The Fast Forward Revue

Film Review: The Animation Show, Volume 4 by gaohippy
Animated Shorts From Around The World

Animated Shorts From Around The World



Fast Forward Rating: FFFF (4 out of 5)



The Animation Show is a medley of animated shorts gathered from around the world and compiled into a 100-minute extravaganza. The men responsible for stitching together this hot bundle of insanity are Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butt-Head and Office Space) and Don Hertzfeldt. For the fourth iteration, the curator duo hits many home runs with only a few strikes, and whether or not you are an animation connoisseur, the fast-paced programming is sure to engage all lengths of attention spans.

Introduced by a frantic hard-rock-themed title sequence, the creators lets the audience know from the start that they are in for a night of innocent, uncensored fun. One of the early standouts was “Burning Safari”, a 3D short directed by six students out of the French Gobelins L’Ecole De L’Image. It served as a great warm-up, focusing on style and character design/development over a complicated story.

Schwartz, Hazen, Horlocker

Schwartz, Hazen, Horlocker

Next came “Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Hazen & Mr. Horlocker”, a Cannes Film Festival award winner from Stefan Müller that was arguably the star of the night. Melding 2D drawings with quasi-3D elements to make an extremely stylish feast for the eyes, its color palette was similar to Psyop’s famous “Coca-Cola Happiness Factory”, with an orange warmth consuming everything. On close-ups, pencil marks were visible on the edges of the characters, giving the animation that little bit of human imperfection that frees and refreshes us from the boring world of digital perfection.

The simple drawings of Angry Unpaid Hooker

The simple drawings of Angry Unpaid Hooker

Voice acting plays an enormous role in giving animated characters life, as proven in Steve Dildarian’s “Angry Unpaid Hooker”. The character design was quaint and sparse, bringing to mind artists such as Quentin Blake. In the short, a guy’s girlfriend comes home after being gone all weekend only to be welcomed by a new house guest in the form of a yet-to-be-paid prostitute. The characters have skewed body proportions and hilariously rendered nostrils, all complementing the perfectly timed comedy of the voice acting.

stylistically delicious

Key Lime Pie: stylistically delicious

The Animation Show also serves as a ripe teaching ground for many fundamental principles of animation. “John And Karen” demonstrates the power of scale in perception of space, as well as the indisputable superiority of 2D animation over 3D in the right instances. “Key Lime Pie” and “Forgetfulness” teach that perhaps animation’s greatest power is the ability to convey inner workings of human psyche, as there are no physical rules or boundaries such as gravity to limit the mind. “Western Spaghetti”—resembling Michel Gondry’s stop-motion animations from The Science Of Sleep—challenges the brain’s ability to perceive everyday objects in unconventional ways.

This Way Up

This Way Up

Hot Dog”, “This Way Up”, and “Usavich” provide more heart-wrenching hilarity. Some of the weaker offerings were “Blind Spot”, the “Professor Nieto Show”, and “Operator”. “Raymond”, created by renowned visual effects studio The Mill was stylistically superb, but being the animation most closely based on reality, it felt very limiting to be subjected to gravity once again. “Yompi The Crotch-Biting Sloup” made up the cannon ball tied to the foot of the show, dragging it down with obscenity and poor animation quality.

The Mill\'s Raymond

Raymond from The Mill

Overall, The Animation Show was fantastic, although I realize that animation is a very subjective art form. Some people favor more abstract animation (check out “Jeu”), others lean more toward concrete characters and motivated stories. As an animation student myself, I found the “film” to be very instructive as well as inspiring and entertaining. I highly recommend The Animation Show to all audiences, and I would encourage both animation and live-action filmmakers to view it as a tutorial in warping the bounds of physical reality.

Click here to see if The Animation Show is showing near you.



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