For me great animation is a marriage of two other big loves of mineóbeautiful art and captivating storytelling. You nail those things and it's almost guaranteed that you'll have my eyeballs glued to the screen. I grew up on Disney films like Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast so my tastes tend to unconsciously lean that way, however I love seeing animation that breaks new ground and really shows where the medium can go.
drawing, painting, animation, absorbing pop culture, animation, web design, writing, animation...
Animation that I love:
How to Train Your Dragon, Mary and Max, Tangled, Princess Mononoke, The Incredibles, Nightmare Before Christmas, Rescuers Down Under, ... etc. etc.
The story goes from being something fairly simplistic about two fighter pilots going at it--no different than say any number of WWII movies all of us have seen at one time or another--down this downward spiral. By the end, you are left with this sense of futility and waste, which is I think a pretty fair statement about war in general.
Also, there's something about the character of Ormie that elevates him above simply a food-obsessed character. You get the sense he's laughing a little at his own situation even as he gets more desperate. I can see him as a character who'd be fun to watch in a longer film.
The YouTube link for the short is in the profile, so be sure to check this one out.
There's nothing particularly complicated about it. Two dancers, a nice song... but, for me at least, this is the purest expression of what animation is. It takes an already beautiful piece of dance, then adds to it. It accentuates the grace and expressiveness of the dancers, simplifying their forms and adding accents until you have this amazing visual poem about love and loss.
The link to the full animated short is included in the profile, so be sure to check this one out.
But watching the short, I recognized it as being good, but it didn't blow me into *great*... certainly when compared against some of the other shorts within the Fantasia canon.
I will give kudos to Disney however for not going with a warm and fuzzy ending. It's interesting to note that this short is part of the special features of "The Little Mermaid" DVD--another Hans Christian Anderson tale. For "The Little Mermaid", however Disney did makeover the ending so that our beloved mermaid didn't wind up dying at the end.
I'm not Christian. I'm actually Buddhist and after reading Lucky Bob's review, I tried to picture the short in my head with the Dalai Lama and Buddhist monks... and honestly, I think I'd still find it funny. Heck, I think the Dalai Lama would find it funny, but he's a really happy guy... then again, he might object to the violence, so who knows.
I added the profile because I thought the blocking in this short was really nice. The shot layout and some of the visual gags were also very clever--the bit with the rubber ducky always makes me smile. I also like the character design of the barbarians. They look so cuddly that I almost want a plush toy barbarian sitting on my bed.
Yes, I acknowledge that it is quite gory and I can see how it could be offensive--which is why there is a Viewer Warning on the profile to that effect--but personally, I enjoyed it.