With a current drought of new media to quench the thirst for something new, a bit of refreshment happens to fall into my lap. Thanks to Vimeo’s staff pick of 2013 the animated short by Denmark’s The Animation Workshop, The Reward presents great art in a small package.
Two strangers come together and set on a quest where the final reward is not the common treasure most would think but finding the value one sees in themselves.
I am starting to see a trend outside the Japanese animation circle(herald by the makers of Catsoup or the makers of Tekkoninkin or the animator of Dream Machine as part of the 2010 Genius party collection of short films) where simply outlined and colored characters are becoming a frequent style picked up but European short films(such as the mini episodes in French animation series Wakfu, the History of Nox and The Legend of Orgrest). It’s a minimal style but seems to animate action scenes well. The Reward in contrast has beautifully rendered backgrounds that as far from minimal, making a great backdrop for many places the viewer visits in about 9 minutes!
Of course, since this is a BFA piece, I do have a few critiques. The first minute or so in the village the animation was rough and proves to be an eyesore after multiple viewings. The background renderings, cinematography, scene transitions, character design, voices (or lack of) all spot on here. There is a bit of response coming from viewers on io9 blog that are saying there is sexism present though the film. Which is true, at least I feel. I would almost wish to defend this by saying “But we have a female villain that seems confidant enough”, but the whole hero complex does objectify women. It would have been nice if the women at the end of the video take the map for themselves. It is what it is and all I can do is give this piece a slap on the wrist, for it doesn’t go on for very long and in the end doesn’t take away from the viewer enjoying the story.
Watch The Reward on Vimeo now! And see what you think.
UPDATE: Thanks to some research, io9 has some news that the creators are hoping to continue with The Reward as an animated series! I myself may pledge to get my hands on some original sketches (or cells *crossing fingers*). Here is the io9 link for more info.