Animated short sci-fi Blush is small, cute and full of heart. And it’s a glove that’s been knocked down to let the competition know that Apple TV + is getting serious about winning awards.
The long-running story debuted on Apple’s streaming service on Friday and definitely turned into Pixar territory for better or worse.
In the ten-minute film, a young gardener in a space crash lands on a tiny uninhabited planet with one mission: To encourage plant growth. If plants can survive on this desolate rock, it means oxygen, which means people can bloom.
After his first miserable day, an alien appeared and did something miraculous: She makes his dying little plant grow with its very essence. Soon their little planet is a little paradise and the two of them have created a small family. Of course, nothing good can last.
My family traveled when I was a child
Pixar, a revolutionary animation studio that was once owned by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was founded in the mid-1980s to create a simple short film called The Adventures of André and Wally B. When Pixar conquered the visual medium and liberated it Toy Story, in some cities The Adventures of André and Wally B. played in front of the film like a primer and something modest bragging: “Look how far we’ve come!”
This proved to be a popular enough move for the prime minister Toy Story 2, the studio showed that show with Luxury Jr. That short film exhibited an aesthetic model that establishes the pace that most of the following Pixar characteristics followed — a cozy, comfortable, kitschy look at everyday things. You will find it in an undecorated house in Toy Story, the life of official drones Monsters, Inc. i Inside Out, and abandoned houses Soul i Up.
Pixar Short was fun for some and scary for others. Take, for example, constantly sentimental likes Lava, a famous short short film that has already been played Moana. The bizarreness of his shapeless volcanic hero who falls in love with a voluptuous and overly detailed female mountain impressed some like the Pixar brand’s onslaught. Leave the Pixar filmmakers to their liking, to be cute, and some terrible things can happen.
Pixar is a part Blush ‘with DNA
Blush is not an official Pixar creation. However, it was produced by Pixar host John Lasseter, who directed it Toy Story all those years ago and who was recently invited to lead a culture of sexual harassment in a dream-creating studio. Lasseter was reportedly so bad at pushing boundaries that the only job some officials took was not to like his hands.
Lasseter left Pixar in 2017, to reappear in 2019 as head of Skydance Animation. He gave a public speech on how time spent outside the industry allowed him to reflect on his bad behavior and that it made him a better leader.
In any case, the optics of hiring Lasseter two years after he left the industry he shamefully founded was questionable at best. And that might explain why Blush, along with a sci-fi epic Foundation, has become one of the longest-running projects in the company. Pictures appeared quite some time ago, and yet Blush the print screening fell out of nowhere about eight hours before the film debuted on Apple TV +. The company did not announce an audit embargo either. Everything smells like “Oh this? Yeah, I guess this came out. “
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Too bad because Blush, though sentimental in the way Pixar can sometimes be the worst, it is clearly the heartfelt love of a man trying to express his real sadness. Director Joe Mate’s wife Mary Ann, the mother of their two children, has died of breast cancer in 2017.
Blush it is quite obviously the work of a man who tries to turn his grief into something useful and productive for other grieving families. The film is cute at first, with the reluctant courtship of a space man and a space alien. And then, like Up before that it becomes unspeakably sad in the blink of an eye.
The question is whether children’s animation is a particularly real medium for discussing things like death when such films have texturally become synonymous with bright and lovely things for children. I don’t think anyone should take a risk in shape. That would be ridiculous (especially given the deep, deep bench of disturbing animation with huge fan bases).
However, after experiencing the blow “Wow, that’s nice” to “Oh, did he have sex with an alien? Yes … he had sex with that alien “on” Oh god, this is so sad “, I just wonder if enough is being done to highlight the tonal changes now that things like this is thus an established form.
‘Serious’ animation solves serious problems
Thanks to Pixar, it’s kind of expected that “serious” computer animation will swing the fences introducing its young audience to the horrors of adulthood. I was watching yours It lands ahead of time i Brave little toasters when I was a kid, and I don’t know they did much more than scare my youth. I don’t feel like I was much more prepared for death and aging after seeing them. But perhaps child psychologists have finally proven that the more beautiful a film is, the easier it is to sell children on the idea that dying is a natural part of the life cycle.
And Blush is an incredibly sweet animation work. Mateo (who has been in Disney animation since the 90s; his last work was as a story artist Ray and the last dragon) and its animators did a great job in building their own Little Prince –inspired the planet and designed cute alien girls. I think it’s pretty funny that they gave their astro-man a little mustache at puberty to prove he’s no longer a kid. Otherwise, his sudden merger with the adorable space alien would be even stranger than it is.
As Skydance’s first animation project, Blush is a qualified success at best, although I think it’s likely a lock-up to be nominated for Best Animated Short at the Oscars. This is exactly something that delights Academy voters, but I’m not sure what kind of life they will have other than that.
Watch Blush on Apple TV +
Blush premiered on Apple TV + on October 1st.
Look at: Apple TV +
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of a long series of video essays The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He wrote for The Village Voice, Movie Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books i Nylon Magazine. He is the director of 25 feature films and the author of more than 300 video essays that can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.
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