I don’t see how the astonishing “Opera,” by Erick Oh, doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. This is a stupendous achievement, a cartoon clockwork depicting life, the universe, and everything.
The Disney paradigm is hard at play again here, its familiarity offset by its inspiration in Southeast Asian culture and mythology. Sweepingly told, gorgeously animated, and audaciously optimistic.
A spectacularly scattershot, pandering mess of pulp junk, cheap-looking animation, and poisonous gender dynamics. A charmless cash-grab that can’t be bothered with the slightest stab at originality.
As pastel and glittery as its predecessor, with a silliness more glorious and less forced. Sweet, smart, sincere… but it doesn’t deserve to be carrying the future of movies on its little shoulders.
Don’t let the Pixar curve throw you: familiar this quest may be, but it’s full of magic and wonder and humor and melancholy, and set in a fully realized fantasy world. Not a masterpiece but very good.
My pick: I haven’t seen a short film this year that is as full of pure joy as “Hair Love.” I’d like to think that its sweet positivity will be the thing that, at this awful moment, gives it an edge.
This plastic horror — horrifically, it’s a musical — is a head-smackingly dumb exercise in corporate filmmaking and mercenary marketing. So crass it makes me rethink my love of the toys themselves.
There’s magic here, and elemental spirits, but no magic and nothing elemental, metaphorically speaking. Rote and smaller than its predecessor. Even the songs are bland and forgettable.
Lovely animation and gentle, kid-pitched life lessons can’t quite overcome the familiar feel of this E.T. retread, nor the forced sense of wonder that is more convenient crutch than anything organic.
Painfully stupid faux-woke slapstick that wants to have its idiot male hero and its nods to feminism at the same time. Kids are listening, they are absorbing this garbage, and they deserve better. (now with a brief review of short “Hair Love”)