So the other day I had the opportunity to see all the Oscar nominated animated shorts on the big screen at the Varsity theater in Seattle. Also the ‘Highly Commended’ shorts, actually. Here is a full list of these films:
- “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
- “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
- “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
- “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
- “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park
- Runaway (Canada: Cordell Barker)
- The Kinematograph (Poland)
- Partly Cloudy (USA: Pixar)
I came out of there really liking the Wallace & Gromit short (I thought the villain was very well voice and animated), really liking Runaway (man, I wish i was Canadian – the National Film Board of Canada subsidizes such amazing work! Click here for a great making-of video), thinking Logorama was pretty interesting, and hating The Kinematograph.
Man, I hate to say it, but nothing about this movie appealed to me. The voice acting was very wooden, the movement was very stiff, the story line was pretty trite and predictable (the main female character actually coughed in an obvious manner towards the beginning of the short – uhm, I wonder if she dies?), and the texture of the characters was this weird faux-wood finish. Why this obsession with computer generating something to look like an old-fashioned real life thing (a wooden puppet)? Why not just make the fricking thing out of wood? Or at least use your computer to come up with something original and imaginative, not just imitating real life.
Partly Cloudy, French Roast and The Lady and The Reaper were all examples of animated shorts I AM SO BORED OF. This is the formula: CGI+funny story aimed at kids=hollow experience that leaves me feeling barren of creativity. I almost don’t want to talk about them. I just hope that at some point the industry understands there is so much more potential to animation, and recognizes the amazing work being created by artists who have a point of view, a technique, and something to say.
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping beauty was less loathesome, due only to the very funny and well acted voice of the main character. However, I remember reading in a review that the faux-cut-out style used to animate the fairy tale portions of the story was actually more interesting and original than the 3-D world of the grandma and child. Oh so true.
Logorama won, which I guess is a good thing. At least they were using CGI and 3-D world building to build a really wild, non realistic world. Or did they? The world they built was scarily similar to ours. Which I guess was the point.
As for the featured, I don’t feel qualified to review them, as out of the five nominated (Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, and UP) I only saw Fox (which was good, I really liked all the character development, but I thought the story was a bit wearisome). I am, however, super happy that Secret of Kells, the only film that wasn’t made by a big studio or a famous filmmaker, was nominated. I included the trailer for this Irish film in a previous post, and here it is again for your viewing pleasure. Now this is something I want to see: