Monday, February 21, 2011

Oscar shorts: Animation

Day & Night (6 minutes)
Pixar's shorts are always delightful, and this one is no exception. Day meets Night and they are frightened by each other. Then they engage in an amusing game of one-upping each other with their wonders. It was a fast-pasted, funny, creative and touching short. It's a story I can't imagine being told without animation. Although the idea is solid, a book form of the tale wouldn't have the same emotional impact.
Rating: 4.5 stars
The Gruffalo (27 minutes)
Even if you haven't read the children's book this short is based on, the story will be familiar. It's not really treading new ground, and while the animation was beautiful, it's really a short geared to small children. It does feature some famous voices, such as Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt. Children will likely love it, but adults may find it goes on too long.
Rating: 4 stars
Let's Pollute (6 minutes)
Done in the style of a science movie from the 1970's, Let's Pollute will delight adults and children. It's a hilarious satire that knows when to stop. It's mostly the same joke over and over, but it reaches its own absurdity as it ends. The message: buy more, use once, and throw it away. The animation style is classic and nostalgic.
Rating: 4 stars

The Lost Thing (15 minutes)
It pains me to this: Shaun Tan's short was my least favorite. (It's based on the book of the same name.) I've enjoyed the other Shaun Tan books I've read, especially The Arrival, but The Lost Thing was neither emotionally relatable or visually interesting. It felt forced, as though Tan was trying too hard to be unusual and forgot about the importance of heart to a story.
Rating: 3 stars

Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (11 minutes)
A still photography simply cannot do this short film justice. It's animation and visual aesthetic are absolutely mesmerizing and utterly unique (at least they were to me.) It felt like a gorgeous picture book came to life. I was so enchanted I felt like a child again. It's rare to find such a wonder. Take the time to watch a clip of the film at the Oscar shorts website.
Rating: 5 stars

As with the live action shorts, I have a clear preference: Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage. It's superior to the other films in originality and animation style. I hope it wins on Sunday.


  1. Let's Pollute looks very interesting, as do some of the others that you've featured. I don't watch much animation, other than what's popular in the theaters, and I am quite impressed with your knowledge of all thing film!


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