Rumors of my [animated short film reviews] are greatly exaggerated

As the new year inches forward, I realize that my resolution to blog biweekly may be a stretch. I haven’t ruled out building a time machine so that I can populate my blog at my current leisurely pace. But here’s something for September!

Balance – Won for Best Animated Short, 1989 Oscars
Rating: 2/5
Directed by Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein
Five men live on a platform that floats in space. Working together, they keep the platform perfectly balanced. One day, one of the men finds a strange box. The once-steady platform turns into a see-saw as the men fight over who gets to enjoy the spoils of the mysterious box. Two stars for the concept and message. A clean (albeit obvious) way to present how selfishness destroys and cooperation creates. No more than two stars because I wasn’t a fan of the eerie sound effects and ghostly figures. The creepy vibe didn’t fit. Also at times, even for a short film, it was slow.

Gopher Broke – Nominated for Best Animated Short, 2004 Oscars
Rating: 4/5
An ambitious gopher (prairie dog, more like) booby traps a country road so that he can steal some produce from farm trucks that drive by on the way to the market. All does not go according to plan, hence the word “broke” in the title. The animation and music was great, a very colorful and lively mix. It’s a cute story, too: There are no shortcuts, only hard work can achieve your goals (in this case, the goal being a belly full of carrots and corn). And just the right amount of slapstick humor made this my favorite of the bunch, though the silly ending kept me from giving this a full five stars.

Paperman – Won for Best Animated Short, 2013 Oscars
Rating: 3/5
An overworked man falls in love with a mysterious beauty after she plants a bright red kiss on a piece of paper. He spends the rest of his day tracking her down with a variety of creative antics. Love makes us do crazy (and creepy) things. I wasn’t too crazy about this short, maybe because it’s Disney, and there’s just something about The Disney Formula that irks me. Of course, there’s an oafish, idiot man, and a pure, beautiful women, and they fall in love, with him doing the chasing. And of course, there’s a happy ending. Overall, it’s a touching animation, but a bit too boring to be Oscar-calibre.