Just in time for Valentine’s Day — and the Oscars — a touching Disney animated short is available online.
“Paperman,” which was widely seen in theaters with screenings of Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” in November, has been released on YouTube. The six-minute short is set in the 1940s and follows a couple after their chance meeting on a train platform. When the man spots the woman in an office high-rise across from his own, he determines that the best way to get her attention is by sending paper airplanes across the street to her. As you can imagine, this appears to be a hopeless mission.
Directed by John Kahrs, “Paperman” is a black-and-white cartoon that seamlessly mixes hand-drawn and computer-generated animation. “Wired” explains how Kahrs developed this combination: “[He] told ‘Cartoon Brew’ that the origin of ‘Paperman’ ‘really came out of working so much with Glen [Keane] on ‘Tangled.’ After looking at the work of Keane – a classic Disney animator who worked on ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and The Beast’ and ‘Aladdin,’ among many other projects – Kahrs found himself with a new appreciation for traditional animation and drawing techniques. ‘I thought, Why do we have to leave these drawings behind? Why can’t we bring them back up to the front of the image again? Is there a way that CG can kinda carry along the hand drawn line in a way that we haven’t done before?’ “
In addition, the use of a single color, red, incorporated in one image is effective in conveying the romantic longing that is such a universal emotion.
In fact, the simplicity of this Walt Disney Animation Studios film is appealing to all ages. My elementary-school-age children were engaged with the story, as were many of the other kids in the theater waiting to see “Wreck-It Ralph” — and it is a wordless film. For those not interested in the romantic angle, the mystery of the paper airplanes and the tornado they create certainly is entertaining. When the cartoon reached its satisfying ending, our theater erupted in applause from the young and the young-at-heart.
How could you not smile after viewing this film?
Paperman is nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short Film. It is competing against “Fresh Guacamole,” “Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare,” “Head Over Heel” and “Adam and Dog.”
Three other Disney films have been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film: “Brave,” “Frankenweenie“ and “Wreck-It Ralph.” They are up against “ParaNorman” and “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.” And Disney’s new franchise — “Marvel’s The Avengers” – competes in the Best Visual Effects category against “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Life of Pi,” “Prometheus” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
The Oscars will be awarded on Feb. 24.
Walt Disney and Pixar Studios