The Oscar-nominated animated shorts program sports fewer unifying threads than [do the] live action shorts. But that's not to say they don't speak to each other. So let me take these in twos, and start by talking about Wall-E. That Pixar feature sported two thematic strains that some critics suggested were in opposition (I disagreed): a fierce environmentalism and a love of cultural ephemera. Those two ideas were embodied by two of our shorts—and, again, placed at odds.
The satiric Let's Pollute adopts a post-war educational film aesthetic, complete with sonorous and authoritative voice over narration, that finds its comedy in saying the opposite of what it believes: that polluting is our civic duty, and we should all be doing more of it. The short ridicules consumerism and maligns corporations (like last year's winner, Logorama), while the throwback style subtly suggests that blame lies at the feet of the profligate baby boomer. (In that way, it's not unlike Mad Men!) Lost Thing, on the other hand, has an affinity for technology that Let's Pollute doesn't share—an affection expressed in steampunk design.
Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine