VOTD: 'Magnus'

"An old train travels through landscapes, to get to an ancient city." Today's animated short may sound boring on paper, but I can promise you that the actual film is anything but. Created as a masters project by Paris 8 University students Nelson Dos Santos and Omar Merandi, "Magnus" combines exquisite graphics with an equally impressive score to tell a story that is, in the end, surprisingly moving. Watch it after the jump.

[via Geeks are Sexy]

Though I'd guess that the filmmakers took some of their inspiration from the art of Final Fantasy VII, "Magnus" is stunning in its own right. All of the animation in this movie is intricately detailed, from the sweeping landscapes to the tiniest bit of barbed wire. I especially love how old and textured everything feels, giving the film a fairy tale-ish tone despite the presence of a modern-day train station.

What really elevates the film, however, is Phillipe Rey's score. Graceful and poignant, it complements the visuals perfectly and sets an irresistible mood. The story is pretty bare-bones — we never find out just why the train is so determined to get to the ancient city, or what's compelling those glowing dots to shine up toward the sky — but the combination of music and imagery tell us all we need to know. I'm seriously impressed by how emotionally powerful the whole thing is, when as I've said it's not even clear what exactly is going on.

If "Magnus" demonstrates what Dos Santos and Merandi can do in just four minutes, I really hope we'll get a chance to see more of their work in longer forms in the future — a feature film, perhaps, or a video game. As for Rey, you can head over to his personal site to download the "Magnus" track (look under Musique > Films) or to hear more of his other stuff.