Marred with the reputation of being a juvenile medium used
solely for Disney movies and Saturday morning cartoons, the role
and expectations of animation have been extremely marginalized and
misunderstood in American cinema. Even animated masterpieces like
“Spirited Away” and “Waking Life” that
receive widespread critical acclaim get less attention from the
public. The anime segment from “Kill Bill” and the
recent “The Animatrix” show signs of a growing
willingness by audiences. These, however, are the exceptions.

Janna Hutz
There is no spoon, stupid banana. (Courtesy of the A.M.P.A.S)

To contradict this stigma animators Don Hertzfeldt
(“Rejected”) and Mike Judge (“King of the
Hill”) present a series of animated short films from a number
of different directors, countries and time periods, many of them
nominated for Academy Awards, all in one film. The short films,
each with its own mood and theme, supply enough variety to keep
everyone happy.

The range is full, often abstract, experimental and surreal
creating a unique montage. From the beautifully rendered “Mt.
Head” by Atama Yama, to the superlative “Mars and
Beyond” by legendary animator Ward Kimball, the scope is
truly epic and these films will broaden the appreciation for the
possibilities of the medium.

Not every animated film in here is a highlight as
“Ricardo” and “The Cathedral” add a bit of
unevenness and weight to the collection. But there are more hits
than misses, such as an incredible short from Tim Burton as well as
some hilarious work from the producers themselves.
Hertzfeldt’s absurdist minimalism, best shown with his stick
figures in “Rejected,” will stand eternal as well as
Judge’s early test for Milton from the cult classic
“Office Space.”

Wildly imaginative, darkly comical, often breathtaking and
inexplicably captivating at times with a philosophical blend, this
is something not made for little Timmy and his Crunchy O’s.
Leave the Saturday morning ‘toons behind and give “The
Animation Show” a look.

Rating: 4 stars.





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