Screen Squinty’s “Vivziepop’s Silhouette (Owl City)” Review

 

Film Short: Silhouette (Fan Animated).
Animated by: .
Released: 2016.
Running Time: 2 min.

This is the second review I have done for one of ’s amazing fan-animations. This time around from among her material is an homage featuring a lonesome fox singing to the stars with Owl City’s “Silhouette.”

Over the years has continued to impress me in the growth, imagination, and talent that she has utilized in their creations, both in her animations and in her comic series Zoophobia, and this short is no different.

While it doesn’t have the speed and energy of her homage to Kiesha’s “Die Young”, there is greater attention to visual detail in Silhouette, with really good syncing of the Fox’s mouth to the singer’s voice, and a flow of movement that is smooth and fluid, and an over all tighter production.

The emotion of the song was well captured in the visuals with the excellent use of transition from full character to silhouette and back, with the facial expressions and body movements of the Fox himself with just the right emotion of identity in the moment.

Despite the softer pace of the short, she is still able to utilize that amazing flair for color that Vivzie’s stuff is well known for which pops at the seams with chromatic vibrancy, enriching without working against.

Overall, , and I look forward to every future endeavor.

To read my “Die Young” Review go here.

If you liked this review and my other content, please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

Advertisements

Screen Squinty’s “Firework Jontron Remix” Review.

Film Short: Firework Full Cover (JonTron Offical).
Created by: JonTronShow, Alex S., Mike Bedsole, Michael Gregory,  and to many animators to name here.
Released: 2016.
Running Time: 4.16 min.

This is an animated musical video remix that was a promise made to the donators by Jontron for a Livestream charity event for “Teach For America,” in which he promised to sing the entirety of Katy Perry’s hit “Firework” if they reached their donation goal, which they did at 25,000$. It was originally released as a song onto SoundCloud but it was taken down, so they took the song created, and through the help of several great talents, created a glorious animated amalgam of a music video.

JonTron did a rather stellar job with his singing. He put a great deal of power, a little pizzazz, and something uniquely him into the Perry song that, even if he wasn’t a professional pop-star, made it enjoyable as be-all to listen to and watch, emphasizing that sometimes the intent and approach to a song number can outweigh the glitz of record label polish, and was also helped by the fact that JonTron actually has a naturally booming power-punch quality to his singing voice, even if its a bit raw.

The animation meanwhile was supreme A-game from the various talents around the web that was utilized (and way too many to name here, which can be checked out on YouTube) yet they all kept their various styles somewhat cohesive to the main theme of the song and JonTron as their consistent focus. Some of the animation styles were funny, some of it was gorgeous, and they all did a great job.

The best part about this vid though was that they took the main point of the song, a sort of nod to self-empowerment of the unique individual, and preserved it within the very construction and final result of this piece. It felt like a nice homage to the popular song, but at the same time preserve its own self-empowered unique identity. It made the message both much more entertaining, real, and easy to relate to over the original music video.

Overall this has been one of the better remixes I have ever come across, and well worth the view, whether you’re a fan of Katy Perry music or not.

If you liked this list and my other content, please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

JonTronShow: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJdEguB1F1CiYe7OEi3SBg

“Firework” by Katy Perry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGJuMBdaqIw

 

 

Screen Squinty’s Little Witch Academia, 1 & 2: A Review.

Film Shorts: Little Witch Academia and Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade.
Directed and Created by: Yoh Yoshinari.
Released: 2013, 2015.
Running Time: 26 min and 53 min.

Capture2
“Little Witch Academia”, Promotional Artwork, Retrieved from Wikipedia.org, Property of Trigger.

The first installment Little Witch Academia (2013), was a short animation that was produced by Trigger for the 2013 Anime Mirai (a funding project for young animators) about a somewhat inept but enthusiastic girl named Akko who is inspired into becoming a witch by a magical performer called Shiny Chariot, whom she idolizes, and hangs out at her magic school with her friends, Sucy and Lotte.

The second installment, Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade (2015)  was a longer sequel partially funded through Kickstarter after the initial release of the first one garnered some modest fanbase. In this one the main character in conflict with her friends as they struggle to create the best parade (a punishment) so they can avoid expulsion.

First off, if you are a viewer who is seriously picky about the quality of their anime, then these shorts are definitely up your ally visually. The animation here is just spectacular! Fluid, malleable, colourful, enduring, and the character designs are unique to each character to aide in strengthening each individual identity.

The animation of the opening of the first installment especially was a real visual treat!

