Here are 20 animated shorts, in styles that range from the stick-figure drawings of DonHertzfeldt (“Billy’s Balloon” and the three pieces the introduce and conclude the collection), tocomputer animation (“The Cathedral”) to claymation (“The Adventures of Ricardo”) to paintings(“La Course à l’Abime”). Three are Oscar nominees (one of which, “Das Rad” [The Rocks”], isnothing short of brilliant). The tone is a sampling of everything, from the hilarious (“FiftyPercent Grey”) to…Adam Elliot’s three clay pieces — “Brother”, “Cousin” and “Uncle” — whichare wry and heartbreaking. In short, something for everyone, and a great way to see fineanimation that would otherwise be impossible to track down.
The audio is in 2.0, and both the volume level and range of surround (if any) depends on theindividual piece. Given that range, the sound seems to be to be faithful to the original work. Atany even, it is always crisp and clear. The surround effects, when called for, are well placed (as in“Mt. Head” where we hear chewing from the rear when in the POV of the eating man).
The aspect ratio depends, again, on each piece. Most are fullscreen, but some are widescreen.Given the variety, the widescreen shorts are inevitably not anamorphic. The picture quality isgenerally very good, with excellent colours are no grain (the exception being “The Cathedral”,which does seem a bit grainy and not as sharp as the others).
Quite a little package of goodies here. There is a brief text introduction to each feature if youchoose to select one short at a time, rather than watching the whole program. From thoseintroductory screens, one can also have access to the extras connected to each particular short.These extras, then, are as follows: storyboard and scene comparisons for “La Course à l’Abime”;a concept art gallery for “Mt. Head”; a behind-the-scenes gallery and production notes for “DasRad”; a deleted pencil test by Mike Judge; Don Hertzfeldt’s commentary on the optical effectsused in his framing trilogy; production art galleries for Hertzfeldt’s trilogy and “The Cathedral”;a 3 short making-of featurettes for “The Cathedral”; audio commentary by Bill Plympton on“Parking”, plus the theatrical trailer for his feature-length “Hair High”; the trailer for TomekBazinski’s new short “Fallen Art”; and commentary by Corky Quakenbush on his “Adventures ofRicardo” shorts. The commentaries, notwithstanding the wacky nature of the cartoons, areserious, informative pieces. The menu’s main screen is scored and (fittingly) animated. Thesecond level screen is scored.
A strong animation festival in a box. Here’s looking forward to Volume 2.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Production Galleries
- Deleted Pencil Test
- Storyboard/Scene Comparison
- Making-of Featurettes
- Concept Art Gallery
- Behind-the-Scenes Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers