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BOUNDIN' (2004) (***1/2)

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Writer/director Bud Luckey, who is best known at Pixar for designing TOY STORY's Woody, makes a singularly original short in the canon of the studio. The tone skews unapologetically young and old fashioned. The tale is told in song and springs forward with a moral unlike any other film from Pixar.

A young sheep dances proudly with his impressive coat of wool. However, when he is sheered and left in the rain, everyone around can't help to laugh at the pathetic sight. Then along comes the mythical creature, the jackalope, who teaches the young lamb that life will have its ups and its downs and all you have to do is bound and rebound.

The design work on this Oscar nominated short is bright to the point of adding energy to the story. It also features some amazingly subtle animation that wonderfully captures the emotions of the poor little lamb. The animators wonderfully balance the lamb's bravado at the start and his sheepishness (couldn't help myself) once his white coat is gone. The message of taking life's problems in stride is full of optimism, which in our cynical age is quite striking. Luckey was inspired to make the film from the image of a newly shorn lamp, which was an image ingrained in his mind since his childhood on the Great Plains. The film is sentimental, but in a good way.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks