Best Animated Short Film

Paperman (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Paperman (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
5/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award, which it won.
Won Best Animated Short Film (John Kahrs).
Watched March 4, 2014.

  

Paperman is one of the cutest shorts ever and the clear winner from the 2013 nominations.  It is a black and white short with little to no dialogue and a love story involving paper airplanes that takes up a whopping seven minutes of time.

 

The story opens in old school New York City on a man and a woman at a train station.  The man in his suit and his stack of papers and the woman with red lipstick engage in a tangle with papers blown by wind, and then suddenly the woman boards a train and disappears.  A turn of fate finds them just across the street from one another at their end destinations and, convinced that she is The One, the man employs his killer paper airplane skills to try to catch her attention.

 

The story is cute, quirky, and magical.  It does not waste its seven minutes and nor does it over pack them.  There is just enough repetitive action to create a tension the audience can feel, and then as if in response to the viewers, the man changes course into something unexpected and humorous.

 

Seven minutes of this cute film is certainly not a waste of time.  I definitely recommend it, and it is very easily found online.  Enjoy!

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Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
4/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Best Animated Short (David Silverman).
Watched February 13, 2014.

  

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” is a very cute animated short that is right up my alley.  I have been a fan of The Simpsons since I was a kid (much to the chagrin of my mother) but have not watched it in a few years.  Watching this short was very nostalgic and wonderful.

 

The short is without dialogue.  Marge brings Maggie to a very Simpsons-like daycare where she goes through airport style security and has a brain scan that labels her as average.  She joins the “nothing special” kids in a dank corner, with the kid who eats paste, and the baby who loves squishing butterflies with a wooden mallet.  Maggie discovers a caterpillar friend and soon realizes that it will shortly turn into a butterfly.  She must save her little friend from the evil baby!

 

The animation is a step up from your average Simpsons.  It was released in theaters in 3D, but even in 2D it captures shadows and colors that are not normally a part of the Simpsons world.  The story is cute and well executed.  It is a very short short, but it takes no time at all to feel a connection with Maggie and a dislike of the evil mallet carrying baby.

 

This short is so cute and, well, short that I find no hesitation in recommending you see it.  It is readily available online and if you like The Simpsons, I see no reason why this animation should evade your attention.

Head Over Heels (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Head over Heels (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
1/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Best Animated Short (Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly).
Watched January 28, 2014.

Head Over Heels  is a claymationstop motion animated short that has a really cute concept.  It is about an older couple who has obviously been together for a long time–so long that they have forgotten what it means to be in love.  The symbolism for this is a little unique and extremely obvious–Walter lives on the floor and Madge lives on the ceiling.  They may share the same fridge, but that is about it.  One day, their house literally falls out of the sky and they are forced to reassess the way they have been viewing their relationship.

 

While the concept is cute (and solid), the execution is not.  It seems more like an exercise in animation than a success at story telling.  What could have been told in less than five minutes instead is told in eleven and we spend a long time watching the couple fight over a picture, vacuum the floor, fiddle with antennas, and take a walk outside.  It is hard to make their faces communicate their emotions, and after watching ParaNorman (another nominated film that I will be reviewing next week), the animation seems extremely lacking.

 

I really enjoyed the concept of this film, and it was certainly cute, but it is sad when an eleven minute short is too boring.  Unless you are studying stop motion animation and/or claymation, I would not recommend this film to you.

 

Fresh Guacamole (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Fresh Guacamole (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
3/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Short Film-Animated (PES).
Watched January 10, 2014.

  

Fresh Guacamole, the shortest short ever nominated for an Oscar, is a technically sound stop motion film by PES.  A film that once went viral online, somehow, amazingly, garnered recognition from the Academy.

 

PES is well known on YouTube and other internet sites for producing some quality content, and this two minute feast is no different.  It doesn’t make any grand statements, although perhaps it was meant to, but instead practices film techniques and the art of stop motion to a T.

 

If you know how to make guacamole, or if you enjoy eating guacamole, or if art is in your DNA, you will probably enjoy this film.  It takes the simple process of making guacamole but replaces the food items with (mostly) every day objects.  The avocado is a grenade and the pit is a pool ball.  The chips are poker chips and the tomatoes are tomato pin cushions.  The human hands and avocado inards, as well as a few other items are as they should be, but the diced up tomato becomes red dice, the onion (a baseball) becomes dice as well, and so on.

 

The two minute short is slightly entertaining, mostly interesting, and pulls at a curious side of humanity that enjoys every day objects being used other than they should be.  For example, I have always loved The Borrowers (a book and also a movie about tiny little people who live in the walls of houses), partly because of how they use human items in such interesting ways–thimbles as large drinking glasses, and so on.

 

If you have two spare minutes, I would encourage you to watch the video below to see flawless technique and a cute spin on a simple Mexican treat.

Adam and Dog (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Adam and Dog (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
3/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominate for Best Animated Short Film (Minkyu Lee).
Watched October 8, 2013.

Adam and Dog is a cute 17 minute animated short about the first dog and the first man, who have inevitably been best friends since first encounter.  Well, at least the dog thinks so.

 

Dog has been wandering around the Garden of Eden, sniffing, eating, swimming, and sleeping.  He may or may not be searching for his purpose, but as soon as he encounters the tall, naked Adam, his life is fulfilled.

 

The only dialogue in the short is a brief conversation between man and dog, although it is more of a language that dogs would understand.  The rest is imagery and movement that communicate a simple story.  Adam’s other half is Eve, whereas dog’s other half is Adam.  They have a short time together just the two of them, but pretty soon Eve steps in and messes everything up for the pup.

 

It’s a cute, simple story told with a unique animation style.  My only complaint is its length.  There is a lot of stillness and repetitiveness that drags on a bit.  The relationship between Adam and dog is cute enough to the point that I got sad for dog when Eve showed up.  I appreciated the ending, which I won’t give away, but the beginning was way too long for my taste.

 

In the end, I probably won’t watch the short again, although I don’t consider my first viewing a waste of time.