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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Ersatz (1961)

Ersatz ReviewErsatz  Review

 Ersatz (The Substitute) is a 1961 Oscar-winning Croatian animated short film which was directed by Dusan Vukotic.

A man takes a trip to the beach and every object he brings with him, no matter how unlikely, is inflatable. That is the plot here and, needless to say, it is slight and the film is almost plotless. It is an excuse to venture into surreal territory, but I did not grasp the meaning or the point of it.

But you can’t deny the strengths of its animation. It is stupendously well animated and actually quite inventive in some of its scenes. I really liked the main character and the sounds that he made were quite amusing. The designs here are odd, yet very authentic. The movements and the colors were all really well incorporated and the film is quite unique in some of its imagery. But it is still a flawed film as the plot is nowhere to be found and the conclusion isn’t the greatest. It got the Oscar and although not deserved in my opinion, it wasn’t a terrible choice as I can see where they’re coming from as the film is pretty artistic in its own way.

Ersatz is imaginative and quite inventive in its animation, but pointless in plot and ultimately just solid.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Munro (1960)

Munro ReviewMunro Review

Munro is a 1960 Oscar-winning animated short film which was directed by Gene Deitch.

It is about a boy who is four years old and gets drafted into the army where everyone torments him as they think he is a real man faking his age. Now obviously this is a giant, and quite personal from the director, attack on military and the abuse of authority. And I really respected its parody as it felt important and yet very well handled as well.

The film is actually quite funny at times and more lighthearted than serious which was a good choice to sell this difficult premise. The animation is quite good, although somewhat lacking in identity. The narration should have been better, but the voice acting is solid and the sound is overall fine. The film succeeds much more in terms of storytelling than technically, but overall I really liked it and it deserved its Academy Award in my opinion.

Munro is very well made and it succeeds because it presents its important issue in a comical instead of overly serious manner.

 My Rating – 4.2

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Moonbird (1959)

Moonbird ReviewMoonbird Review

Moonbird is a 1959 animated short that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for that year.

It follows two boys who in the middle of the night sneak out in order to find and catch the Moonbird. Now apparently the film is a unique experiment as it featured real child voices which came from the director’s own children and he taped their imaginary adventure and created a film around it. Now that premise and that approach is, needless to say, incredibly original and the film is admirable for it.

However, everything else here is disappointing. The film is a technical mess with the animation that is very subpar and the character design which is not the greatest. The sound wasn’t that well incorporated and the film doesn’t sound or look good. Plus it is overlong and not particularly engaging to watch. It is such a poor execution of a great premise.

Moonbird is original and an interesting, but not particularly successful or polished film.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Blind Vaysha (2016)

Blind Vaysha ReviewBlind Vaysha Review

Blind Vaysha is a 2016 animated short film directed by Theodore Ushev and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

It is about a girl who cannot see present with her left eye seeing the past and her right eye seeing the future. Rarely have I seen such an original concept in an animated short before. It is unique and it is perfect for this medium. However, I still find the film far from great because the narration isn’t the greatest and I would have chosen a different approach to tell this story. I also found the ending to be abrupt and the overall film needed to have been longer in length.

But the animation is phenomenal. It is the kind of artistic animation that suits this particular tale really well with great colors and very interesting character designs. I liked the score quite a bit and it is again fitting to the plot. The film is very authentic both in visuals and in plot which is why it succeeds as one of the year’s best animated shorts even if it isn’t as great as it could have been.

Blind Vaysha definitely could have been better, but it is still quite good with a terrific premise and fine animation.

My Rating – 4

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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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