The Fly (1980)

The Fly ReviewThe Fly Review

The Fly is a 1981 Hungarian Oscar winning animated short film that is quite intriguing.

The film follows one fly who comes into a house during an autumn day. Basically the hook here is that the film is filmed as if through the eyes of the fly and the camera work fits the view of the fly. This is a very interesting experiment mostly well executed and it is, needless to say, one of the more original Oscar winners in the animated short category.

I wanted a longer runtime and even more of the fly’s lifecycle such as feeding or reproducing, but the film still showcases how they fly so well in its very fittingly hectic cinematography. I liked the dark ending quite a bit, that house looked splendid and the sound design is superb as well as the animation which is awesome in its fittingly subdued colors.

The Fly definitely is short, but a deserved Oscar winner with fittingly subdued animation and hectic camera work.

My Rating – 4.1

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The Black Dog (1987)

The Black Dog ReviewThe Black Dog Review

The Black Dog is a 1987 British animated short film directed by Alison de Vere. It is an excellent artistic endeavor.

The story is about a woman who wakes up to find the titular black dog who then takes her on a long, interesting and difficult journey. I won’t describe the entire journey as the film is 18 minutes long, but the highlight for me is easily that tavern which provides the luxuries of drugs, sex and alcohol. That was a really atmospheric scene as is the entire film and it felt otherworldly in quality. I also loved what happened afterwards with the payment, really intriguing.

The film is obviously deep in meaning, it is about self-discovery and it is layered in symbolism and thematic riches that it is quite ambiguous and anyone can interpret it differently. My interpretation is that this is a dream world and her fantasies and the dog offers some sort of salvation which is evident from the moment he appeared as he looked saint-like. It is about the dangers of living a careless life. Not all segments here were as fascinating and the animation is not the greatest, but the atmosphere is palpable and it is such a weird, authentic and unforgettable short beautifully directed by Alison de Vere.

The Black Dog is deep, rich in symbols and themes and so incredibly atmospheric that I would definitely call it a work of art in its own way.

My Rating – 4.5

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Crac (1981)

Crac ReviewCrac Review

Crac is a 1981 Canadian Oscar winning animated short film that is quite charming.

I really enjoyed this film which is a very original and immensely delightful tale of one rocking chair. We follow its history from its creation in the factory to one farming family to an art museum where it eventually ended up. The film is long, but rarely boring in spite of the fact that not all of its segments are great. It is a very moving, wonderful movie and I only wish that the chair was more memorable and more anthropomorphized.

The animation is truly fantastic. I loved its simplistic, watercolor, dreamlike quality and the designs of the chair and the characters are all superb but the highlight is the fluidity and elegance of this animation. The score is also simply lovable, classic and I loved every tune used here, all very well incorporated into the storyline. The highlights were the segment in the family and of course the kids in the museum.

Crac is a deserved Oscar winner with lovely animation, a charming tale and many wonderful sequences.

My Rating – 4.2

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Alike (2015)

Alike ReviewAlike Review

Alike is a 2015 Spanish animated short film directed by Daniel Martinez Lara. It’s one of the greatest of all recent shorts.

This is a story about a boy and his father and how different they are from the world and the only thing that keeps them glowing is having each other. This is an incredibly sophisticated, deep look at the lack of creativity in the world and how the society basically kills your every instinct for creativity and how they want us to all be the same. The ending is wonderful in that you see in the animation of the city that the city remains the same, but these two remain creative and they are fighting it together.

Yes, the animation is absolutely gorgeous here. It is a perfect case for the power of this medium and how well it can tell a story without having a single spoken word. I loved how they glowed and how the city was grey and these two had color. Their personalities should have been a bit better developed, but they were still such wonderful characters. Another great thing about this animation is that it uses CGI differently and not only in color, backgrounds and light but also in unique character designs. And that score is just beautiful.

Alike is an immensely artistic, deep and poignant movie about creativity that truly blew my mind. Shame on the Academy for not nominating it.

My Rating – 4.7

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Tangled Ever After (2012)

Tangled Ever After ReviewTangled Ever After Review

Tangled Ever After is a 2012 animated short film from Disney which serves as a sequel to ‘Tangled’.

Now I adore ‘Tangled’ and it is one of my favorite Disney flicks. However, this short disappointed me quite a bit mostly because it made the fatal mistake of having too much humor and the sidekicks take too much of runtime. So basically it takes all of the movie’s weaker elements without having those ingredients that made the film a classic. I found its action excessive and the humor is not as great as this type of comedy short flick definitely needed.

