Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (1956)

Magoo's Puddle Jumper ReviewMagoo’s Puddle Jumper Review

 Magoo’s Puddle Jumper is a 1956 animated short that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is an overrated film.

Yes, this Magoo adventure is nowhere near as good as another Oscar winner ‘When Magoo Flew’. In fact, it is so inferior that it didn’t deserve its Oscar at all. Once again the animation is weak and the plot is pretty similar to the previous movie. Here we follow Magoo as he buys a new electric car and drives it into the ocean. He is accompanied by another man in the car and that man is very forgettable.

Once again we get the series’ signature humor in the chit-chat of an old man and there isn’t anything wrong with that. However, the problem is that we have seen this premise before and done better. The sea isn’t that well utilized and it could have been much funnier. Some of the parts are funny, but overall it is a disappointment and a film that is lost potential.

Magoo’s Puddle Jumper is solid with Magoo’s signature humor being good, but it is familiar in premise and not that great overall.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953)

Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom ReviewToot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom Review

 Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom is a 1953 educational animated short made by Disney that received an Oscar. It is a typical, just solid film.

The reason why I didn’t love this flick lies in my apathy for the educational format. They do their best here to make it entertaining, but it unfortunately still ended up being dull, overlong and forgettable. The film is solid as it definitely has its strengths, but it is far from great and it did not deserve its Oscar at all.

What I liked here is the animation which was pretty solid, albeit not great. But I liked the character designs and of course the sound effects are terrific. The beginning and ending are also good and memorable and the score is excellent with some really good, classic singing of the time. It is confidently made, but I was still bored by it immensely.

Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom has pretty good animation and score, but its educational format led to a dull viewing experience.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Borrowed Time (2016)

 Borrowed Time ReviewBorrowed Time Review

Borrowed Time is a 2016 Pixar short film that is not actually a Pixar movie, but is made by two of their animators.

It is a western and it follows a man who accidentally killed his father and now years later comes to the same place to commit suicide. First let’s just say why I found this movie to be very overrated and ultimately disappointing. I get its theme of death and grief, but I still found its conclusion to be typical and how they dealt with these themes was fairly standard and there is nothing really inspired in this movie in terms of storytelling.

But I still admired its darkness and the film is technically polished. Not only is the score so moving and fitting to the plot, but the animation is truly phenomenal, especially for an indie film. The character design is also pretty authentic and realistic as I haven’t really seen a similar looking protagonist before in animation. And I really admired that it was a western as that genre is rarely done in animation. But I was still left disappointed.

Borrowed Time is technically polished and thematically and tonally dark, but not as inspired in terms of storytelling.

 My Rating – 3.7

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When Magoo Flew (1954)

When Magoo Flew ReviewWhen Magoo Flew Review

 When Magoo Flew is a 1954 animated short that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is a very good, funny film.

It follows Mr. Magoo who accidentally boards a plane instead of going to a 3D movie. He then thinks that the entire plain is a motion picture and he enjoys the experience quite a bit. This type of plot is perfect for the cartoon format and the execution is so good that it becomes great entertainment. Some of the scenes were too convenient and the animation isn’t the greatest, but this is mostly an exceptional little film that really deserved its Oscar in 1955.

The character himself is hilarious and I really enjoyed his amusing speech pattern. I loved that whole drama with his fellow criminal passenger and the moments where he searched for him were so memorable. The ending is very funny and such a great nod at the movie itself. The entire movie is truly clever and sophisticated, it is also very well edited and it rarely disappoints.

When Magoo Flew is a deserved Oscar winner –  a short that is not only funny, but also clever with a great premise and even better execution.

 My Rating – 4.4

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Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943)

Der Fuehrer's Face Review

Der Fuehrer’s Face Review

Der Fuehrer’s Face is a 1943 Disney animated short that won an Oscar. It is a very good, famous film, but far from a great one.

Donald Duck has a nightmare in which he is working in Nazi Germany. Yes, this is a propaganda film and I have to say that I always tend to dislike propaganda pictures, no matter which side they take. And this was also troublesome, but I still really liked it as you can’t underestimate its quality and appeal. Donald is absolutely hysterical here as he always is, but he’s also relatable and you feel for the little fellow. His nervous breakdown was well realized and his various frustrated lines here were funny.

The film is quite funny for sure, but it’s also really well crafted with such a good three-act structure and excellent editing. The title song is so catchy and instantly recognizable and the sound effects are great. As for the animation, it is absolutely fantastic, bringing us some of Disney’s most artistic sensibilities as some sequences are quite inspired, especially the later ones. The character design is done in caricature excessively, but the overall animation is fluid and terrific. I had the problem with its ending in which he wakes up and is happy to be living in the USA, that was overly patriotic to my liking. But other than that and the film’s nature, it definitely is a respectable film that earned its status.

Der Fuehrer’s Face is a propaganda, but a propaganda done right with awesome animation, very good humor, a superb use of Donald Duck and a really well crafted plot.

My Rating – 4.3

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The Milky Way (1940)

 The Milky Way ReviewThe Milky Way Review

 The Milky Way is a 1940 animated short from MGM that received an Oscar. It is a very sweet, if far from substantial cartoon.

Now, first let me get this out of the way. Both argue that this movie shouldn’t have gotten the Oscar with the competition including Puss Gets the Boot and ‘A Wild Hare’. And yes, that argument is valid. But Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry weren’t known back then and were just starting their series and this short in particular is far from a bad choice as it is actually pretty good. Not great, but good. Yes, the plot is non-existent, but of these types of films of the day, this is actually one of the best ones as it is so well executed.

