Paperman (2012 short)
I might be in the minority when I say I enjoyed Paperman more than I did the main feature, Wreck-it Ralph. But talk about comparing two unlike things!
Paperman is the newest short from Walt Disney Studios, a studio that is synonymous with excellence, but a studio that, since Fantasia 2000 and the turn of the new millennium, has lost its way. Glimpses of what the old House of Mouse (or the House that Walt Built, as some say) have appeared with more frequency within the last few years and Paperman is evidence of that.
It makes no sense to spoil the plot of a short so here is imdb’s short summary: “An urban office worker finds that paper airplanes are instrumental in meeting a girl in ways he never expected”.
Shot in black-and-white (with one important exception) and devoid of dialogue, the short bucks recent Pixar-like trends of relying on cutesy factors and is far more emotionally engaging than any of Pixar’s recent short films. Yes, that was a dig on Pixar as their mojo seems to be slowly transferring over to Walt Disney, their owners.
Walt Disney’s recent trends towards CGI seems almost a betrayal of their roots. Yet, how wonderfully blended the traditional animation and CGI are in this short. In this case, I think in this case Disney took a page out of last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which I think is the better short than Paperman.
This is the sort of project that Disney needs to take and make a full-length animated feature - a fusion of the old and the new. Christophe Beck’s score mixes traditional and contemporary elements. On a studio level, Disney has appeared disrespectful of its past in recent years. Examples include: favoring the unworthy Cars 2 and the inept Gnomeo & Juliet over a deserving Winnie the Pooh for last year’s Oscar campaign and the ever-decreasing presence of Disney classic films on ABC or Disney Channel.
And so, the reinvention and rediscovering of a studio entering next year on its ninetieth birthday continues. It seems like an eternity now since the Disney Renaissance (all films released from 1989-1999) and we’re still waiting for signs Sleeping Beauty will awaken once more.
For seven minutes, Paperman does exactly that - it awakens Sleeping Beauty.
My rating: 8.5/10
^ Based on my personal imdb rating. Half-points are always rounded down.
NOTE: Expect a Best Animated Short Oscar nomination. Perhaps a win, but I haven’t seen anything much else.
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