Directed by Boris Kossmehl, Peter Lord & Nick Park
Written by Andrea Friedrich, Boris Kossmehl, Peter Lord & Nick Park
Starring Julie Sedgewick, Nick Upton, Andrea Friedrich, Alain Debray, Geraldine McEwan
- "Creature Comforts," written and directed by Park, 1990 Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film
- "Adam," written and directed by Lord, 1992 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short Film
- "Wat's Pig," written and directed by Lord, 1996 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short Film
- "Not Without My Handbag," written by Friedrich & Kossmehl, directed by Kossmehl
Anamorphic: Yes, only for "Comforts"
My Advice: Own It.
Aardman Animation. You might know them for the adventures of Wallace & Gromit, who have starred in three short animated flicks that they've produced--all classics. You probably know them better for Chicken Run, which managed to not only be funny as all hell, but one of the most critically loved films of 1999. They always produce quality stuff--and this collection is no exception. First, you have snippets taken from interviews with people where they talk about life in zoos, cities and whatnot--but they're put in the mouths of claymated animals in a zoo. Second, the creation of man--although a little differently than what you might remember from the "Good Book." Third, the story of two twins separated by fate and brought back together by pork. Sort of. Lastly, a twisted Burtonesque tale of a woman who won't go into the afterlife without her favorite accessory.
Each of the shorts has its own merits, although the titular one is the only one that would make this disc worth owning all by itself. The short bits with animals being interviewed about their surroundings is funny enough, but when you realize they were unscripted interviews, that boosts it up a notch. Watch for the two birds playing with each other's beaks in the background for a real hoot. What's strange is that I could swear I've seen a different version of this short at a film festival. It involves one of the small polar bears and a bad joke about a fish that he tries to drive home by pulling a fish into the frame. I don't think I hallucinated that. Regardless, this one's a classic.
"Adam" is a skewed and strange version of the creation, starring Nick Upton as the hand of God. Now wouldn't THAT look cool on a resume. Anyway, our singular forefather is set upon a very strange path by the Almighty, that's for certain. And it's hilarious all the way through.
"Wat's Pig" is the least laugh-out-loud-funny short amongst the four. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The story of the two brothers and mistaken identity has been done in everything from The Prince and the Pauper to History of the World - Part I, but I don't thing they've ever involved a smiling pig. Amusing and charming, it's a keeper.
Finally, "Handbag" is so inexplicably strange and twisted, it almost beggars description. From its French-accented Satan to its sick sick dialogue "My aunt is a zombie from Hell!" to its Python-referencing resolution, despite the fact it feels nothing like anything else on the disc, it's still very enjoyable. And did I mention sick?
Sure, it would have been nice to have had some extras on the disc. A serious making-of any of the films would have been good, and I'm sure there would be some great commentary for any of that. But it's classic stuff, and any fan of animation would be well-advised to make this a part of their collection.
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