The characters outside their design, are rather likable, and some even funny, though Akko can come across as a little to bratty at times, particularly in the second installment, but in the end she realizes the character flaw, so she works well enough as a main lead, though definite props go to to the sidekicks and background characters.

Sucy is one of the best characters in both of the films, sort of like a cross between Severus Snape from Harry Potter franchise, Raven from Teen Titans. Everything she does and says is almost always funny, her utilization of potions is always fun to watch, with much of the best humour coming from her quarter, and her almost cartoon Dracula-like design is the best of the lot by far!

One of the draw backs of the films is that the pacing of the story of the first one doesn’t match the short time frame, feeling a little rushed. The second film seemed to be trying to rectify that, and it was an improvement in pacing. Despite that though, it did present some interesting elements that I wished could have been flushed out bit more, such as the relationship between the witches and the non-magicals, the hints of gentrification among witch culture, the history behind the Sorcerer’s stone (and yes, if your harry Potter fan you roll your eyes, but to be fair, it wasn’t the first to use that magical prop.)

There are some problems with the characters such as a few of them coming across as a bit to stereotypic such as Diana, the condescending overachiever aristocrat who comes across like a less dickish Draco Malfoy (also from Harry Potter) for example, and the under utilization of the 3 new characters Amanda, Constanze, and Jasminka from the second movie, who each had something very interesting about them, but wasn’t fully explored or utilized, though with time constraints and the focus being the friendship of the main cast, it was likely not a concern.

This is why while they work alright as short films (with the second treading that line very finely I might add)I feel they would be great to watch as both a full length TV series to really flesh out the characters, history, and the story, or even a feature length film, perhaps.

The only other nitpick would be the English dub which was also not overly well done, and can distract from the film, though the actresses for the Japanese version are pretty good, with the exception of Diana, whose voice sounds a little too mature for the age she is supposed to be.

Overall these were very well done anime with its strengths resting in its animation and characters, and felt like a nice little homage to Harry Potter while still maintaining its own identity. I would recommend giving it a watch.

Little Witch Academia “Minotaur Scene”:

 

Both films are also on Netflix.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

 

Wildfire: A Review.

Film Short: Wildfire.
Directed by: Hugues Opter , Pierre Pinon , Nicole Stafford, Valentin Stoll , Arnaud Tribout and Shang Zhang.
Released: 2015.
Running time: 4.04 min.

This bit of slice of life animation from Goeblin’s animation school is about a firefighter named Ena and her growing fascination with the fire she fights gives viewers a fascinating look at the complex relationship of passion.

There are many different types of passion out there. The romantic passion between lovers, the passion for life, the passion of a calling, etc. it’s all a state of sustained want and/or excitement that drives many individuals in many different and unique ways, both good and bad. This short caught my attention because it displays a moment in the complexities of desire, particularly in the moments that shift from one particular desire to another, evolving on the cusp into obsession, that was explored through the protagonist Ena brilliantly.

The narrative is constructed in such a way that we are clearly introduced to two different aspects of the main character: Ena the family woman, and Ena the firefighter.

Her fascination and desire for the wild beauty of the flames as she fights a forest fire was portrayed in beautiful rolls of purple smoke and red gold sparks and flames as she approaches the conflagration with this enthralled look on her face.

The flames act also as a symbol for the excitement of the harsh unpredictability that being a firefighter gives her, and her passion for her calling, while the staid little flames, the constrained and tamed moments of controlled fire in her daily life through her moments of contemplation of her matches, her cigarette, and the flames of her son’s birthday cake reflect her more staid and controlled existence as a family woman.

What makes this dynamic between Ena the mother and wife and Ena the firefighter, is that she does clearly love her family, it’s just the staid and controlled life that they represent which is what we see her drifting away from. The filmmakers here did a good job in not making the two lives completely polar opposing, cut and dried from each other, each part is well balanced and seamlessly transitioned.

Overall this was great animated short that utilized a very mature and sophisticated understanding of desire, had a good utilization of dynamics between Ena’s family life and career, some good poignant moments, and a definite artistic visual appeal.

If you like my reviews and other content please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

Kung Fury: A Review.

Image from http://www.memecenter.com/fun/6093591/convention
Image from http://www.memecenter.com/fun/6093591/convention

Film/Short: Kung Fury.
Created by: David Sandberg.
Released: 2015.
Running Time: 30 min.

This…this film! Oh my fudging Godlies!

