Published Jun 07, 2012Animals, monsters, fireflies and whimsically peppy tunes do their best to entertain throughout this kid-friendly program. But beyond appealing to children, many of the shorts manage to engage an adult audience as well, crossing the bridge between milquetoast diversion and something more substantial. It's just unfortunate that only five of the six manage to get across to the positive side, while the other is left stranded in the land of perplexing badness.
Animal Beatbox has been floating around the Internet for the past year as a staple of viral entertainment and it's easy to see why. Stop-animation cut-outs of animals coupled with beatbox rapping make this an entirely infectious and memorable experience.
Conversely, Sid The Pike contains no dialogue or songs, instead focusing on a lazy pike that swims around a lake, occasionally eating smaller fish and taking in the sights of the lakebed. The ten-minute runtime begs the question: why would someone bother following around a fish with a camera?
While watching a gnarly fish attacking and eating other little critters may be a bit discouraging, the excerpt from the children's television show of the same name, Stella and Sam: "Nightfairies," puts things back on track. In teaching children (ironically) about the wonders of the outdoors, it promotes activity and learning while featuring a very cute little cartoon dog.
In Acorn Boy, a child affixes arms, legs and a face to an acorn and leaves it in the forest. Once the child is gone, the acorn comes alive and goes on an adventure, befriending the creatures he encounters along the way. The stop-motion in this animated short is top-notch, providing an imaginative look at life on the forest floor.
Also featuring life in the forest is Four, a beautifully animated short featuring a fairy that wakes up and flitters through the woods, literally bringing spring to the flora and fauna. Wonderful colours coupled with a lively score make this three-minute film a sight to behold.
Finishing off the program is The Gruffalo's Child, a follow-up to the 2011 Oscar-nominated animated short film The Gruffalo. A mother squirrel tells her children a story about a young Gruffalo that sets off on a quest through the woods to find the "big bad mouse."
Fun, magical and truly a work of cinema art, this short film will be instantly adored by both adults and children, mirroring the allegorical notion of life as a quest.