Frozen Fever (2015)

Frozen Fever ReviewFrozen Fever Review

After over a year, the long awaited sequel to the smash hit Frozen has finally arrived and I have to say that it is a major disappointment.

The story is awfully slight and I know that they couldn’t do much in 7 minutes, but this is too slight regardless. The birthday idea is interesting and it has a couple of endearing sequences, especially the ending which is wonderfully warm and Disney earned that scene with great character development and troubled history between the two sisters.

But everything else fell apart, especially the music. The new song is so mediocre that it is definitely not worth it to learn and listen to the lyrics which are also subpar. And it doesn’t help the fact that the song is interrupted multiple times.

As for the characters, Kristoff is there barely, but the brief moment with Hans is hilarious and definitely the highlight here. Olaf is probably the best character here which is a shame because he wasn’t that good in the first film. His jokes were adequate to his persona and should prove amusing to children. Anna lacks her spunk here which is a huge disappointment, but Elsa is great. She is really caring for her sister, warm and compassionate and it is quite charming to watch her endlessly try to organize her sister’s birthday party despite her evident cold.

The animation is still great as well as the character design. The new characters Snowgies are just there for the charm and cutesy factor, but they are well thought out, if repetitive. And the ending with Olaf putting them all in a palace and naming them all is again a proof that he is the finest character here and a highlight which is weird and unexpected. Elsa’s new magic powers are also touched upon and it definitely opens it up for a feature sequel along with the Hans sequence.

Frozen Fever is definitely more meant for children to enjoy and it is simply fun to see all of those charming characters again on the big screen, but it is still some slight stuff with mediocre singing parts and not enough standout scenes. But it still has its heartwarming moments as well as fine jokes and it is all around a solid, if disappointing film.

My Rating – 3

 

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Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968)

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day ReviewWinnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day Review

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a 1968 Oscar-winning Disney animated short film directed by Wolfgang Reitherman.

So this short is the part of a 1977 Disney feature ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ and it is one of its four segments tied together. As I have already reviewed the feature, I will talk about this segment less. So the plot is excellent here and most of the characters get their proper due here. Owl is boring and I wanted more Rabbit and Christopher Robin, but Pooh is as memorable as usual and of course Tigger steals the show with his signature song and humor.

I loved Heffalumps and Woozles which is such a terrific, psychedelic Disney song, but the rest of the songs were forgettable, though they did progress the plot nicely. I loved Piglet and his self-sacrifice, but Pooh did not deserve a hero party and he annoyed me near the end for taking credit. What also annoyed me is how Eeyore did not receive credit at all for proposing the idea of Owl moving into Piglet’s house in the first place. It has those weird decisions in storytelling, but it is still a very strong plot with good atmosphere, animation and excellent character moments.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day thoroughly deserved its Oscar thanks to such strong characterization, fine songs and a heartwarming plot.

My Rating – 4.5

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It’s Tough to Be a Bird (1969)

It's Tough to Be a Bird ReviewIt’s Tough to Be a Bird Review

It’s Tough to Be a Bird is an Oscar winning animated short film from 1969.

This is basically one of those educational animated shorts that were popular during this decade. Its subject matter are birds and especially man’s relationship with the birds. It uses animation, but also some live-action segments. The animation is solid, albeit nothing spectacular and the live-action segments were much more interesting here.

The film has all of the pitfalls of an educational form as it is overly simplistic and is definitely meant for kids as I knew all of these things except the buzzards and I liked learning more about them. The score is very good and the film is fun and certainly has an amusing tone to it, but clocking in at twenty minutes, it is certainly too long. Its protagonist is one of the best things about this film as he is definitely familiar, but so well designed, Ruth Buzzi did a very good job in the role and this red bird is certainly funny and memorable.

It’s Tough to Be a Bird is typical in its form and overlong, but fun, amusing and certainly very well made.

My Rating – 4

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The Dot and the Line (1965)

The Dot and the Line ReviewThe Dot and the Line Review

The Dot and the Line is a 1965 Oscar-winning animated short film which was directed by legendary Chuck Jones.

I really liked this film despite its obvious problems, but more on that later. The animation is very good and the Metrocolor is surprisingly good here. So basically we follow a line as he gets dumped by his dot sympathy. You see, she finds him boring and goes for the wilder line, but eventually returns to our line as he learns some new geometrical moves.

Yes, the film is a very funny take on relationships. I loved how perfectly it adapted its story into the geometrical form. The designs are great in its simplicity and the overall animation is phenomenal. I loved the narration by Robert Morley quite a bit too. The film is consistently inventive and amusing throughout its ten-minute runtime. The only problem is the sexist portrayal of the dot who is such a bitchy, awful female character and I wished that the line turned her down in the end. An obvious product of its time, their relationship is certainly nothing to be admired.

The Dot and the Line is an imaginative, very amusing animated short that rightfully won an Oscar despite its sexist approach.

My Rating – 4.3

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A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature (1966)

A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature Review

A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature Review

A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature is an Oscar winning animated short from 1966.

