I absolutely love animated shorts. It’s like someone took all the wonderful things about animation and film-making and condensed it into about a fifth of the length of a full movie. Along with trailers, getting to see the animated shorts that come on before Pixar and Disney films is one of my favourite things about going to the cinema. I even wanted to go and see Wreck-It Ralph in the cinema just so I could see the short coming on before it (it was Paperman, in case you were wondering). Although I didn’t end up going to see Wreck-It Ralph, Disney were kind enough to release Paperman onto YouTube in January. Long story short, after watching Paperman on YouTube I basically went on an animated-film-watching rampage around the internet. I found a handful of videos I really, really liked along the way, so I thought I’d share them with you here. A lot of them are Disney/Pixar, because they make lots of very good shorts, but a couple aren’t. In no particular order, here they are:
Paperman: Might as well start with this one, as I’ve already mentioned it in the last paragraph. Paperman is a black-and-white short by Disney, which mixes two kinds of animation and actually won an Oscar at the Academy Awards. This is one of my absolute favourite shorts, and you don’t even have to be familiar with other Disney works to appreciate it. It’s gorgeous to look at, the music is wonderful, and – most importantly – the story in itself is beautiful.
Tangled Ever After: How much I like this short is probably based almost entirely on how much I love the film it spun-off from, Tangled. If you haven’t seen Tangled, be warned there are some pretty major spoilers in this short. If you have seen (and liked) Tangled, this short is definitely worth watching. It follows on from the final events of the film, so it’s sort of like a mini sequel. I won’t go into too much detail here, but the short is funny and it’s great to see the Tangled kingdom again.
Partly Cloudy: Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good YouTube video version of this one (it seems like loads of people have been putting their own soundtracks into it), so I’ve included a Vimeo link instead. Partly Cloudy is a Pixar short about a bunch of clouds who create the babies of various animals, ready for the storks to deliver them to their new homes. It’s an adorable, sweet film. Plus, just to make things even more awesome, the creator of Partly Cloudy was apparently inspired to make the film after watching Dumbo as a child! I now love it even more.
Adam and Dog: Unlike the first three shorts on this list, Adam and Dog wasn’t made by a major animation studio. It’s directed by Minkyu Lee, done in a 2D art style, and was (like Paperman) nominated for the Best Animated Short Film award at this year’s Academy Awards. If you noticed the possibly Biblical reference in the film’s title, congratulations. Although the film doesn’t directly reference any parts of religion, there certainly does seem to be a bit of tie-in with the Garden of Eden story. Naturally, there’s currently a religious debate raging in the comments. However, the film can be enjoyed no matter what faith you are a part of, and I think anyone who likes dogs, good animation, or just short films has a chance of liking Adam and Dog. By the way, I feel obliged to warn you that there is some nudity in the film. It’s not sexualised at all and it’s not the focus of the short, but I thought I should mention it.
The Ballad of Nessie: This is a Disney retelling of the Loch Ness Monster story, which explains how Nessie came to live the famous loch. I never get tired of Scotland-related cinema, but The Ballad of Nessie really is worthy of watching in its own right. It has a lovely Scottish setting and music, a classic Disney narrator (with a Scots accent), a beautiful story, and a perfect ending. Also, I want someone to watch it and tell me, does Tycoon McBrugle remind you of Duff Killigan from Kim Possible?
Vincent: Last film on the list, Vincent is another one that didn’t come from Disney’s or Pixar’s studios. It’s a Tim Burton short from 1982, making it by far the oldest short on this list. Like Paperman, it’s done black-and-white style, although this time the film is animated in stop-motion. Vincent is about a young boy named Vincent Malloy, who is obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe and wants to be like his idol Vincent Price. The film was actually narrated by Vincent Price, which really does add something to it. Vincent is probably the darkest film on the list, with its macabre style and grim humour. It’s worth watching anyway, but if you love Burton films and haven’t seen Vincent yet, I really really suggest you do so ASAP.
Note: Since publishing this post, I’ve become aware that a few of the videos I embedded in it are not working – specifically, because they are marked as private. I’m sorry about this and am currently working on finding substitutes. If that fails, I’ll just put a picture up instead. In the mean time, you could always do some searching of your own; the videos are definitely worth a little work to see.
Another Note: Okay, I have now included two new links for Paperman and Adam and Dog. They are not very good quality, unfortunately, but better than not seeing them at all. It does also seem as though you can buy the films through Disney or iTunes, though, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you don’t mind spending a bit of money on them. Either way, enjoy the films!
Yet Another Note: In case you’re interested, I just found this link, which explains why some of the shorts have disappeared. The Oscars are finished now, so fingers crossed they return to YouTube soon.