Short Stories: Bunny

With Easter on the way and bunnies and rabbits on the brain, for this weeks short I would like to re-introduce a short film that is child appropriate and has depth at the same time.

Bunny, Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age DVD extra, Oscar winner 1998, death
Bunny, a computer animated short created by Blue Sky Studios (makers of Ice Age) happens to be very poetic for the studio’s first acknowledgement to the film industry that won them an Academy Award in 1998. The story of Bunny, is about and elderly rabbit trying to have a quiet evening in while making carrot cake. Her evening is interrupted by a noisy, clumsy moth who fancies the overhead kitchen light. In an almost Tex Avery like way, Bunny and the moth duke it out for a while until the moth reached a dark fate. The moth falls into the cake batter, Bunny churns it up and bakes it. Once all is quiet again, Bunny falls asleep in a chair and is startled awake when the oven opens and starts to emit a strange white light. When she sticks her head in the oven she is greeted by the moth who beckons her to come to the light where in the end we watch her spout wings and fly to the light.

Bunny, Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age DVD extra, Oscar winner 1998, death

Bothered by the clumsy moth flying around the overhead light

The textures of the animation are a bit course when it comes to the main character, but I think it was to give depth of a rabbit that like a life of hardship. The setting was very dark in giving a feeling of loneliness and to help the viewer focus on the character and what was happening. The music is subtle through out, and has a “blissful” feeling toward the end. But I did find the ending vocal song during the credits too jarring for the peaceful ending.

Bunny, Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age DVD extra, Oscar winner 1998, death, the dying experience

Most of the story takes place in a small, dark kitchen.

My over thinking self saw a fair amount of metaphors both good and bad. Bad first; as a short film about death as an egg timer to foreshadow something happening in the oven. I could help but see that the rabbit committed suicide by putting her head in the oven, justified by seeing the light at the end (hearing that elderly suicides are sometimes chosen over living alone) but chances are more likely that Bunny passed away in the chair when she starts to slump after putting the cake in the oven. Although I saw the moth as a symbolic metaphor for the rabbit’s late husband with is somewhat hinted at in the last few frames. Bunny’s anger is probably the most mysterious. I imagine the anger is connected to the death of her husband, or a feeling of betrayal for dying first. Whatever it may have stemmed from, when she releases that anger she was set free.

Bunny, Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age DVD extra, Oscar winner 1998, death, the dying experience

Light from the oven.

When this film first came out in 1998, I remember it made some waves for touching the topic of death. When researching the name of this film, I found another blog that suggested showing Bunny to your children/class/ elderly to address the question of the experience of death and the after-life. Despite the age of this film and the graphic being a bit dated, I would highly recommend it for a viewer of any age today. I have great respect for this film to cover such a difficult topic without showing a commonly depicted afterlife/ heaven.

Bunny, Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age DVD extra, Oscar winner 1998, death, the dying experience

Floating in a starry space in the oven.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, click here to watch on Dailymotion!

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Outside the Frame: #NyanCatCity

I thought I would try another catergory with animation related events (exhibits, parties, sights, etc) which happen in the Real world.

Outside The Hole Gallery in NYC

Outside The Hole Gallery, NYC

#NyanCatCity was an art event/pop-up shop in New York City that occurred for one weekend in December. I found out about this event when passing by the gallery space The Hole, three days before opening night. There was a painting hung on a wall near the entrance of the gallery that caught my eye; it was a large canvas with an image of Nicodemis’ hands from the animated film The Secret of NIMH . I originally thought the show would showcase long forgotten animated films that live on and gain popularity on the Internet. Although the #NyanCatCity was not an homage art show, it did prove to be a multimedia filled night.

Pop Up Shop with Creator Chris Torres! (Purple sweater on the left)

Pop Up Shop with Creator Chris Torres! (Purple sweater on the left)

Pop Up Shop

Full Pop Up Shop

So unless you are completely disassociated with what trends on the internet I am pretty sure Nyan Cat might be in some memory banks of hitting major popularity in early 2012. If you have never seen, heard or need to be refreshed on Nyan Cat just click this link. Though if idly watching doesn’t suit you, I was introduced to Nyan Cat by a Flash game called Nyanicorn which is based on another Flash game that was a sensation called Robot Unicorn Attack. So there is a quick intro to internet Flash animated games (additional Flash animations will be discussed in future posts)!

So from some talk at the event and some printing hand outs, #NyanCatCity was an event to celebrate Nyan Cat and what it has brought to the ever maluable internet. The creator was there as well as a few companies there to show their gratitude (the event was hosted by Vice media) and who with be conducting panels and Q&A’s in the days to follow. For this opening night they had some art(stagnant and interactive to my surprise), a DJ(a bad one), and a small bar. I head to bar first (not just for the alcohol) but the colorful presentation of it. It was a vodka bar where the visitor can pick one of any 6 colored drinks on the table. It was well presented for representing Nyan Cat and the vodka itself had a bit of a kick to it (I think debuting as the first vodka with  menthol which was refreshing at times and then terrible with some flavor combinations reminiscent of cough medicine). Besides the Nicodemis painting, the other art on canvas where dark but they seemed to play when certain colors of light shown on them.

Cocktails come in all colors

Cocktails come in all colors

 

The Secret of NIMH, The Hole Gallery, #NyanCatCity

Painting of Melting Nicodemos on Canvas. Artist unknown.

The interactive artists where set up toward the front of the gallery and with a projected game set up (nothing like the one I linked above) which had high quality visuals and seemed chaotic and downright difficult. The other trick they had up their sleeves was the main Sphero device that was used for the projected game also can me controlled on a mobile device to the ball can be remotely controlled while you would see Nyan Cat in 3D walking around in place of the lighted orb. For me personally the hype of Nyan Cat had left me long before finding out about this event, but seeing Nyan Cat simulated was pretty fun and exciting.

 

Sphereo, nyan cat game, #NyanCatCity

Sphereo interactive game

 

Sphereo, #NyanCatCity

Holding Nyan Cat thanks to interactive technology

 

After heading around town I returned to the After Party at Santos Party House with a much smaller crowd in attendance with some light dancing(the house DJ was great, but the gallery DJ came to take over afterword well you know…) and a small animated music video playing on a small screen. With that night’s overall events being pretty quiet, I was able to see a few fun things and I did not leave empty-handed.

 

Santos Party House, NYC, #NyanCatCity

After Party at Santos Party House, NYC.