This a NON-SPOILER article.
I watched Season One of this series and was underwhelmed. I felt the emphasis for the majority of the Shorts was not placed enough on the story, creating confusing or directionless efforts. The overall impact of the writer’s/director’s vision was unclear or lost altogether.
Your experience might have varied, but I wasn’t looking forward to Season Two. Then it came out… and I’m impressed!
So below, you’ll find a synopsis for each of the five Shorts released with my take on their success. I’ve claimed a spoiler-free review, but obviously some details may slip in, so you are warned! But I don’t think what I present here will ruin a first look at the Shorts.
SEASON TWO EPISODES
CROSSWALK by Ryan Green
“A law-abiding citizen must find his inner strength to cross the street at a light that won’t change.”
This was a very simple concept with a great gag line carried throughout the Short, which just keeps getting better and better as the story moves along! If you’ve ever been stuck at a crosswalk on an empty street, you’ll relate to the dilemma of the protagonist. And be sure to stick around for the surprise ending! RATING: 5 out of 5
GOING HOME by Jacob Frey
“With every visit to his hometown, a young adult starts to face the inevitable: change.”
Tied for my favorite of the bunch (with Crosswalk) this was a touching Short about how life passes by. It’s as close to the greatness that was Pixar as we’re likely to come given the present state of animated films. Why do I say that? Because it will let you bounce along until it hits you in the feels… hard! But you’ll love it. And in true Pixar fashion, there is no dialogue and yet the message is clearly transmitted. RATING: 5 out of 5
No. 2 TO KETTERING by Liza Rhea
“On a dreary morning, a girl learns how the power of laughter can lift her sullen fellow bus riders.”
This Short takes us to England for a ride on an old red Double-decker bus around Kettering (a market and industrial town in North Northamptonshire, England. It is located 83 miles or 134 km north of London). I’ll just say that this Short didn’t match my experiences of riding said transportation, and so it fell a little flat for me. I also don’t think the director fully realized her point. She could have focused more on her protagonist for the ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ presented. But it does have a feel-good ending! RATING: 3 out of 5
DINOSAUR BARBARIAN by Kim Hazel
“Battling evil is all in a day’s work for Dinosaur Barbarian, but what about taking out the trash?“
Do you love the old Saturday morning cartoons of the 1980s? Of course you do! This 2D-style animated romp starts off as an homage but quickly shifts into a modern interpretation of a hero from that era of programming. The director had a theme song created that provides all of the narration for the Short, and she dares you to get it out of your head afterwards! RATING: 4 out of 5
SONGS TO SING IN THE DARK by Riannon Delanoy
“Two creatures living in the depths of a dark cave engage in a battle of acoustic one-upmanship.”
This one made me go: “Wait. What?!?” Definitely the most abstract of the bunch but nicely rendered with some awesome images. That said, you may be left wondering just what you were supposed to come away with. I think I got it… but a few other interpretations may be more appropriate. Is that a bad thing? No. Unless you like the resolution of your stories more obvious. RATING: 3 out of 5
This program is designed to give young or new artists a platform to explore story ideas and techniques they may otherwise not have the chance to play with. It’s a good idea, and just may give us some great creators for the future. Given only 4 minutes on average, it’s amazing how much the directors packed into each of these Shorts! I highly recommend that you watch all five of these Shorts. They are more than worth a look!