Following up on Johnny Kelly’s insanely successful “Back to the Start” stop-action film for Chipotle is not an easy task. The project mopped up at award shows and was a crowd favorite. Its analogue technique meaningfully echoed Chipotle’s message of bucking factory farming and technologically-powered “progress” for a more hands-on approach to food.
Louisiana-based Moonbot Studios, who won an Academy Award for the short, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore” and set the gold standard for interactive storybooks with the accompanying Morris Lessmore iPad app, was up for the challenge.
Their recently released “The Scarecrow” echoes many of the same themes as “Back to the Start,” and its soundtrack also features a cover of a famous song performed by an unexpected artist. While “Back to the Start” had Willie Nelson singing Coldplay, in “The Scarecrow” Fiona Apple sings “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The effect is equal parts haunting and magical.
It’s also worth noting that Moonbot’s film is
entirely CG. A helpful reader added some detail in the comments:
“Moonbot’s film is entirely CG” isn’t entirely accurate, the barn and the kitchen interior were built as miniatures, filmed, and composited into the CG scenes.
Where “Back to the Start” shined a bright light on the hand-crafted nature of its production, “The Scarecrow” dives deeper into its protagonist’s life. While both films are emotionally powerful, “The Scarecrow” feels more like a mini-feature film, executed with the same scale and grandeur as a Pixar film.
Scarecrow: The Game
Keeping with the Morris Lessmore formula, Moonbot Studios also created an iOS game to accompany “The Scarecrow.” From Moonbot:
Created in collaboration with Chipotle Mexican Grill, “The Scarecrow” is an arcade-style adventure game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and a companion animated short film. Both pieces depict a scarecrow’s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world.