For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Sunday, February 18, 2018

No. 150, Oscar Nominees for Best Animated Short

Once again I got a chance to view the animated shorts in advance of the Oscar ceremony.  Here are my reviews.

Dear Basketball

Here, Glen Keane and composer John Williams, best known for his scores for Star Wars, collaborated with Kobe Bryant on a sentimental homage to the sport of basketball as it affected his own life and fortunes. Keane's hand-drawn animation, always a pleasure to look at, nonetheless cannot elevate this maudlin film without a real story arc to anything of much cinematic interest. Two stars.

Negative Space

A quirky, funny little story depicted in what appears to be stop-motion animation (though it is sometimes hard to tell these days) about a man who takes pride in knowing how to properly pack a suitcase and his relationship with his father. Delightful, with clever transitions and a lot of graphic surprises. Four stars.


Pixar's entry has a lot of razzle-dazzle computer animation, as might be expected, and a small story about bullying on a children's school playground and a character assembled from the contents of a lost and found bin. Three stars.

Garden Party

This film about a mysteriously abandoned  mansion that is gradually taken over by a troupe of amphibians from nearby who unwittingly reveal its secrets. Excellent computer animation, but above all an engaging storyline, all accomplished without dialog. Four stars.

Revolting Rhymes

Another Raould Dahl story brought to animated life, Revolting Rhymes conflates Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Three Little Pigs into one dark but hilarious storyline.  Computer animation that sometimes looks like stop-motion; possibly another hybrid.  And there is even a suggestion of romance between Snow White and Red!  Four stars.

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There they are.  But if you are interested in glimpsing some of the entries that didn't make this final cut of five, just take a look at this blog post from Amid Amidi's blog Cartoon Brew. You will see trailers, stills or--in a few cases--complete versions of over sixty films trying for the Oscar gold. Some of them are dark subjects, and many are in unfamiliar styles that the average viewer of Hollywood cinema might find uncomfortable. But they all are winners of film festival prizes, and all deserve attention.  It is a reminder that the possibilities in animated film are wide and deep, and the limitations few.

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