Plus grounded human experiences, from escaping a cult to — yes — doing an espionage. (First published June 3rd, 2022, on Substack and Patreon.)
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.
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.
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.
“Hey, so you wanna go to the disneys tonight?”
What do you think about what we thought, almost a decade ago, might be a good way to expand the story, versus what we actually just got?
The series’ saving grace is that, with humor and heart so beautifully wise and stunningly rendered (CGI pun intended), even as returns diminish, a new chapter is still warm and smartly entertaining.
The woman is a goddess and a badass.
My pick: I suspect that this year’s winner will be “Garden Party,” a spectacular debut from new French animation studio Illogic that I am sure we will be seeing a lot more stunning work from.