Monday, February 14, 2011

The 2011 Oscar Nominated Shorts-Animated

For the second year in a row, I attended the shorts program at Cedar Lee, and again it was an an interesting and diverting display, for this particular segment, showcasing some of what has to be the best animation has to offer. The program showcased the five films nominated for an Academy Award this year followed by two "highly commended" films which were also in the running for a nod. I have included the actual shorts themselves, or clips/trailers depending on availability.
Madagascar, A Journey Diary
This short showed a traveler making his way through the title country and taking part in a wide range of events indicative of the culture, ranging from a meal to a funeral. The characters in the foreground were animated while the background remained stationary, and this creates a neat effect.
Let's Pollute
This short was presented as a mock informative video, the type which was shown in grammar school, and touts all the "benefits" of polluting. It is done in a similar style to the cartoon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in Bowling for Columbine and is probably the least ambitious and least impressive entry of the lot.
The Gruffalo
This was a delightful and probably my favorite entry. It is a British production and features the voice talents of Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkinson among others, and tells the story of a mouse making his way through the forest and trying to evade predators he meets along the way. The computer animation is top-notch and the voicework is wonderful
The Lost Thing
The Lost Thing tells the story of a young man who finds a unique object with nowhere to go, and tries to find a home for it. The animation is unique and visually inventive but the story to unremarkable beyond that.
Day & Night
I had seen this one already, shown before Toy Story 3 (original review here), and is what I believe a short should be. Coming from the Disney/Pixar Studio, it reminded me of the old Looney Tunes and Disney shorts from back in the day and contains more of a concept than a plot. The story features two personifications, one of day and one of night, and the two meet each other, fight, and eventually become friends. This is a great short as well.
I'm not really sure I understood this one, but the animation was beautiful and wonderfully captures the German Alps. The story had something to do with a strongman scaling a mountain with an old woman tied to his back so she could witness the breathtaking view before her passing.
The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger
The title pretty much explains it. This was amusing and done with simple animation.