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Monster Road - Collector's Edition - documentary DVD / animation DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Bruce Bickford, George Bickford
Director: Brett Ingram   Studio: Microcinema DVD
DVD release: 30 September 2008   Runtime: 80 min. (1 disc)
Format: Collector's Edition, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital - English), Subtitles (English), 45 minutes of video extras including eight deleted scenes and seven previously unreleased shorts

Monster Road examines the life and methods of animator Bruce Bickford, whose morphing flow-of-consciousness animation interludes graced Frank Zappa's concert film Baby Snakes. He lives in a house near Seattle he inherited from his mother, built by his father, now filled with the parts used in the making of his animated films, past and future. He enjoys his herbal life-extending concoction while wearing a smoking jacket on the roof of his home, which boasts a beautiful view. He tries to stay active and fit, as this may well be the answer to a longer life.

Bruce's father, George, suffers Alzheimer's but still lives on his own and seems pretty lucid.* George decorates the walls of his kitchen with pictures clipped from magazines, labeling them with amusing captions. It seems as though George is a bit of an artist himself, though I don't think he'd say so himself. He waxes philosophical throughout his portions, seeming to flit between atheism and theism; he wonders at one point who made a rainbow.

Through Monster Road, Bickford's vision becomes more clear. His philosophies and his narrative are explained a bit better than he could do himself, making this an excellent companion piece to any of his animations - and if you're a fan of animation, it's a must.

The extra features include deleted scenes which are themselves excellent, not just throw-aways. There is extra animation by Bruce and 15 MP3s of soundtrack music by Shark Quest.

[* George Bickford died in his sleep Oct. 9, 2005 at ninety years old.]

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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