Saturday, April 24, 2010

Animation Shorts- He said

The animated shorts competition is something I looked forward to given my almost ridiculous affinity for cartoons. I walked away completely amazed at the great things being done in this field, especially with the fact that there was only one CGI short. The shorts programming director came out and told us she can picked these for the competition, and I must say I like her taste.




One of my favorites were ‘Land of the Heads“, a French short by C├ędric Louis and Claude Barnes. This was a stop motion in the style of Henrys Selick. What sets it apart is the hilarious and graphic violence that ensues. It tells the tale of a decapitated wife who constantly pesters her monster husband for a new head. He has to go with an annoying crow to the village and find her a head, except he starts to get fed up. The conclusion is hilarious and yet really creepy at the same time.



“The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9!” is by American director, Jake Armstrong, who takes the style of the mid-90’s Nickelodeon cartoons, that I loved, and translates them into a super gory sci-fi story of a bounty hunter out for the head of 9-eyed creature. When he arrives, things are not as they seem. The creature is an overtly friendly goofball and seemingly indestructible.



“Runaway” has to be my favorite short of the bunch. Directed by Canadian director, Cordell Barker, it is the ridiculous and funny story of a train filled with over the top characters and a conductor that completely neglects his duty. The train ride gets a bit bumpy after they hit a cow in the tracks who, while unharmed, causes the train to go off course. One ridiculous obstacle after the another finds the trains population getting smaller and smaller until the climax.



Finally, German short “The Wisdom Teeth” by director Don Herzfeldt, which shows you why it’s not a good idea to have your friend pull your stitches from your mouth.



Others in the competitions which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much were “You Cried Me” by Tom Deslongchamp, is a crudely drawn and stylistically messy short about two kids playing in the wrong graveyard, disturbing something that they shouldn’t have, and now are on the run. Finally, “Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No” is the retelling of Dock Ellis’s experience with LSD, and his attempt at playing baseball. Even though, the narration was amazing and was aided by the visuals, the problem was the animation felt a lot like a bad, second-tier Adult Swim show.



Once again, this block of cartoons was a joy to watch, and I can’t wait to see what these directors do next. It does feel great to know that computer graphics don’t necessarily have to be the source of cartoons. The different styles and ways of animating things was very inspiring, and it’s great to see it used as a different way of storytelling and not just for making kid’s movies.

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