I really don’t know how to coherently review this, so I took my que from the style of the film itself and just went with whatever freakin’ pops into my head, so here it goes.

How best to accurately describe this film? It’s like if the entirety of 80’s nostalgia tripped LSD, lost its shizer, and smacked me upside the head repeatedly with a film script it wrote while in the back of a sexily painted dream van. The resulting hallucination induced from the concussion is this film in a nutshell.

…And man oh man was it awesome! I send my hyper-masculine *squee* out into the void.

This independent film was 30 minutes of straight up so-over-the-top-it’s-in-another-galaxy level of camp that caricatures the 80’s action hero and rough Die Hard cop all merged into the lead character known as Kung Fury (David Sandburg). He speaks in the gravelly voice of the Nolan Batman of the 2000’s (but to be fair was a popular trait in the 80’s) while taking down a time traveling Hitler.

We see burns of ridiculous television premises that were super common in that decade (Triceracop), stiff 80’s animation, unicorns, sexy barbarian women riding animals of manpower, and so much violence the PCA’s of the actual 80’s might have hemorrhaged a hernia of affront.

This is a visual feast for the unsuspecting parody eye for the guy that tries its hardest to make you go “wow” and have fun doing it. The visual style used a cruddy 80’s VHS tape filter, for added nostalgia which, depending on the viewer, was actually a smart little addition and a nice little meta commentary on viewing experience in general for the hey day of Video.

Finally, the strength of this film also lies in the humour (though there were the occasional eye rollers). I think I had one of those small deaths a time or two while watching it I laughed so hard! The utilization of the utter ridiculous made this movie hard to predict as a viewing experience which  is always one of those rare treats that viewers like myself appreciate if its done well.

All in all, whether you end up loving it or hating it, you should give this a ganter because….Damn! This is a fun ride!

*Kung Fury can be viewed either on Netflix Canada or at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg

If you liked this list and my other content, please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

Smile HD: A Review.

Short: Smile HD.
Created by: MisterDavey.
Released: 2013.
Running time: 3.58 min.

*Warning please Watch the short before reading review.

This is my second review of a My Little Pony Friendship is Magic fan made material, my first being Lullabye for a Princess. A friend of mine asked me why I would review fan made material and my response was that there is worthwhile content out there that can show the bigger production companies and independents alike something. I also have an amazed appreciation for the time, creativity, effort and unique viewpoints that some of these content creators put into their work, and thus that makes them worthy of the same equal appreciation and criticisms as the cannon they were inspired from.

Smile HD by MisterDavey is one of such fan made animated shorts that has sprung from the Brony community that uses a song number composed by Foozie that plays happily during some…rather interesting confrontations between Pinky Pie (the fourth walling party planning element of laughter from the MLP-cannon).

From the technical end of things, this is a very well-constructed animation. Some good use of animated angle shots, colours that match the palate from cannon, and a great musical number that juxtaposes with its happy upbeat tempo which enhances the shock value, and does it brilliantly mind you, with the visuals.

The character designs were faithful to the source material (even if the darker theme wasn’t) and utilized the style in concert with the music to enhance that “what the f***!!” reaction you get and hold as you watch this short, with some gruesome realism touched upon here and there for the sake of gross out effect.

Overall, what was first introduced to the community through the earlier fan made Cupcakes with its introduction of twistedly cheerful (and some would say sick) horror, Smile HD took it to the, admittedly mostly gratuitous, next level.

If you’re not a traditionalist MLP cannon watcher or a sensitive viewer, then this is something worth seeing.

If you like my reviews and other content please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

There’s a Man in the Woods: A Review.

Short: There’s a Man in the Woods.
Created by: Jacob Streilein.
Released: 2014.
Running Time: 3.35 min.

This rather interesting animated short utilized a narrative about how rumors can quickly spiral out of control and the consequences that happen. It is told through the point of view of a teacher (who remains nameless throughout), whose entire reputation and life is destroyed by the acts of one child fabricating a story about a man in the woods, and his mother who refuses to believe that her precious darling is behind an untrue story.

The animation style was a lovely mixture of bright colours and simple designs with a unique character style that suited the characters to a tee, seeming fun one minute, and somewhat creepy in another. The construction of the animation as a whole does well in conveying the emotion within the piece.

The plot progress is amazing on this, a good use of the short amount of time allotted to it to build the story, using an easy to frenetic pace, with an almost manic pulse in transitions that culminates into a dark but satisfying ending.

