"Slingshot Slugger" Possibly Barry's Best Animation Yet
- Annabelle Robertson Entertainment Critic
- Updated Jul 30, 2007
Release Date: March 21, 2006
Run Time: 30 min.
Creator/Publisher: Bruce Barry and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
The roaches are back. And this time, they’re going to get rid of the bad guy – the exterminator. After all, isn’t he a Philistine, just like Goliath?
Squiggz, Cosmo and Flutter, the three roach grandkids of Grandpa Lou, are having a great day on the boardwalk. In between bites of disgusting things they find in the trash – Yum! Delicious! – they enjoy the rides and the games inside the old arcade. But then the biggest, meanest and ugliest exterminator they’ve ever seen arrives, and he’s determined to eliminate the bugs for good.
Thankfully, Grandpa Lou is nearby, fishing from a lobster tank. When the kids find him, he rushes in to help. But the way Grandpa helps is by telling stories from his past – and this bug has a very long past, as in, thousands of years. And, while it isn’t necessarily the best time to be spinning a yarn, when your grandchildren are about to be exterminated, Grandpa’s tales are definitely entertaining. Even more importantly, they’re relevant to the situation at hand. So, even as they’re hiding from the belching, belly-scratching giant, Lou is teaching the kids about another giant named Goliath – one he just happened to witness, years ago, in a battle with a boy named David.
Goliath was a Philistine, a race not particularly known for grace and poise – or cowardice. So when Goliath started shouting at the Israelites, from way across the desert, no one wanted to come out and fight him. He was huge, after all – and very well equipped for battle, with all sorts of scary weapons and armor. Even King Saul, who stood head and shoulders above his men, wouldn’t do it. But Saul found a surprising hero in a shepherd boy named David, who arrived on the battlefield bearing food and waters for his warrior brothers.
David was both young and small, but he knew how to wield a slingshot. He was also a faithful believer, and he prayed before each shot. Still, as he stepped up to confront the giant, the Philistines were laughing. A few seconds later, however, they grew suddenly silent. David’s first shot had hit Goliath between the eyes and knocked him dead.
Squiggz, Cosmo and Flutter are impressed with the tale, but don't have time to think because, back at the arcade, the exterminator is about to do his thing. Grandpa, Cosmo and Flutter manage to escape, leaving Squiggz on his own to face the giant. But then Squiggz realizes that his relatives haven’t escaped at all. They’re stuck in a roach motel! And now it’s his turn for doom.
With Grandpa urging him on, Squiggz knows that this is his chance to save them. He could be just like David. But will he be? And how? After all, Squiggz doesn’t have a slingshot. He does have the Lord, though.
Bruce Barry’s work has always been outstanding, but “Slingshot Slugger” may be his best "Roach Approach" film yet. This guy is so talented, frankly, that it’s hard to know where to start. Everything about his animation is original. Unlike most cartoons, which limit animation to the foreground, Barry’s frames have depth. At the boardwalk, for example, the roaches talk in the foreground while behind them, rides twirl. Even the shadows, which dip and lift with the rides, are perfect. Barry uses shading to add further richness to his shots, leaving objects partially “lit” on one side but in the shadows on the other. This may sound basic – and for cinematography, it is – but for animation, it’s very rare.
Barry’s details are amazing. The exterminator, for example, has a huge belly that jiggles – and continues to jiggle for a few seconds – whenever he moves. His shoes and clothes are dirty, and he is unshaven. We also see details in the arcade, such as the pinball machine where Squiggz likes to play, and in the desert, where characters see their reflections in a pool of water.
But it’s not only animation that Barry does well. He truly gets these Bible stories, down to the smallest detail – like making the exterminator not just big, but uncouth, exactly like the Philistines. His dialogue is good, too, with lines like “I love the smell of bug balm in the morning!” (from the exterminator) and “The Philistines obviously had first round draft pick.” He references other cartoons, like “Little Red Riding Hood” and William Tell. Even the smallest characters, like the lamb, are interesting. “What’s thaaaaat?” he bleats.
Barry’s heart, which I know from a past interview, is full of love and appreciation for his Savior, and it shows throughout his work. God has blessed this man with amazing talent, and now he’s blessing us. Fabulous.
Fun Facts About Cockroaches:
- Number of legs on a roach: 6
- Number of miles roaches can run per hour: 3
- How often roaches pass gas: every 15 minutes
- Number of knees on most roaches: 18
- Number of minutes a roach can hold its breath: 40
- Percentage of time roaches rest: 75
- Number of species of roaches in the world: 5,000