Part 29: Animated Short Nominees

“You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream, And I’ll always love you for it.” – Kobe Bryant, Dear Basketball

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I don’t typically watch the animated shorts, but I figured hey…why not.  Plus they were all available (for free) to view.

Here’s a quick review of the nominated films for Best Animated Short (please keep in mind that I know absolutely nothing regarding animated films, much less the short ones, and how they earn a nomination):

Dear Basketball

Well who knew Kobe Bryant was into filmmaking?  This film is derived from a poem written by Kobe Bryant which was featured as part of his LA Lakers jersey retirement ceremony.  I did a small amount of research on it because curiosity got the best of me and Kobe collaborated with one of the animations dudes that did Beauty and the Beast and a few other animated films of that caliber.  I guess this just goes to show that you get what you pay for!  I actually really enjoyed it – I thought the sketch style of animation was really cool and very well done.  It almost had a flip book feel to it that comes to life.  Kobe narrates the poem on the film – he does a nice job; I liked how well they were able to turn it into an animated story.  In just 5 minutes you get a quality short film that’s sincere and kind of a neat closer to a great career.

Garden Party

WTF?! So this one was an odd-ball with an out of left field closer.  The animation was very life-like, which i’m not sure I actually liked!  There are frogs.  And toads.  And they are just hopping around a large house who apparently just had a party (garden party, perhaps? lol).  Then there’s a safe that’s been broken into.  There’s a gun.  The frogs put their IT hats on and turn on the outdoor fountains, lighting, pool crap, etc.  And then there’s a dead body that floats up to the top.  Unnecessary.  I think I would have preferred just the frogs hopping around.  Gross.  This one was weird AF.

Lou

So Lou is roughly 7 minutes long and is a little tale of some playground lost and found toys – Lou – teaching a much needed lesson to the playground bully.  Lou kind of loosely resembles a red cookie monster muppet.  Turns out that playground bully was bullied in the past also.  But the toys’ message must have really hit home with the little brat because he was returning everyone’s toys to them.  And all was well in the world.  If only it were that simple.  The animation aspect of the film was well done…nothing too original about it – typical Disney/Pixar animation.  I did n’t care for the story; I think bullying is a pretty serious topic and I felt like this short film didn’t so much make light of it, but just kind of oversimplified the subject matter.  It’s a little all over the place and I think they had a good opportunity to get a good message across to younger viewers (i’m assuming Disney plopped this one at the beginning of one of their big releases) and they missed the mark big time.

Negative Space

This one was in a bit of a clay-mation style of animation for lack of a better description.  It’s based on a poem about how to pack a suitcase, but it’s really a father and son story told from the child’s perspective.  I liked this one – the animation was somewhat unique and it’s certainly not a ‘mainstream’ type of short animation.  It has a good story thanks to a well written poem.

Revolting Rhymes

This one is based on a Roald Dahl story.  So of course it has an advantage on content.  Thankfully! I was thrilled to be watching this one after the weirdo Garden Party one.  This is the longest film of the group and actually has 2 roughly 30-minute ‘episodes’ so I assume it is pushing the boundaries of being defined as a short film.  Props on blending some classic characters and storylines in Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, and Snow White – all being told from the Wolf’s point of view.  I thought the animation was well done and the story was just done very well.  It’s a cute film, and definitely the most kid friendly of the group; you should go check it out on Netflix if you can spare about an hour of your time.

Bottom Line – This group is a pretty mixed bag with different types of animation and a pretty wide range of stories – something for everyone, perhaps.  Dear Basketball gets my vote because of its simplicity and what was accomplished in a short 5 minute film.  It really stood out for me.  Revolting Rhymes comes in a solid second.

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