Fluidity of Frame: Our Review of the Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 09, 2018
Fluidity of Frame: Our Review of the Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts

These animated shorts bring us well, that is a spoiler. What I can give away is that these shorts have fluidity in common. It is a necessary quality in a good short unless one of them break the rules, which they do not. The quality is nonetheless present even within the diverse genres and mediums recognized this year. Good is good, no matter the method used.

The first short is Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant’s Dear Basketball, which the former draws with graphite pencils. I’m usually a fan of that old school medium. And what better person to practice it than the man who shaped Disney’s 90’s aesthetic. But he does draw the young Bryant whose face unfortunately change from one scene to the next. It also feels like a promotion tool for Bryant.

The second short is Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata’s Negative Space, a stop motion animation film about packing. Clothes float and fly as easily as cars and the narrator does. The latter shrinks from his adult size into the lonely child many of us must have been. The score also helps take the audience back to the first time their hearts broke. Easily the best of the program.

Dave Mullins and Dana Murray’s Lou also has clothes that come to life and takes that idea further. It leads mostly good results. Here lost sweaters and toys join forces into the anthropomorphic titular character to teach a schoolyard bully a lesson. This is a Pixar short, following that studio’s recent trend of compressing its stories into one or two settings. Which is fine but it could have gone further.

So it’s a bit of a relief that what follows it is a longer piece. Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer’s Revolting Rhymes capably uses all of its running time. It lets a big bad wolf (Dominic West) set the record straight concenrning one of his wolf brothers’ (Rob Brydon). Little Red Riding Hood (Rose Leslie) apparently isn’t as innocent. Interesting and imaginative, indeed.

The program ends with Garden Party, Victor Caire and Gabriel Gapperon’s depiction of the morning after. Imagine amphibians, in all their CG reality, take over a Gatsby-esque set that humans have abandoned mysteriously. Caire and Gapperon adds every ripple in the water and every colour in these animals, brimming with life. That’s kind of the point of one of the better shorts in this great set.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.