SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM || Not only are Disney and Pixar known for representing in the Best Animated Feature with most of their releases, they also clean up when entered into the Best Animated Short category as well. Last year, Disney’s “Feast” won and Pixar has had at least 11 short films nominated by the Academy. So putting “Sanjay’s Super Team” at the top of your list is definitely one of the safer bets you could offer. The film is inspired by a true story about a young Indian boy preoccupied with superhero cartoons and his father that wants to connect with him through his religion. The pundits are getting behind this one and so am I.
A BEAR STORY || A 3D animated short titled “A Bear Story” (Historia de un Oso), this Chilean film tells the hauntingly beautiful story of a father bear who is captured and forced to perform in the circus, leaving his family behind. Told through a coin operated diorama, the story is heartbreaking, with the animation styling and music supporting this rich and deeply emotional short that is reminiscent of how I felt during “The Dam Keeper” from last year.
WORLD OF TOMORROW || An eccentric little look at the future, the short “World Of Tomorrow” is the blunt and often funny story of a little girl meeting her future cloned self and being described the complexities of the future and time travel despite the mental ability to comprehend any of it. Despite it’s originality, its animation style feels too simple and its story feels overly complicated, while the noises and voices create an unmixed cacophony of sound that makes it unbearable to think of a second viewing.
PROLOGUE || Filled with graphic violence and nudity, “Prologue” is a pencil drawn abstraction that shows the realities of war between men as they fight with swords out in the tall grass while a child witnesses the devastation and goes crying home to their mother. There are some definite risks taken here in terms of what we’ve come to expect from animated shorts, but overall, there’s nothing that really drives this to being that memorable or pertinent.
WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT COSMOS || If there’s one weak short film in the bunch, it would probably be the Russian submission of “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” which deals with adult themes while packaging them in a childish package that unfortunately doesn’t translate well. Two childhood friends go through astronaut training only to be separated at the last minute, with one heading out into space. The short follows what happens to the astronaut who is kept on the ground and explores the concept of loss in a quite accurate way.