Thursday, February 11, 2016

The 2015 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films

And now for something completely different (... again)

Once more we have a new year of films spread out before us, but with the Oscars coming up early this year, and January a wasteland of quality enlivened only by special projects like this, I decided to start things off with a few short films. Therefore, as is customary, The General's Post proudly presents:

The 2015 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films

World of Tomorrow: What the hell was that? World of Tomorrow is a very strange film about a young girl being given a tour of a trans-humanist future reality by a third-generation clone of herself. A bit rambly and extremely incoherent, the film has some really clever ideas in it (like a time travel device that isn't the most accurate thing in the universe, either temporally or physically, but the whole exercise seems to be a bit of weirdness for no real purpose. Full disclosure: most of my viewing companions thought this one was the best of the bunch.

Bear Story:  A silent, stop-motion animated film from Chile with a really clever visual style to it (more or less the entire film takes place inside a clockwork display mechanism), this film would have been instantly identifiable as a Chilean piece even if I hadn't known ahead of time where it came from, so tightly is it focused around the trauma of Pinochet. A decently-clever film, but nothing I'm going to remember.

We Can't Live Without Cosmos: A Russian movie (LEVIATHAN FLASHBACK! AAAAAARGH!!!) about two best friends who are also astronauts, this one actually proves to be the funniest one of them all, relying on situational humor and slapstick. The film's ending feels a bit slow and tacked-on, but overall it's a much better piece than the last thing I saw from Russia...

Prologue:A six-minute, one-scene sketch cartoon plainly drawn from some sort of rotoscope-like software, Prologue is a single fight sequence between two teams of two ancient Britons, who fight to the death with spear, axe, sword, and bow. It's well-made, certainly, with vividly lifelike movement and well-paced action, but there's really nothing much to it beyond people killing one another briefly. Still, it's the first time I've ever seen the Short Film showcase warn the audience of graphic violence and nudity.

And the Havoc award for Best Animated Short Film goes to...

Sanjay's Super Team: An Autobigraphical piece directed by Pixar Animator Sanjay Patel, this short film debuted in front of last year's Good Dinosaur, and it's just as good now as it was then. A young Indian boy who wants to watch Saturday morning cartoons about superheroes is instead forced by his father to participate in Hindu morning prayers, and daydreams the gods of the Hindu pantheon as members of a DC/Marvel-style superhero team. Wonderfully-animated (as is customary with Pixar), richly-produced and filled with warmth and emotion, this one ultimately won out in my mind. Call me a studio hack if you like, but Pixar knows how to do them right.

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