You know, I must admit that I have a pre-existing bias towards stop-motion animation. I grew up on Gumby, Pingu, Trap-door and Plasmo and even as an adult I haven't ever tired of this medium. These days digital technology can seemingly create any effect you can imagine. If I asked to see a comet crash to earth and give birth to an alien brain exploding fireballs, it could be done these days with quite a high degree of realism. But I guarantee it would still pretty awesome and probably more entertaining if made with clay.
Anyway, coming back to "Mary and Max". Why is this movie special? Well firstly, the artistry of the characters and the set are so spot on, that you often totally forget that you are watching an animation. Then, when you momentarily remember that you are watching CLAY and that each and every second took HOURS of work, one feels overwhelmed with respect for the artistry behind it.
I also really liked the theme of this story. When you live alone and have very few friends, recieving a letter and a chocolate bar in the mail would mean so much to you. Max irons, laminates and sticks all of Mary's letters up on his wall, and right towards the end of this film, you really get a strong sense of how important Mary has been in his life. With the global financial crisis slowly washing over us like a slow-burn tsunami, this film is perfectly timed to remind us that at the end of the day, we remember our lives through the relationships that we've had and not the money that we spent.
I am a bit too tired and sleepy to really give this film it's proper due,... but yes, it is well worth watching. As an individual, it would only cost you $10-$15 to get along and support the Australian film industry by checking out this incredibly unique and engaging animation that has been 5 years in the making.