The Ritz is currently screening the 2011 Oscar-nominated animated shorts. I love being able to see all the nominees in one sitting, comparing and contrasting the works—a luxury you don’t get with feature-length films.
Tough call, but I’d go with Day & Night, the Pixar short that preceded this summer’s Toy Story 3. My original complaint about the narration at the end still stands, but I liked the piece even more on the second viewing.
I’ve read that Day & Night “has nowhere to go in story.” However, a six minute film with imagination doesn’t need a complex narrative. Music and clever imagery perfectly expressed the characters’ initial misgivings and subsequent appreciation of their other halves.
A 27 minute film, on the other hand, does need a good storyline, and that’s where the repetitive Gruffalo fell short.
Let’s Pollute is an anti-corporate, anti-consumerism satire in the form of a 1950s cautionary film. While it’s good fun, the Onion-esque premise loses its novelty by the end. Worth watching, but not worthy of an Oscar.
The Lost Thing was the other anti-consumerism film in the bunch, and this one is most definitely Oscar-worthy. It’s hard to describe: a boy finds a lost, octopus-like, robotic machine on the beach and tries to find it a good home. It’s charming, and The Lost Thing is my other favorite nominee. The trailer is here.
Finally, there’s Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage. Such a good travel narrative, and such a refreshing change from modern, lifelike animation. I love the way Bastien Dubois uses the genre to journal and to convey a sense of place and culture. Watch it!