four episodes over twelve hours - all of it with a commentary track, is spread over four discs including an enormous amount of extras. I was going to present them in the main body of the review but they really are so huge that, to be fair to the makers I felt that the full list should be included but so as not to produce a huge gap the extras are detailed at the end.

When most people think of flash animation they generally think of those free online games, or the odd parodies where only the mouth moves unconvincing, this, my friends is in a wholly different ball park. The show is touted as an animated book, but in truth it is so much more. The visuals are way past anything that you would have seen in flash animation before, and they are just going to blow you away. This is art colliding with computer savvy to create a whole new genre which demands to be taken seriously.

Broken Saints is much deeper and more convoluted than my introduction gives it credit for. The only thing you can say is that once you start watching it you not going to want to stop till the end. Characterisation is spot on and as the various characters go through their journeys towards the dark city you really do end up caring what happens to these little animated characters. You can watch the whole event with either a vocal track or in its original format with just the music. The text at all times is displayed on the screen.

Visually the discs are a real treat, but then as the show was originally designed to be displayed on a computer only an idiot could screw up the digital transfer. The show has a 5.1 audio soundtrack which is never short of a delight to listen to; subtitles are available in eight major European languages.

If this is a vanguard for a new form of entertainment then I for one am up for it. Go out and buy it - you won't be sorry you did.


Disc one
Art Institute panel discussion with Brooke Burgess (creator), David Kaye (voice talent) and Carol Parnell (executive Producer)
Broken Saints soundtrack
Voice-over and audio features
Prophecy trailer
Classic trailer
Broken Saints game trailer
Three Easter Eggs

Disc two
Walker National Art Centre lecture sessions with Brooke Burgess
Broken Saints apartment tour
Demo footage
A collection of press interviews
Two more Easter eggs

Disc three
Tarot tree character profiles
Three more Easter eggs
Eight fan presentations based on the show

Disc four
Making-of documentary
Sundance Film Festival featurette
Eight behind the scenes pieces
Five more Easter eggs

Charles Packer

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