Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Reel Review: The Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

As usual, this year’s nominees for Best Animated Short Film are a great variety of animation styles and storytelling. This very strong category has films with eye-popping visuals to support some excellent storytelling.
MR. HUBLOT – A withdrawn, half-robot character with OCD qualities has his life of routine upset when he adopts a robot-dog as a pet. 

The real star of MR. HUBLOT is the world the characters inhabit. Created by CGI, the mechanical world seems cobbled together from odds and ends and it is a pleasure to spend some time there. Despite the thin plot, MR. HUBLOT finishes strong with a heartwarming finale…giving great irony of finding a heartbeat in a mechanical world.
ROOM ON THE BROOM – Based on a children’s book, this CGI animated film is about a witch who takes on companions (dog, cat, bird, frog) as she flies around on her broom. 

Narrated by Simon Pegg in prose, BROOM is a real charmer and the type of story you would share with younglings in teaching them the value of friendship and sharing. Although it has the least potential to be a feature film, it is the most memorable.
FERAL – This rough-texture film is about a boy who was raised in the woods by wolves being taken in by a city man. 

Done with no dialogue and a monochromatic, sketch-style of animation, FERAL is a creepy romp which haunts more than it entertains.
POSSESSION – This Japanese film is about an 18th century traveler who enters a shack in the woods and finds it to contain more than meets the eye.

This ambiguous tale is packed with a whole-lot of weirdness; complete with dancing frogs and psychedelic walls. Done in traditional, 3D hand-drawn animation, the visuals are outstanding and more than make up for the thin plot.
GET A HORSE! – In a clever mesh of two different styles of animation, Disney’s Mickey Mouse battles an old enemy to rescue his love, Minnie. 

This gem begins as a homage to Disney’s very first black-and-white era of cartoons, before the characters literally bust out of the screen and into a colored, 3D world. It is an absolute delight; full of charm, wit, and the most fun to be had in a short amount of time.

The Oscars will be awarded March 2nd.

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