SXSW Film Review: Animated Shorts

Hertzfeldt and Pixar triumph over smaller successes

Curated collections are always a mixed batch. Think of it like a dinner with many cooks: Sometimes you choke on undercooked greens before slurping a delicious sundae.

Traditional hand drawn undoubtedly dominates the package, for good and ill. "Half Wet" is sub-Super Jail psychedelia, "Pig" dresses annoying confrontation as stylistic experiment, while "Bottom Feeders" creates a monstrous ecosystem, reminiscent of Fantastic Planet but draped in juvenile sperm humor.

A lot of love for "Lava", the latest Pixar short

Closer to fully cooked is "Roadtrip," using chalk effects for the Seinfeldian tale of a man balancing insomnia and wanderlust, but is painfully slow. "Butter Yo'Self" reinvents the California Raisins for the rap era, while iPad horror "All Your Favorite Shows!" is a hyperkinetic visual blitzkrieg. The intriguingly stylized "Whole" (one of few CGI creations) adds shiny life with a women facing a literal hole in her post-breakup heart.

It's almost unfair to those lesser-known animators how the show closes. Book ending the final four, dental horror "Teeth" and Florida fable "Palm Rot" ingeniously put old men in very different perils. But nothing in contemporary animation matches Disney/Pixar and Don Hertzfeldt. The digital House of Mouse tugs heart strings with the emotional troubles of a volcano (seriously) in "Lava," while the Oscar-nominated local legend merges his trademark scratches with 2D CGI for hilarious future shock "World of Tomorrow," which took top Animated Short prize at Tuesday night's jury awards ceremony.


Animated Shorts

Shorts programming
Saturday, March 21, 7:45pm, Lamar


Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW, Disney, Pixar, Don Hertzfeldt

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