Film Commentary [4-21-99]
Great Animation - - Spike and Mikes Classic Festival of Animation '99
Genre: Animation

The new Spike & Mike's short-animation anthology is being billed as "The Classic Festival of Animation." To let you know it's different from Spike and Mike's "Sick and Twisted" anthologies, it's also being billed as family-friendly. However, features a short called VXH/CarrHot, from Canada. If your kid asks why the grown-ups are laughing, you'll find yourself having to explain how a vegetable could be pornographic.

The compilation also include the classic Bambi Meets Godzilla, and its recent sequel, Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla with the deer using modern weapons technology. Bingo, a surrealist comedy of menacing circus performers. Sientje, from the Netherlands, shows a little girl really acting out, as the therapists put it, or throwing a temper tantrum as I put it. One of the best is Billy's Balloon, a minimalist rendition -- all stick figures-- with the story of a balloon that suddenly turns on a toddler. It is so outrageously funny and superbly timed that I had tears from laughing so hard.

Included also is the 1989 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short, German-made, Balance. My research shows that the wordless animation is supposed to be about a geo-political allegory demonstrating the irony of greed and the unavoidability of interdependence. Instead, the story of a jester and a masked guy in a business suit trying to use the same tightrope makes you wonder how a world of tightropes came to be created. Another winner included is Bunny, winner of the 1998 Academy Award, a enjoyable seven minutes about an elderly rabbit that misinterprets the presence of an annoying moth. It also includes the first movie scene in history to show an rabbit using a walker.

The best of show is the British Hum Drum. It's from Aardman Animation who created the Academy Award winning Creature Comforts and the Wallace and Gromit series. The characters are two roommates who drive each other crazy thinking of ways to entertain themselves. Its not claymation but are either paper silhouettes or the shadows of them, animated by stop motion. The visuals are great, but it's the writing that makes it so funny.

These 17 films totaling 87 minutes are a good buy if you like animation, but be forewarned that you will have to endure several artistic animiations that are neither funny, nor allow you to actually determine what they are about.

Grade = B+

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