Abel's Island (1988)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/21/08
Director: Michael Sporn
Cast: Tim Curry

One of my favorite childhood books was William Steig's "Abel's Island," a story about a rich and pampered high society mouse who gets marooned on a deserted island during a fierce storm. After numerous failed attempts to escape the island, he begins to accept his fate and focuses on survival. He also discovers that he has a talent for art, and creates statues of his family to keep him company. It's a charming tale of humility, determination, and self discovery.

The animated version condenses the story into thirty minutes, but manages to hit all of the major events. Tim Curry lends his voice to Abel and does a wonderful job. Other than that, the show seems to live in a audio void, and music and sound effects are exceedingly sparse. In this sense, it almost feels like the story is being read to you and you're just looking at the pictures. It's not bad, just different. The most remarkable thing about the film is that it perfectly matches the look and feel of the book's illustrations, and that sparked a lot of nostalgic memories. The animation is all hand painted with markers and watercolors, giving it a very soft, warm, and unique look. The movements are simple, but the aesthetic is superb.