Saturday, February 9, 2013

Short and Sweet: Mini Reviews of Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

I am no animation aficionado. I sketched a hand the other day and was so proud of it that I forced each of my family members to shower me with compliments as I held it three inches away from their eyeballs. ''LOOK. LOOK WHAT I DID. Do you SEE how almost life-like this hand is, you guys?!!?!" They each managed to stammer out a "nice job!" or a "look at those fingernails wow!" before things got too crazy. I was satisfied. So before I start, let me just state that I am in awe of anyone who can do draw something more advanced than bubble letters (my forte), and give a HUGE virtual hug to all who were involved in the production of these short films!
Adam and Dog, directed by Minkyu Lee
The SOUNDS in this film were incredible! Every footstep and every swaying blade of grass could be heard. My dog was sitting next to me as I watched this and did the adorable I'm-confused-back-and-forth-head-tilt the entire time, most likely because he thought I was holding live birds captive in my laptop. Bravo, sound design team! This was a beautiful, colorful telling of an old story, and I'm glad to have seen it. Also: dogs are da best.
Fresh Guacamole, directed by PES
I was so excited to see this listed as a nominee! I had seen the video a few months ago online and couldn't get over it. Honestly. How. I could watch this over and over again for the rest of the weekend. I probably WILL watch this over and over again for the rest of the weekend. I don't think the ol' Academy will give this one the gold, but it sure is a fun, impressive project. You can see "Western Spaghetti," a similar project by PES, here!
 Head Over Heels, directed by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
I'll just come out and say it: claymation has always creeped me the heck out. I really don't know why, because the only claymation I was exposed to was in Christmas movies! Whatever the reason, I was wincing as I clicked play on this one. I'm happy to say, however, that I really, really enjoyed it. It was a truly affecting display of what can happen in so many marriages: couples gradually drift apart until they're living two separate lives under the same roof. The creative upside-down concept was such a neat way of getting the message across, and the couple was adorable. I'm a sucker for lifelong love. NEAT FACT: This film was made by students! 'NOTHER FACT: I am also a sucker for underdogs. I can't imagine the whirlwind of excitement these talented guys and gals must be feeling.
The Longest Daycare, directed by David Silverman
I was an elementary school camp counselor last summer, and one day we took the young boys and girls to see Ice Age 3: Continental Drift (yawn). This short film played before the movie began, and I remember wanting to cover the kids' eyes! It was a little disturbing, what with the cement walled-rooms and crushed butterflies! I suppose it did make for an in-your-face commentary on our current school systems, though. Accelerated students getting star treatment while others are left with posters that read, "A is A" and "C is C." (I did enjoy the detail put into background elements of this film.) This wasn't my favorite of the bunch, if just for its lack of a "wow" factor.
Paperman, directed by John Kahrs
Oh, Paperman. Last but certainly not least. I don't have much to add to the conversation about this one. It's just wonderful. The combination of 2D animation and CG makes for such a lovely final product—can you pleeeeease make a feature film using this technique, Disney?! I was amazed at how they made animated objects look out of focus. And the characters had such realistic movements! You could immediately tell Meg was in the middle of an interview just by her tense posture. It's nuts how much Disney got us rooting for George after just a minute or two, but I guess that's just the power of film for ya. Beautiful job.

Good luck to all! I'll reveal my official Oscar picks in a future post. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

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