Director and special effects animation master Brett Piper is pretty much an industry of one these days, fighting to keep stop-motion animation alive. Luckily, everything he makes is a hell of a lot of fun. Piper's work is moving away from the blood and boobs of some of his earlier work (Bite Me! etc.) for slightly more family-friendly ground. Queen Crab and Triclops read like '50s throwbacks, which is of course entirely appropriate for stop-motion animation. Young, sophisticated audiences corn-fed on CGI and transgression will sadly miss the point of Piper's work, while his cadre of fans will find Triclops to be simply delightful.
Piper tackles a fantasy trope that's been fairly popular for a couple centuries to show you where his heart's at: the old explorer-disappears-in-a-valley-populated-by-monsters motif. Glenn Edwards vanishes when his plane crashes in Amarok Crater, and the Government ain't doing a damn thing about it, so it's up to his fiancÚ Samantha to rescue him. Who better to help than a dude in a bomber jacket and a drunken pilot? Trouble is, weird giant insects and a 50-foot-tall dude with three eyes populate the crater, and it's up to Samantha and her pals to find Glenn and escape alive! Here's hoping they're up to the challenge!
Triclops is, primarily, silly-ass fun, not meant to be taken seriously at all, except where Piper's animation efforts are concerned, and the furious compositing he does to weave everything together. (I reckon the efforts in selling the sizzle, from actors Erin Waterhouse, Richard Lounello, Ken Van Sant and Matthew Crawley are also of importance. And it should be noted they all comport themselves admirably, just believable and serious enough to keep everything afloat.) As far as story-telling art with a capital 'A' is concerned, I'm sure I don't have to tell you where to go. It ain't Piper's or Van Sant's backyards, where much of Triclops was shot. Characters' motivations are fluid and unreliable, and that's about all there is to complain about.
Old-fashioned, relaxed comic timing, and compelling action-effects sequences made with Piper's pocket change and hundreds if not thousands of hours of work are what should be celebrated. Though Triclops is shaggy as hell, it's an honest, authentic labor of love, and a damn good night at the drive-in movies. Weird giant bugs caper effortlessly, while the title creature represents a marvel of blended stop-motion and a super-imposed flabby guy in a loincloth.
Triclops' blend of breathless action, stop-motion mania, old-fashioned creatures and fun-fun-fun is near perfect in its nostalgic simplicity. If you've ever assembled a monster model kit, (or just wish you had) order up a pizza, crack open an icy-cold Coke, and kick back, because this one's Recommended.