Ben's Video Blog: Disney's Wonderful Animated Short 'Paperman'
by Ben Pearson
July 31, 2012
There's something undeniably special about hand-drawn animation, and Disney's newest short Paperman takes that concept in an exciting new direction. Director John Kahrs makes his directorial debut with an innovative form of animation that begins with CG models and employs a hand-drawn style over the top of them, eventually combining the two into a look that's both fresh and somehow instantly familiar. It's about a New York man who has a chance encounter with the girl of his dreams, and the lengths he goes to see her again. We were shown this short film as part of an early Disney press event for Wreck-It Ralph (which we'll cover more of tomorrow) which this will be playing in front of in November. Our first thoughts below.
Following the event, Germain Lussier from SlashFilm and I recorded a short video blog on Paperman:
We sort of dance around the premise of the short in the video, but for those of you who wish to know a bit more about it, the story follows a man and woman who meet on a train platform, feel a brief connection, and are quickly separated. The man thinks he's lost the woman forever, but while he's working in his New York skyscraper, he notices her in the building across the street. He crafts paper airplanes and tosses them at her in an effort to get her attention… and you'll have to see the short to find out the rest of what happens. The B&W, silent style gives the film a timeless quality, while the visuals also simultaneously evoke elements of both anime and film noir. It's a gorgeous movie, and we didn't really talk enough in the video about just how beautifully rendered the world is. And enough truly can't be said about the elegant and classic score, which was composed by The Muppets' Christophe Beck. Disney has an instant classic on their hands with this.
Paperman's director John Kahrs worked at Pixar for 10 years as an animator on everything from A Bug's Life to Ratatouille, and now he's a supervising animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. There's a good chance this short could get some Oscar love, as the one playing in front of Brave, titled La Luna, already ran last year (and lost to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore). Awards or not though, this is a breathtakingly beautiful short and that will hopefully be looked back on as a benchmark for this exciting new blend of CG graphics and hand-drawn animation in the years to come. Check out Paperman in a theaters when it plays in front of Wreck-It Ralph later this year, out in wide release on November 2nd in 3D.