I loved the three kitten characters and the milk was so well incorporated here. Yes, all of this can become even too cute, but it is still mostly adorable in the right way and so endearing. it has a great framing device and it manages to beat the similarly structured 1938’s ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod‘ in quality. The score is so good, but the animation is easily the standout aspect as it is just magnificent to behold. Its look is so polished, the scenery is just mesmerizing and you just get lost in this beautiful world.

In the end, The Milky way lacks in terms of the storytelling, but it is so cute, so exceptionally animated and so endearing that you can’t help but love it.

In the end, The Milky way lacks in terms of the storytelling, but it is so cute, so exceptionally animated and so endearing that you can’t help but love it.

 My Rating – 3.9

 

 
 
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Harvie Krumpet (2003)

Harvie Krumpet ReviewHarvie Krumpet Review

Harvie Krumpet is a 2003 Australian animated short film directed by Adam Elliot. It is an expectedly strong work from the director that deservedly won an Oscar.

It is about a Polish immigrant who has always had bad luck in his life, but who still remains optimistic. I really enjoyed this story. It is a typical work from Adam Elliot meaning that it is a combination of weird humor and poignant emotion. And although it is definitely subpar to ‘Mary and Max’ because it does feel repetitive in its storytelling, this is still such a good short that was riveting to watch.

I loved the main character as he is such a pleasant goofball. Those intertitles with various facts are some of the comedic highlights as they were so funny. The film does have such a strong, pleasantly weird tone to it and nice humor. The message of the film is wonderful and greatly conveyed in that beautiful ending. The directing is great, the editing is pretty good and the film is involving from start to finish and always well crafted. The clay animation here is phenomenal with excellent character designs, great interiors and superb attention to detail. It could have been even more emotional, but it is mostly a poignant and satisfying film that rightfully won its Oscar.

Harvie Krumpet is pleasantly weird, funny and poignant with a great optimistic message, goofy characters and superb clay animation.

My Rating – 4.6

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Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)

Hedgehog in the Fog ReviewHedgehog in the Fog Review

Hedgehog in the Fog is a 1975 Soviet animated short film directed by Yuriy Norshteyn. It is a highly well regarded work for many good reasons.

The plot here is deceptively simple, but metaphorical. The little hedgehog goes to see his friend the bear with whom he counts the stars regularly. But on the way he wanders into the mist and encounters some interesting phenomena. When he gets back, the bear is happy because he couldn’t imagine his life without that routine of counting stars whereas the hedgehog is sad as he has experienced something different and reminisces of it. Now, that metaphor I honestly did not get and had to read it on the internet written by someone else, but once I understood it, it made the movie all the more powerful and meaningful to me. And although that ending seemed a bit too short, it was still one of the best scenes of the film.

The animation is gorgeous. The character designs take some time getting used to, but the effects of the fog are phenomenal and its very dark imagery is absolutely beautiful to watch. It has such an eerie, atmospheric quality to it and there were a couple of pretty creepy moments here. The film definitely has a strong atmosphere wonderfully conveyed through that terrific animation. The score is also really strong and I liked the minimal use of dialogue quite a bit here. Its dreamlike, almost otherworldly feel definitely leads to an unforgettable experience. And although it is seemingly simplistic and difficult to understand, once you do, it will make this journey all the more rewarding.

Hedgehog in the Fog is a sophisticated film with a very smart metaphor, absolutely terrific animation and such a wonderful dreamlike quality to it.

My Rating – 4.6

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Lend a Paw (1941)

Lend a Paw ReviewLend a Paw Review

Lend a Paw is a 1941 Disney Oscar winning animated short film starring Pluto and Mickey Mouse. It is such a charming, really good short.

Pluto rescuers a kitten, but is soon starting to get annoyed by how much attention the kitten receives. The premise here is ripe for some emotional as well as humorous parts and the film does succeed because it is so endearing too. Mickey is good here, but it is Pluto who is the highlight as his character is really well put to use. And I loved his relationship with the kitten and his good/bad struggle that is perfectly presented with that classic, funny 40s angel/devil dynamic.

Lend a Paw isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. The humor should have been better as this is far from a funny cartoon. And the biggest flaw is the conclusion where Pluto’s angel is the reason why Pluto acted rightly whereas it would have been much more powerful had it been his decision. That was disappointing. But apart from that, everything else is pretty good with the animation being great and the pacing also being excellent. It deserved its Oscar in my opinion.

Lend a Paw is not only endearing, but also really well executed with a great use of Pluto and an excellent angel/devil dynamic.

My Rating – 4.3

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Special Delivery (1978)

Special DeliverySpecial Delivery Review

Special Delivery is a 1978 Canadian Oscar winning animated short film that deserved its awards how good it is.

The plot in Special Delivery is the best thing about this film of course. It is so good and convoluted, but just in the right way. It deals with some really mature issues while presenting them in a comedic manner which I loved. I absolutely loved how crazy and weird this movie is, weird in a positive way. Each and every plot point is just phenomenal and the film ends really well. The film is so intriguing, so entertaining and always riveting and authentic.

The characters are also interesting and realistic. I loved the various scenarios here and although they sound unbelievable, they aren’t unrealistic as those can happen. It’s just that the progression of each scenario here is extremely rare to happen, but that is what makes this movie so hilarious and fun to watch. The animation is the only problem I’ve had with the film. It isn’t bad and its look is interesting, but it still looks too simplistic and at times crude for my taste. But I still really enjoyed the character design here. The narration is also fantastic and it wonderfully accompanies every scene. I loved the fact that the movie has no dialogue, but is presented in narration as it is the most fitting approach with this kind of a story.

Special Delivery is funny, but also riveting and authentic with some interesting themes, great narrative approach and such a crazy plot to it.

My Rating – 4.5

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