I've been a fan of Jessica Borutski ever since I saw her animated short 'I Like Pandas' at the Ottawa International Animation Festival a couple years back. Well, it's taken her four years to finish her next animated short, but here's 'The Good Little Bunny with the Big Bad Teeth'. Oh, and if you haven't watched her first short, definitely watch 'I Like Pandas' first.
Jessica's work displays a solid understanding of the animated medium and specifically character design. I just love the overly saccharine, cutesy, Disney-esque quality of her characters. It makes their absurd behavior all the more satirical. And you can see that her time working for John Kricfalusi's Spumco was very well spent when you analyze the backgrounds and motion of her characters. This film is an excellent example of what a talented director/animator can do with Adobe Flash. Throughout the film, with very few exceptions, the characters move as if they have weight and mass--and they appear as if they're a part of the scene instead of 'floating' above the backgrounds, a problem I see in a lot of animation (including some of my own!). There is also a lot of good posing--I didn't experience any situation where the characters' stances obscured the motives or emotions of the characters. Personally, though, I thought the best part this film (and the strongest) was the nightmare sequence which had a very nice "Dumbo 'elephants on parade'" sensibility to it.
The story has a kind of a darkly cynical quality to it-–much like what was in "I Like Pandas" (yes, I loved the panda cameo). Having watched this animation over twenty-five times since Jessica posted it on Christmas Day, I have to say that with each viewing, the film makes more and more sense. The day after she released the film, she stated this on her blog:
"Experience what it's like to be a bunny with nasty teeth in a world full of superficial woodland creatures. It playfully mocks our societies obsession with being perfect. This is also a tribute to classic musical shorts done by Disney studios in the 1930's."
The soundtrack was interesting. Jessica turned me on to Lights back when she had only released an EP of her work. So it's no surprise that the soundtrack has a similar light and fluffy feel to Lights’ first album. The first time I watched this film, I thought that the soundtrack got a touch repetitive towards the end before picking right back up during the credits. But the more I watched the film, the more I was able to pick out how a lot of the character animation was timed to the music.
The other interesting thing is how Jessica is branding her characters. If you take a look at her newly launched website "Foolish-Kingdom" you can watch both her films as well as print little cut-out models of her characters and purchase merchandise. I'll write later about the quality of said merchandise when my t-shirt arrives in the mail from Canada--but having previously constructed two panda cut-out models, I think she's on the right track. Hopefully, this will be a successful venture for her and we'll see more of Jessica's work real soon.