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Flatland This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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In 2007, Ladd Ehlinger Jr. decided to try and bring the cult classic book “Flatland” to the big screen. Does he succeed? Let’s take a look.

The plot takes place in Flatland, a world where the inhabitants (called “Flatlanders”) are two-dimensional geometric shapes with no height and are ruled by the circle priests. A. Square (voiced by Ladd Ehlinger Jr. himself) is an attorney, who meets a sphere (Simon G. Hammond) that shows to him the third dimension so he can spread the truth to his fellow Flatlanders. Unfortunately, the priest circles, led by President Circle (Greg Trent), outlaw preaching about the third dimension and make it punishable by death.
First, here is what the film gets right. The animation for the Flatlanders is very good. The voice acting is believable. The storytelling has very unique style to it. Finally, the protagonist is very likable and sympathetic.

Sadly, the film has its cons to it. The film is extremely gory and violent. There is a scene where a dodecagon is bleeding to death and a soldier triangle is still killing him. The animation for the third dimension beings uses a different animation program and it shows. The third dimension beings look very fake and unconvincing especially compared to the Flatlanders’ animations. The film has a huge amount of padding (most notably a subplot about a war between the north and south parts of Flatland), but in the end the padding is more interesting than the actual plot. The films make changes to the story that weakens it. The most egregious example is, in the movie, the circles make it illegal to talk about the third dimension for three days after the New Year (whereas this ban was permanent in the book). So all A. Square has to do is wait three days, then he can talk about the third dimension all he wants. The ending comes from nowhere, makes no sense in context and is so mind numbing nonsensical and abrupt that I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what happened.

Overall, the film’s potential is ultimately wasted. It poorly tries to adapt a beloved book and makes bizarre changes that ruin the story. I give it a 1 out of 5.





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