It was directed by John and Faith Hubley, the directors of ‘Moonbird’ and ‘The Hole’. Although this one is slightly better than those two, it is still a weak Academy Award for Best Animated Short winner and another proof that I dislike these directors and the overall decade was weak when it comes to this Oscar category.

This is basically a music video, an early prototype of it to be exact. And that is interesting, but it still means that it has no plot and characterization whatsoever. The animation is solid, but too experimental and overly simplistic, though a bit charming for sure. The music drives this short as the action on screen, though somewhat fun, isn’t particularly memorable, but the score is excellent and very entertaining.

A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double feature has good music, but it is too much of a music video with no plot to be had whatsoever.

My Rating – 3.5

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Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces Review

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces Review

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is a 1906 animated short film that is famous for being the first animated short ever created.

It is an abstract film as we basically follow an animator drawing some sketches and then the drawings come to life. I liked that it includes live-action in its first scene and the film is definitely groundbreaking and having in mind that it is the first ever animated film, it does hold up pretty well and is interesting to this date.

The animation is great. I loved the designs and the drawings look great for its time. Of course the highlight was the dog doing the loops, that was the standout moment. But the film could have been a bit longer and I disliked the use of erasing as that was needless and should have been excluded from the movie. However, the film is very old, having been released in 1906, so it should be forgiven for its inconsistencies and it was fascinating watching it and realizing its incredible age and revolutionary feel.

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is inconsistent, but groundbreaking in its animation and certainly admirable.

My Rating – 4

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The Pink Phink (1964)

The Pink Phink ReviewThe Pink Phink Review

The Pink Phink is a 1964 Oscar-winning animated short film which was the first every Pink Panther short.

I love this film, it is great. Yes, its first half didn’t contain nearly enough gags as the second one did, but this is mostly a stellar, truly terrific short that does everything right. Pink Panther himself is excellent and so funny while The Little Man is memorable and quite amusing near the end in particular.

A couple of gags and facial expressions were very funny, but the entire scenario was beautifully executed and the action is always memorable here. Of course its iconic score is just amazing, so fitting in style to the animation and tone of the series and very atmospheric. The animation is absolutely phenomenal and I loved its usage of pink and blue. The comic-strip sensibilities are perfectly brought to film here. It truly is a classic film that deserved its Oscar for sure.

The Pink Phink is funny and memorable while featuring excellent character moments and gags and it is fueled with superb animation and score.

My Rating – 4.5

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Pearl (2016)

Pearl ReviewPearl Review

 Pearl is a 2016 animated short film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

The film follows a man and his younger daughter as she grows up. The film is an interesting experiment as we follow her growing up from the front seat of a car, that is where we watch all of the action from. The animation is solid and the highlight for me was the score. The song that accompanied it was beautiful and heartwarming and it certainly fitted this story like a glove.

However, Pearl is an interesting, but not successful experiment. The idea behind it is great, but it wasn’t executed properly. I thought that it wasn’t that engaging or comprehensible to follow and it should have been much more emotional as it left me cold personally. But the biggest problem is that the film is the first Oscar nominated VR film and I do not have that technology so I couldn’t watch it as it should be watched. So the movie is made for just a handful of people who have that technology and that is troublesome.

Pearl is definitely a unique experiment which unfortunately isn’t fully successful as it needed more characterization and emotion in it.

My Rating – 3.8

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The Box (1967)

The Box ReviewThe Box Review

The Box is a 1967 Oscar-winning animated short film directed by Fred Wolf.

An old bearded man wearing a raincoat walks into a bar and sits down, placing a mysterious box next to him. The other patrons try, with varying success, to find out what’s inside. That is the premise here and it is quite interesting. It is the kind of old-fashioned cartoon that works well today as it did for its time and it is fun and charming.

It has a couple of good gags that rely on fun facial expressions and the animation is solid as the character designs are particularly memorable. But The Box is still not that worthy of an Oscar winner in my opinion as it isn’t as funny as it should have been, it is overly short and I did not get the point of its titular box at all.

The Box definitely has its amusing moments, but it is too short, too simplistic and not as funny as it could have been.

My Rating – 3.7

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The Hole (1962)

The Home ReviewThe Hole Review

 The Hole is a 1962 Oscar-winning animated short film which was directed by John and Faith Hubley. It’s an overrated film.

It features two construction workers at work in the bottom of a hole on a construction site discussing the possibility of an accidental nuclear weapons attack. It is one of the most talkative Oscar-winning shorts and it surely was interesting that it was structured as one giant, prolonged discussion. Some lines were quite interesting.

But most of that discussion was not as interesting as it should have been and not particularly smart or compelling. The voice acting is good, but the ending is subpar and the film is pointless in a way. The animation is its worst aspect as it is so mediocre not only in character designs, but also in imagery which felt choppy and unfinished.

The Hole is an interesting, but mostly failed experiment with choppy animation and not particularly compelling discussions.

 My Rating – 3.2

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