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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Old King Cole (1933)

Old King Cole ReviewOld King Cole Review

Old King Cole is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a weak entry that is one of the worst in the series’ run.

I was really disappointed with this film and it currently ranks in the five worst for the series in my opinion. It isn’t bad as the technical aspects are as great as always with good score and very good color animation. But everything else is just so mediocre and dull.

Of the characters, King Cole is somewhat okay, but all of the others are forgettable and are just cameos of nursery rhyme characters and not one got anything substantial to work with. I found the ending to be memorable, but the rest of the film is all pretty much forgettable and uninspired and frankly even boring, at least it was to me. I do not understand why the critics think differently, but to me ‘Mother Goose Melodies’ is a much better film than this one.

Old King Cole is an inferior remake with good animation, but weak characters and many dull scenes.

My Rating – 3.2

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Buddy’s Trolley Troubles (1934)

Buddy's Trolley Troubles ReviewBuddy’s Trolley Troubles Review

Buddy’s Trolley Troubles is a 1934 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a weak Buddy offering.

The railway setting is overused by now within Looney Tunes and here we do not get to see anything new. Even the characters are forgettable as the villain is typical and Buddy and Cookie aren’t memorable at all. The entire first half is so uneventful, dull and familiar.

But the second half is definitely much better as it features pretty solid action. I liked the trolley chase quite a bit and I especially loved how Buddy defeated the villain and saved Cookie. Those action scenes were surprisingly well thought out and executed and I wish the whole entry was like that. The ending itself is also solid, though I do not see the point of the arriving pigs at all.

Buddy’s Trolley Troubles is familiar in setting and weak in first half, but pretty solid in second half with a couple of memorable action sequences.

My Rating – 3.3

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Goin’ to Heaven on a Mule (1934)

Goin' to Heaven on a Mule ReviewGoin’ to Heaven on a Mule Review

Goin’ to Heaven on a Mule is a 1934 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a film that had huge potential, but was executed weakly.

The execution is all wrong here. The film features interesting characters and setting. The ending is just so great and I loved its imagery, it was very interesting to witness and unique. However, the movie should have used that premise much more. In my opinion, the man should have gone to Hades and we should have seen that a bit before he woke up.

This way he woke up at the worst moment possible. Now I know that this is how dreams work, but I do not expect realism in a cartoon. Another thing that I disliked is the character design. The protagonist is very likable, but the design is just so stereotypical and offence that it hurts the movie in the long run.

Goin’ to Heaven on a Mule definitely has an interesting premise and a great ending, but the execution is weak with a wrong emphasis and offensive character design.

My Rating – 3.3

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Honeymoon Hotel (1934)

Honeymoon Hotel ReviewHoneymoon Hotel Review

Honeymoon Hotel is a 1934 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an amazing, the best entry so far.

Yes, Honeymoon Hotel is that good, to me it is an absolute classic and I did not expect that. And I have to say that my high opinion of the movie has nothing to do with it being the first ever color Merry Melody because that is probably its weakest aspect. It is solid and pleasing, but Cinecolor just isn’t Technicolor and the quality is noticeable.

Even though the two bugs are typically designed, they are a lovable duo. The premise where we follow the two check into a hotel and cannot get privacy until they set the entire hotel on fire and finally can be alone is just ingenious. The humor here is absolutely fantastic and it made me chuckle more than a couple of times with its very suggestive sexual lines and winks. So good. But the music is also terrific, I loved how the entire hotel looked and was utilized and all of its characters were terrific with that caterpillar attendant being quite unique and a lot of fun. The doors hiding their doorknobs so that people won’t peak is the most inventive part here. The entire short is so unique that it blew me away.

Honeymoon Hotel is a phenomenal Merry Melody which is the best one yet due to colorful characters, suggestive and great humor and such a fantastic plot.

 My Rating – 4.5

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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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The Three Little Pigs (1933)

The Three Little Pigs Review

The Three Little Pigs Review

 Three Little Pigs is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a classic and a timeless masterpiece.

It is such an acclaimed and important movie. It is about three pigs who build houses. The two of them build with sticks and straw even though Practical Pig, who builds his house with bricks, warns them of the wolf. Eventually, the wolf comes, blows their houses down and the two escape to Practical Pig’s house. Yes, this story has a great message for children about work and how important that is. But it is also wonderfully executed from beginning to end with no wasted or rushed scenes whatsoever.

The Three Little Pigs is important for being the first animated short to use real, fleshed out characters which is evident from the beginning. All three of the pigs along with the wolf are different, well developed characters with their own unique set of personalities. And I loved all of them with the Big Bad Wolf being the highlight with his harsh voice. He is such a great villain that posed real threat and is the most memorable character here. And the voice acting is truly excellent here.

