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The Reel Deal and Other Bad Jokes
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
 
Derek and The Animation Show '05...
On Saturday, before damn near all of Colorado's front range was shut down due to a blizzard, I (along with my wife, my sister, Collin, Justin C. and Justin's wife) drove up to Denver to see this:
animshow

it was...ok...Here's a quick synopsis of the features:
Bunnies
This was the very quick opening/title sequence for the show. A shame, because I enjoyed the style very much. I'd like to see a full short of the Bunnies. Grade: B+

Guard Dog
Bill Plympton, whom I once found very funny, is finally back in that category. Guard Dog is ironic, enjoyable and (as per usual for a Plymptoon) very well drawn. I think this is the first Plymptoon I've laughed at since...like...1992. Grade: A-

F.E.D.S.
Concept: rip-off of Aardman's Creature Comforts. Animation style: fluid and strange. Hard to watch, really. Collin and Justin used the term "Rotoscope" when talking about this one afterward. I'll just call a spade a spade. term: Crap. Grade: D

Pan With Us
You know what? One of the easiest traps to fall into when doing animation is to get "married to the technique," so to speak, and forget to actually make what you're doing watchable. The technique used for Pan With Us was remarkable. I applaud the patience and planning that must've gone into making this completely lousy short film. Oh, yeah...The film itself? I hated it. Everything about this film, beyond the astonishing animation technique, makes it a giant stinking pile of dog crap. Grade: D-

Ward 13
Them wacky Australians! They have a knack for making very dark claymation films. This one is no exception. What I disliked about this particular film would be the textures of the characters. The action scenes, though, were very well animated and the audio for this film was quite well executed. My wife liked it. Grade: A-

Hello
This one wasn't bad. You pretty much have a grasp of the characters and the world they live in right away and the goal of the main character is pretty clear. The style of animation fit the story and the audio track was really well done. Everyone in our group loved this one, except for me. I merely "liked" it. Grade: B+

Rock Fish
Is 3-D computer animation really that amazing anymore? I mean, everyone's doin' it, right? That said, I'm still slightly impressed at the level of spatial realism that can be attained through this medium every time I see it used. I could've done without a number of aspects of THIS film, though, especially the "fish hunter's" little "sidekick" thing. Good action, though and good animation. Grade: B-

Fallen Art
More with the 3-D computer animation. This one, though, has more "cartoonishly stylized" characters and a very dark and evil side to it. In fact, it was so good, I was completely transfixed by this short film. I don't want to give away much, but if you get a chance to watch it, you really should. I'm going looking for a copy of the "Asphalt Tango" as soon as I finish this entry. Grade: A+

Fireworks
Just a real quick self-promotion ad for PES, basically. Still, PES is pretty God Damned brilliant. Grade: B

The Man With No Shadow
Wow, was this one hard to watch. Not because it was lame, or poorly drawn, but it's that damn Frenchy oil paint animation (you may have seen the ads for United Airlines in the 80s and early 90s done in the same style) where EVERY SCENE constantly moves and morphs into the next. The story is about a guy who sells his shadow to the devil for fun and profit and is then ostracized because (surprise) he has no shadow. Interesting technique, except for how it'd give most anyone a seizure. Grade: B-

When The Day Breaks
Canadian animation that presents a world in which we are all animals! ANIMALS! It's actually a very well-done piece, with a very well executed audio track. I did not dislike this one. Of course, references to hockey in the film didn't hurt it's chances, but overall I think that it was quite well done. Grade: A-

The Meaning of Life
This, supposedly, was Don Hertzfeldt's masterwork which he's been spending all his time completing. Seems to me that ol' Don forgot to write a script before starting, or something. See, I like Don's other stuff (Rejected, Billy's Balloon, etc.) but this particular short film fell into the same trap as Pan With Us in the sense that, because Don does everything by hand without the assistance of a computer, he seemed to become totally transfixed with the fact that, even though it was pointless and boring, IT WAS ALL DONE BY HAND! Well, whoop-de-shit. Unfortunately, appreciation of hard work and patience only goes so far. Don failed miserably in the sense that The Meaning of Life is completely and totally boring. I was so disappointed in it, it damn near ruined my day. Grade: F.

Overall Animation Show 2005 grade: C-. Last year's was better. Hopefully next year will be better as well.
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