Critical Portfolio

‘Ubu” – Geoff Dunbar

Geoff Dunbar’s use of sound design in Ubu is interesting as he does not use a spoken language for the characters but rather crude, vulgar, unsophisticated, animalistic and alien noises. This is also reflective of the visual style. Instead he uses text in speech bubbles, which is effective if you can keep up or make out what they all say. Music appropriate for the time period is utilised in some scenes.

Dunbar’s structures the narrative in terms of acts. This generally follows the five act structure. At one interval he uses onscreen text to tell the story and connect one act to the next. Whilst this initially looks like he ran out of production time, he may just have speeded up ineccersary story telling time.


The main influential feature of ‘Ubu’ is Geoff Dunbar’s design to characterise so wilfully. The characters are contrasted by the style of drawing, thus allowing Dunbar to be less detailed but still create an obvious difference between the types of people.

Ubu is created by loose, curvy lines, which offer him a fat physique with a cone-shaped head and represent his crude character well. It is somewhat monster-like, perhaps to help portray his desire to destruct and take over. On the contrary, the prince is created with smooth definitive lines and absolute blocks of colour and even some detail in his clothing, depicting very much a human prince. The design, reflective of the character, may be perceived as sad and boring. The king is also drawn as a human. The soldiers, also human-esque are drawn as rather humble, though when they appear in bulk they become smudges and blobs of media.

The drawings are rather simple and childlike. Though they portray an entity of character within the figure. The backgrounds were simply blobbing ink. Dunbar was not afraid to leave a character staring and they audience, thus breaking down the fourth wall, for several seconds, suggesting that the character has a lot of thought and dimensions. This stylization really compliments the film as it is more sophisticated than one may guess, and it allows a clear story to be told with very different characters. The design of Ubu is very reflective of his character.
Perhaps I could make use of this simplicity in drawn style to allow better and more fluid animation and also more time for production. I need to assess the importance of detail in my character design. Though with the feature of armies of soldiers, all the same and lacking personality, this style may work best.

Bibliography,. “Welcome Page”. [ONLINE] N.p., 2016 Available: Web. 09 Feb. 2016.,. “BFI Screenonline: Dunbar, Geoff (1944-) Biography.” [ONLINE] N.p., 2016. Available: Web. 09 Feb. 2016,. “The Lost Continent: Geoff Dunbar’s Ubu”. [ONLINE] N.p. 2011 Available: Web. 09 Feb. 2016


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