Now Tangled Ever After is still an okay film, do not get me wrong. I just felt that it was misguided. It was wonderful seeing Eugene and Rapunzel’s wedding and both looked great. The animation is definitely top-notch, exciting and bright. And that action is well executed, though not as fun or memorable. Some moments are quite funny in their silliness and I liked the ending, but I wished to have seen more of Pascal and less of Maximus as I like the chameleon more personally. But still, they are definitely a fun duo.

Tangled Ever After is a weaker sequel to a great movie with great animation, but an over-reliance on humor.

My Rating – 3.3

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Great (1975)

Great ReviewGreat Review

Great is a 1975 Oscar-winning animated short that is pretty good actually.

This is the hardest Oscar-winning animated short to find online, but it was worth it as it is stupendous in quality. It isn’t like its title, but it is still pretty good and actually one of the better shorts from the seventies which was a very weak year for animation. This one has all of those typical trappings of a documentary such as excessive narration, uneven segments in terms of quality and overlong runtime.

But it is still pretty solid owing to its animation which isn’t great but is better than average, much better actually than what I am used to seeing in this documentary format. I liked the character designs the most, a lot of fun. But its score and especially the songs are so entertaining, catchy and just immensely fun that they really carry the movie to the next level in terms of enjoyment. And it is a solid, albeit not all too informative history lesson.

Great is better than most documentary animated shorts with solid animation and very fun songs.

My Rating – 3.7

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Every Child (1979)

Every Child ReviewEvery Child Review

Every Child is a 1979 Canadian Oscar winning animated short film that isn’t all that great.

The film was really done to promote UNICEF and it was done in association with it. That was great and children should have rights for a name and nationality when born. The film definitely has a great, important, crucial really message and I am glad that they made it for the right cause.

However, how they made it wasn’t great. The film has no words, but it does have mumbled words, singing voices and blabbering. I thoroughly disliked that as it made it feel immature. You either go entirely silent or with spoken words and this is not how you do it. The animation is okay, but nothing to write home about and the overall storyline is again okay, but should have been much better.

Every Child is a weaker Oscar winner with a great cause, but weaker execution with unremarkable animation and approach.

My Rating – 3.3

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The Sand Castle (1977)

The Sand Castle ReviewThe Sand Castle Review

The Sand Castle is a 1977 Oscar-winning animated short that is so good.

This is definitely one of the most authentic winners in this category and it deserved its Oscar for the sheer originality presented here. It is basically a sand animated film where everything revolves in sand and with creatures out of sand. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I reckon that it must have been hard to make, but it looks so superb that I really appreciate the effort, especially from the character design perspective as the creatures are very intriguing in their looks.

But The Sand Castle is a very good film overall and not just in terms of the animation. Certainly the pacing is off as the beginning is prolonged and the ending is abrupt, but I really liked the story of creatures building other creatures and then their castle and eventually the wind blows it off. It does end on a sad note, but you do expect the whole cycle to repeat itself over and over again. The score is just phenomenal and so moving too.

The Sand Castle is a wonderful film that is original in animation and moving in score and story.

My Rating – 4.2

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Leisure (1976)

Leisure ReviewLeisure Review

Leisure is a 1976 Oscar-winning animated short that is not that great.

First of all, the positive aspects. Well, the entire idea to tell the story of human leisure from prehistory to modern times is interesting and I liked some of its points. It is an interesting subject rarely talked about, but it is something that all of us do and thus it was interesting to me. The narration was also pretty solid here.

But the film is still barely solid and nothing more than that owing to its annoying style that was typical of the seventies. I am talking about the documentary approach of giving us many frames, pictures and photos instead of giving us full, fleshed out animation. Only the prehistory part was animated and it was the best, but otherwise it felt cheap and thus not as interesting as it could have been.

Leisure is a weaker Oscar winner with an interesting subject matter, but a very annoying, cheap presentation of it.

My Rating – 3.3

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Frank Film (1973)

Frank Film ReviewFrank Film Review

Frank Film is a 1973 Oscar-winning animated short that is very bad.

The directors Frank and Caroline Mouris assembled a bunch of unrelated images and he narrated the film twice, once by explaining the images and the second time relating them to a story. And he put both of those narrations together at once. It is an original technique, but not everything that is original is great and this movie is a fine example of that.

The animation is mediocre and annoying, the images move too fast, way too fast to be recognized, and everything is blurry and dull looking. But the two narrations make the movie impossible to comprehend. I could not hear 80 per cent of it correctly and I do not know how anyone can. It is a stupid, pretentious film that maybe could have been interesting if it wasn’t executed simultaneously, but this way it is one of the worst Oscar-winning animated shorts of all time.

Frank Film did not deserve its Oscar and it’s a travesty that it got it. This original approach to filmmaking is just stupid and it made the movie incomprehensible.

My Rating – 2

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