Thursday, March 4, 2010

Film Review - 2010 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

Following are very short capsule reviews of the 2010 Oscar nominated animated shorts. Though not feature length films, I am "counting" the animated and the live action films as one movie each for the purposes of the 100 Movie Challenge.

For the record - we saw three "Highly Commended" shorts that were also-rans for the Oscar nominations, and Runaway (8 minutes - Canada) was superb and was probably my second favorite out of all that we saw.

Film #31 of 2010 - Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

8 minutes - France

A businessman realizes he is missing his wallet after he drinks a cup of coffee at a cafe.

With no dialogue, the strong animation helped save this short from being completely boring, as it was really pretty lackluster. I did like some of the character designs, however, especially the waiter. 2.5 out of 5 stars

8 minutes - Spain

An elderly woman longs to join her husband in the afterlife, but when the Grim Reaper finally comes calling, he becomes engaged in a battle of wills with a doctor determined to save her life.

Another short with little or no dialogue, I really enjoyed this one. I thought the animation was interesting and I thought the frenetic pace was a lot of fun. The Grim Reaper, in particular, was absolutely hilarious and I really liked a few of the humanizing touches he was given. 3.5 out of 5 stars

6 minutes - Ireland

Granny O'Grimm tells her granddaughter her version of Sleeping Beauty, and we quickly learn why her granddaughter is reluctant and terrified to hear it.

This short film was by far my favorite of both the nominated and "highly commended" shorts that were shown. It featured both hand drawn (at least it looked it) and traditional computer animation and was absolutely hilarious. The voice of Granny was a riot and the old fairy godmother with the walker almost had me falling out of my seat laughing. I actually found it on YouTube and watched it again this morning. 4.5 out of 5 stars

30 minutes - UK

Another Wallace & Gromit adventure where Wallace's daftness puts him in peril and Gromit has to save the day. This time, the two are bakers, and Wallace is next in line to become a victim of a serial killer who targets bakers.

Though I appreciate the stop motion medium for its challenging process, I honestly can't stand Wallace & Gromit. Part of it is aesthetic - I loathe the character designs with the oval /oblong mouths and full set of teeth showing - but I just don't find the whole Rube Goldberg -type inventions and daftness remotely charming. Gromit is usually somewhat entertaining as the silent straight "man" (I always think of Teller when I see him) but at 30 minutes this was almost unbearable to sit through. 2 out of 5 stars

16 minutes - France

In a reality where everything is made up of corporate logos, the cops (who are Michelin Men) try to stop the mayhem and murder spree of one Ronald McDonald.

I can't begin to fathom that the filmmakers obtained the rights to most (if any) of the seemingly hundreds of logos that were used in this short. I thought that the usage of most of them were clever, but I also think that the filmmaker(s) knew how clever they were. I totally get that this was a Pulp Fiction-esque scenario, and I thought it was entertaining, but a bunch of swearing logos, regardless of how beloved they are don't really equal edgy to me. Having said that, I liked the satire and the message that (I think) was trying to come through. 3 out of 5 stars

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