Michael Ho does a could job with his vocal infliction, adding just the right emphasis and tempo at just the right times to carry the story forward, eliciting a sense of empathy, tension and satisfaction with that last uttered line that was first made at the beginning of the short with a more harmless bent. Michael Oh has a very promising career in voice over work if he so chooses.

The only nitpick that I would give the short is that while he does an excellent job, the voice of the main character doesn’t completely jive with the age of The Teacher, sounding a little too young for what was depicted. This weakness is ultimately is overwhelmed by the obvious talent that has gone into this animation and the themes being exercised.

This is an animated short that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys poetry, animation, and important themes couched in good stories.

If you like my reviews and other content please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

 

The Great Escape (animated short): A Review.

Short: The Great Escape.
Writer and Director: Damian Nenow.
Released: 2006/2012.
Running time: 6.28 min.

This is a Polish computer animated short produced by Plantige Image about a partly sunny weather symbol who wishes to escape the television into the outside world.

This is a very well-constructed animation that utilizes the technical insides of a television into both the prison city-like setting and the hostile inhabitants/guards. There is a good use of slow motion, angle, and shape, as well as a mature understanding of light and shadow.

The character designs themselves are relatively simple in nature on part of partly cloudy, but given what he is, they use just the right amount of light and 3D to flesh him out with out losing the inherent simple nature of his design. The character design of the guards was creative, and merged well as them being part of the environment.

The story has been done before of course, but utilizing it through a weatherman’s symbol as the protagonist was unique, and the plot progressed at a decent pace throughout the short with a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, a great animated short that utilizes its mise-en-scene and characters from the ordinary everyday life living room television with some good animation and enjoyable conclusion and well worth the ganter.

If you liked this list and my other content, please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

 

Screen Squinty’s “Feed” Review.

Short: Feed.
Directed by: Prapas Cholsaranon.
Released: 2014.
Running Time: 4.22 min.

This is an Thai animated short from Workpoint Pictures and Ittirit House that won “Best Animation” from Short Sweet Film Fest 2014 and has since been nominated at other festivals all over. It is about an old woman spending the day feeding an unusual looking pet with strange side-effects.

The animation style is interesting. There is a simpler construction to the character of the old woman and her pet, yet the use of light and shadow, the details of age, like the shaking of the old woman’s fingers, the almost warm pastel hues of the colour, the hints of texture (in the food, and the skin of the woman for example) combined with the character style is rather appealing visually.

The music was a great choice, and brilliantly utilized! This lovely almost melancholic piano piece by Chakapat Lamnoon plays throughout the short and combined with the setting gives it this almost tragic air to it, despite the fact that it is in no way tragic at all, building to this melodic climax in concert with the narrative, then gives you this sudden silence for a moment to realize what just happened before playing again.

The story itself is an excellent example of Incongruity theory. It utilizes all its elements, music, and setting, tone, and very much using these tools to play with the notion of expectation which appears to be the overall driving force of the animation.

This is an excellent animated short that utilized all its cinematic elements to provide the viewer with something unexpectedly unique and Highly recommended for both children and adults alike.

If you liked this list and my other content, please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty

 

The Saga of Biorn: A Review.

Short: The Saga of Biorn.
Created by: Benjamin J. Kousholt, Daniel D. Christensen, Mads Lundgaard Christensen, Jesper A. Jensen, Jonas K. Doctor, Steffen Lyhne, Pernille Ørum-Nielsen, Frederik Bjerre-Poulsen, Jonas Georgakakis.
Released: 2011.
Running Time: 7.05 min.

This is a Bachelor project short animation from The Animation Workshop about an old Viking trying to find that final battle that will ensure his place in Valhalla equivalent, but finding that it’s a lot harder then he thought.

This short has a style that is fun, colourful, and a bit quirky. There is a professional quality in the smoothness and speed of the movements, and a good use of non-dialogue action with sound. The presentations of the characters and use of the setting for the various follies, was well presented with god attention to what could be naturally utilized in each scene.

The story is where this short really hits it out of the park; a great utilization of comedy that didn’t get old and elicited giggles here and there, particularly with a play on viewer expectation at one point, the ending being rather chuckle worthy. The utilization of the Norse and Christianity themes was well utilized, and the theme that one man’s notion of paradise isn’t necessarily the same as another was well portrayed.

Overall, this is an excellent little animation with great animation, spectacular narrator (wow what a voice!) excellent plot progression, and good utilization of humour that could be watched more than once

If you like my reviews and other content please consider following me on my Patreon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screensquinty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/screensquinty