Home  >  Movies & TV  >  Movies & TV Reviews

Screen Shots

Taking aim at the best and worst of movies and television.

Review: 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films, Animated

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2014: Animated

* * * * 

Unrated


Posted 3:00pm on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

The nominations in the Oscars’ animated shorts category this year range from fairy-tale fantasy to flight of futuristic fantasy.

Room on the Broom (directed by Max Lang and Jan Lachauer; UK; 25 minutes): The Least Wicked Witch of the East or West has a sweet disposition and joie de vivre unusual for her profession. She’s a happy, user-friendly kind of witch, but she keeps losing things in mid-air and having to retrieve them, aided by her faithful feline companion (a ginger Bando) and various critters on the ground, who all ask the same question: Is there room for them on the broom, too? It’s an old model, with dubious aerodynamics — increasingly crowded and problematic. Favorite detail: When the cat reaches into a haystack, searching for her lost hair-ribbon, he pulls out a needle instead.

Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz; Luxembourg/France; 11 minutes): The hero is described as “a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD.” This agoraphobic man-of-the-future — made of (spare) mechanical parts, wears quadrifocal corrective lenses and an odometer on his forehead with constantly running numbers, like an electric meter. The invasive arrival of Robot Pet, a stray mechanized dog, disturbs his terrifically drawn dystopia.

Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullen; USA; 6 minutes): Walt Disney checks in from the beyond in this state-of-the-CGI-art homage to early Mickey Mouse. Mick, Minnie, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow are having a jolly hay wagon ride when interrupted and menaced by Peg-Leg Pete. Suddenly, the violent Punch & Judy action (not so politically correct these days) spills over from its 1928 vintage black-and-white 2-D screen into 3-D color — and the movie theater itself! — as the characters struggle to get back into their old frame. It’s a delightfully surreal exercise, running in some theaters as an opening appetizer to the Disney animated feature Frozen.

Possessions (Shuhei Morita; Japan; 14 minutes): It’s a dark and stormy night in 18th-century Japan, where a lost traveler takes refuge in a long-abandoned shrine full of discarded objects — broken umbrellas, remnants of ancient kimonos — which suddenly come swirling to life, threatening him with their ancient resentments. A Japanese legend has it that, after 100 years, old physical possessions attain souls and demand to be remembered. The weary traveler sets about mending them — and himself — in this deliriously didactic dreamscape.

Feral (Daniel Sousa; USA; 13 minutes): A wild boy in the woods is discovered and “rescued” by a hunter, who takes him back to civilization. Much alienated in the new environment, he tries to adapt with his animal skills in this morality tale — drawn in soft-edged, impressionistic style — that owes much to Francois Truffaut’s The Wild Child.

A nice bonus with the animated program is the inclusion of four runners-up “qualifying” (but un-nominated) shorts — of which A la Francaise, created by a team of students from the French animation school Supinfocom, is to die for: It’s an afternoon in Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, the aristocrats in sumptuous, eye-dazzling costumes cavorting to classical music. One odd thing: They’re all chickens — a hilariously perfect rendering of vanity and intrigue-most-fowl in the Sun King’s court.

Exclusive: Friday-Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me

We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.