There are some really beautiful shorts here. And not one of them is drawn like a drunken 5 year old. Uh, not that there would be anything wrong with that. Well, the drunken part, maybe. Definitely. And the Plympton one has that shaky thing going on. Oh, whatever.
This is a category that I so seldom get to see, at least all of them, anyway. Sometimes I see one or two, but this is a treat. There are some really beautiful shorts here. And not one of them is drawn like a drunken 5 year old. Uh, not that there would be anything wrong with that. Well, the drunken part, maybe. Definitely. And the Plympton one has that shaky thing going on. Oh, whatever. I’ll just go through the list now.
Day and Night is the short you’ll see in front of Pixar’s Toy Story 3. A fun, inventive short with two characters, each one representing said times of day. Each character tries to out do the other, by showing the benefits of being their time of day or night. Eventually they figure out that there’s cool stuff to do at either time of day. Surprise!
The Gruffalo is based on a children’s book of the same name. It tells the tale of a mouse and his encounter with a fox, an owl, and a snake. To avoid being lunch, he tells each of them of a great beast that he is to meet and would gladly eat each of them. Little did he expect to actually meet the creature he so deftly made up. This has an excellent vocal cast, including Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt. The animation style is fairly standard CG with a little stylization in the drawing.
Let’s Pollute is like a very sarcastic PSA about pollution and keeping our lives, and planet, green. Done in a style like that of the 50’s and 60’s, I almost expect to see Gerald McBoing Boing show up. It is witty and has a message, but no real narrative to speak of. I don’t see it winning an Oscar, either.
The Lost Thing is a lovely short from Australia that tells the story of a man that happens upon a, well, Thing, on the beach. A large red metal container with little tentacle-like legs and crablike arms with little bells on them. it’s harmless enough, but just seems to be lost. The man takes it upon himself to see if he can find it a home. His journey is wrought with apathy, bureaucracy and people too busy to notice. The end result is rather sweet, touching and says a little something about stopping to see the things around you. It’s beautiful to watch, and there is much whimsy and creativity on display. And yes, this is my favorite.
Madagascar, A Journey Diary is really just that; a sort of visual diary of the culture and place of Madagascar. Thankfully, it is not about those movies about the animals in the zoo. Some wonderful animation style combining drawing, painting, watercolor and even some mixed media, we get a loose narrative about one friend inviting another to an cultural event and from there, it is a visual ride through this country. I can see this being a winner, but it didn’t quite resonate with me.
The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger is this year’s Bill Plympton entry. He seems to have one almost every year. It is, of course, rather straight forward. A cow sees a burger truck and aspires to be said burger, not realizing what that truly means. his journey to become the biggest, strongest cow begins and when he finally arrives at the slaughterhouse, he realizes his mistake, and he becomes the action hero of cows. Certainly witty and worth some smiles, this still isn’t Oscar stuff to me. But I still like that Plympton guy.
Urs is about a son deciding to move his elderly mother to a new village on the other side of the mountain because theirs is void of fertile ground, and everyone has moved away. He wants a better life for them. So he straps her into her rocking chair and straps that to his back and begins his journey. This is a really beautiful and has a lovely message, but is not a musical comedy, no sir. It’s bittersweet to say the least. It certainly has a chance at an Oscar.
My fave is still The Lost Thing, but I don’t know if the Oscars will pick that one. I can see either Urs or the Madagascar one. Could go to Day and Night just because it’s Pixar, but I hope not. The Gruffalo could win because it’s fun and has a great cast. But, yeah, I’m putting my money on The Lost Thing. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, letting it ride on The Lost Thing. Have I made that clear enough? I could say it again if you want. No? Ok.