There are a wealth of things that are made better by having a Carl Sagan voiceover behind it. A trip to the dentist, getting a flat tire, and even childbirth. (I can’t speak from experience on that last one.) Computer animation and logo design company Mothlight Creations decided to use segments from arguably Sagan’s most profound work, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, to accompany their gorgeous black-and-white animated short From Dust. Of course this film can’t match the overwhelming sense of exploration that Sagan invokes, but it does a pretty damned good job.
It’s a vision we’ve all seen before: a rocket is getting read to take off into space, a wide-eyed astronaut on board, ready to conquer the galaxy. But director Daniel Winne lays on the old-timey effects to give it personality. The grain and artifacts on the “film” are almost too much at times, but it’s a great throwback to some of the actual footage taken during the heyday of the Space Race.
What really works here is, instead of putting Sagan’s words front and center, they’re always there in the background, behind the emotionally-charged music, which itself is nearly covered up by ambient sound.
The feeling of speed and escape is strong here, and it reminds me of being a kid, thinking about running away from home. Not because I had a bad childhood or anything, but just to experience life outside of the norm, something different. That sense of fleeing only got stronger once I learned how to drive and could then go speeding around without a care in the world. (Besides raising gas prices.) From Dust truly takes me back to that time in my life, and I wish I’d only had a rocket ship back then, and the intelligence to know how to fly it.
Here’s another interesting video from Mothlight. This one concerns death and the afterlife, which I tend to associate with outer space for some reason. I think because they’re both the most humbling things I can think of.
We’re anxiously awaiting the upcoming sequel to Sagan’s Cosmos, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, as presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. It will premiere on Fox this March, and will hopefully not be the worst idea known to man. The previews make it look amazing. Check it out.