Friday, February 18, 2011

Higgens Network: Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animated

Being nominated for an Oscar for a short film does wonders for exposure. The general public doesn’t commonly view short films, but once you’re nominated you have the chance to play in a wider amount of theatres as a package. Starting this weekend Indianapolis’ Landmark Theatre shall be showing the Animated and Live Action Oscar Nominated Shorts.

Day and Night

This is the one the most people are familiar with. This is the one that played in front of Toy Story 3 and ended up being a wonderful companion piece. The pure imagination and invention put into it shines through. Two figures, one of day and one of night, reflect the same scene through their perception. All of the sound comes from their scenes and that provides a lot of clever jokes. The resolution is a bit out of left field, but as a whole the short encapsulates the invention that Pixar is so well known for.

4.5 Stars

The Gruffalo

Two young squirrels want to hear a story from their mom. So she tells them the story about a young mouse who continuously outwits his predators by telling them he is about to have dinner with a fearsome creature named “the gruffalo” who will be a bigger threat to them. The animation looks good, especially the color scheme. It’s odd how many celebrity voices are in this short, including Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt. The simple story will appeal to younger viewers, but I’m not sure how much they will embrace the pacing of the film.

3.5 Stars

Let’s Pollute

This is a very sarcastic short that plays like the old fashioned educational films that would play in schools in the 1960s. It’s an instructional program to teach you how to properly destroy the earth. It shows you the best ways to buy more than you need and waste everything around you. It’s cute, but very quickly makes its point and then overstays. Even for a six-minute short!

3 Stars

The Lost Thing

This is absolutely darling. A man walking along the beach discovers a giant lost…thing. It’s mechanical but it also seems alien. He becomes fascinated by it, but especially how it is lost. So he tries to put it back to its right place by going through the doldrums of his surroundings. The music wonderfully accompanies the movie with this wistful, but simple tune. It feels like a controlled Terry Gilliam film and that’s a very good thing.

4.5 Stars

Madagascar, A Journey Diary

The coolest thing about this one is how writer/director Bastien Dubois incorporates a lot of different animated techniques to convey the tone of traveling to Madagascar. For the entire running time, the movie is constantly interesting and unexpected. It’s beautiful how well the editing of the film is in sync with the rhythmic music. A lot of fun.

4 Stars

In theatres, there will also be two bonus shorts: “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger” and “Urs.” Both of them are quite good and should have been nominated.

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