Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: New Video
Features: See Review
Length: 96 Minutes
Release Date: March 28, 2006
Plympton is God. Or he sold his
soul. I’m not sure.
One or the other.” – Matt
if you don’t recognize the name, you’re bound to recognize the work.
Bill Plympton is the man who put colored pencils to paper and gave us
some of the most hysterically bizarre animated shorts of the last couple of
decades. His style is like Salvador
Dali crossed with Marcel Duchamp…absurd and surreal, yet wickedly imaginative
is a superb
collection of some the famous and not-so famous works by the Oscar nominated
animator. You’ll see shorts that
won awards and others that should have. You’ll
see humble beginnings and wacky conclusions.
You’ll witness ideas that never made it to full fruition, and others
that did. Best of all, you’ll
smile from ear to ear with both bemusement and amazement.
23 short films included on this disc are in chronological order so that you
can experience the evolution of an original artist from his humble college
beginnings to his MTV salad days. From
single line drawings and construction paper cut-outs, Bill Plympton eventually
emerged as a master of colored pencils on white paper; a signature style that
made his works easily recognizable and quickly famous.
“Your Face” is the first shining example of this; an Academy Award
nominated short that proves just how much you can do with a few pencil strokes
and a human head.
of Those Days” is my personal favorite…a unique bit of animation that puts
you right in the midst of one of the worst days anybody ever had.
It’s endlessly imaginative and comical…you may never look at buttered
toast the same way again. Other high points are “25 Ways to Quit Smoking”, “How
to Kiss”, and the music video for Peter Himmelman’s “245 Days”.
most famous pieces, arguably, are his MTV interstitials, which are included in
abundance on here, and his commercials for Trivial Pursuit and Sugar Delight.
These are balanced off against lesser known but equally intriguing works
such as “Boom Town” and the under-the-camera animation of “Drawing Lesson
is even a film called “Plymptoons”, a series of very short, often
strange, but always funny vignettes. The
very last one, “Car Alarm”, always floors me.
Plympton deserves praise for his artistic imagination, his unique vision and
style, but mostly, for his ability to create humor out of drawings.
Whether you’re a fan of animation or just comedy in general, Plymptoons
is a colorful, jaw-dropping laugh riot from start to finish.
The short films are extremely watchable, but many show their age and lack
of care over the years in the form of some dirt, scratches, and other scars.
“Boom Town” seems to have been taken from a video source, and there
are some horizontal lines noticeable on the backgrounds usually associated with
tape. As the works become newer,
the video quality improves. There’s
nothing wrong with the picture that I would attribute to the transfer; merely
the source material, and again I stress, for the fan, these are far from
unwatchable, just not as good as DVD fans have come to expect from animation on
the sound is serviceable but not meant to be spectacular.
Everything is clear, but dynamic range is minimal, and some of the older
film shorts sound as old as they are with a bit of background noise here and
there…but nothing I would consider distracting.
There are two exclusive documentaries on Bill Plympton included on this disc, along with a gallery of sketches and a bio for him.