The animation is absolutely mesmerizing. The colors are great, the film looks polished and wonderful to look at and the movements are all well realized. But the character design is the standout as all characters look absolutely fantastic with the wolf in particular being so well animated. The music is of course iconic to this point. The whole short is brilliantly scored, but the song Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? in particular is just fantastic as it is so catchy, so well incorporated into the story and just unforgettable. The film is great for the eyes and ears and is undoubtedly the finest Silly Symphony and it just might be the very best animated short film ever made.

With exquisite animation, memorable characters, very important and superbly incorporated message for children, excellent characterization as well as character design and outstanding, catchy and iconic music, The Three Little Pigs is undoubtedly a classic that is charming, entertaining, important and quite iconic. It is perfect both in terms of storytelling and craftsmanship, a film that is endearing and fantastic to this day, a masterpiece that is quite possibly the best animated short film of all time.

 My Rating – 5

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Bob’s Birthday (1993)

Bob's BirthdayBob’s Birthday Review

Bob’s Birthday is a 1993 animated short film that is a rare instance of an animated sitcom short which is executed wonderfully. It also received an Oscar which was well deserved.

It is about Bob, a 40-year-old dentist who struggles with his middle-age issues while his wife Margaret plans a birthday surprise for him. When he comes home, while their friends are hiding, hilarity ensues as he starts talking badly about them and the two also fight. Its plot is simply put ingenious. So well constructed and executed. I appreciate it not only for its humor which is fantastic, super funny and clever, but also for its themes as it is very smart and so relatable. It explores the middle-age problems beautifully with the dissatisfaction with work and friends, but still leaving a somewhat potentially happy ending as at least the two love each other. The plot and the characters drive this authentic sitcom film.

Yes, the characters are superb. Bob is relatable, very grounded in his depiction and likable. And Margaret is also sympathetic and you feel for her when everything goes wrong. The two have a great relationship and are so relatable.

This is one of the rare instances of an animated short film that is driven more by its plot and characters than animation. It is the weakest link here. Maybe it was the purpose here, but it is cheap-looking for its time and the character design is too cartoony which doesn’t mash well with its mature tone. It is an adult film which I highly appreciated, so sophisticated and relevant. It is also well acted and directed, although a bit weirdly paced. But it has just the right amount of running time, clocking in at around ten minutes and it is endlessly entertaining while also being inherently charming.

Bob’s Birthday may have weaker animation, but the characters are so grounded and relatable, the humor is splendid and its sitcom story with the hilarious scenario and sophisticated themes is wonderfully executed and very mature and relevant.

My Rating – 4.5

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Mr. Hublot (2013)

Mr. HublotMr. Hublot Review

Mr. Hublot is a 2013 animated short movie with sci-fi and drama elements that received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

It is about a titular character who lives in a small apartment in a crowded steampunk city. He saves a robot dog and moves him to his house, but after he grows to a great height, he accommodates him in a larger warehouse where he stays to live with the pet. It is such an intriguing story that although seemingly cold and emotionless, still has humanism in it with the relationship between the two being so endearing. It is a charming flick that is also incredibly authentic in its setting.

The characters are good, but could have been better. Mr. Hublot is really well realized and his OCD sensibilities are also properly handled, but he is not a particularly likable character. But the dog is cute and the relationship between them is charming and the heart of the movie.

My major problem with Mr. Hublot is that it is slow in pace and not much happens in it, especially in the first half. It also never properly explores more of this world which is a shame as the world building is marvelous with a great attention to detail. The animation is stunning with such an artistic and authentic vibe to it and terrific colors and tone. The score is also solid and the sound effects are really well executed.

Mr. Hublot is slow and had such a big potential to be even better, but it is such a charming flick with an artistic, splendid animation, excellent world building and an endearing relationship between the two characters which is the heart of the whole film.

My Rating – 4

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Lifted (2006)

LiftedLifted Review

Lifted is Pixar’s tenth short film which was once again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and once again failed to win it. It is a nice film, albeit too expected.

It is about an alien abduction where a clumsy alien named Stu unsuccessfully tries to abduct a man under the supervision of another alien. Now, the story has an intriguing setting and sci-fi theme which is definitely new for the studio. It is also brilliantly executed and very well edited with a superb opening and excellent conclusion. It is one of the best crafted Pixar shorts for sure. And it is funny at times, but it is unfortunately only mildly funny and the story is highly predictable once you get past the first surprising gag. That is the biggest problem here, the gags are never as good as they should have been thus diminishing the whole effect a bit.

The characters are great. Stu is of course the highlight as the clumsy and sympathetic protagonist. You really can’t help but love him. Ernie is just there as a plot device, but he has a funny conclusion as well. And the examiner Mr. B is a great irritated counteract to the exuberant central character.

The animation is really good. I like the blue colors here and the character design of both the human and the two aliens is very well done. It is a charming film to look at and it is also technically polished with excellent editing as mentioned before and a very memorable score.

Lifted has a great score, really good animation and a unique sci-fi theme to it along with charming characters, but it is expected and the gags are never as funny as they should have been.

My Rating – 3.7

 

 

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