Growing up I remember my parents telling me what seeing a movie in the theater was like when they were kids, just as I imagine someday I will tell my children about my own youthful movie-going experiences. Certain aspects of these anecdotes will inevitably be the same through all the generations — like how much cheaper movies used to be “back in the day.” But for my hypothetical children’s sake, I hope one particular of my parents’ stories skips a generation: the pre-show entertainment. While I have never bemoaned the loss of the news-reel, when I was a kid it pissed me off that cartoons were no longer played before movies. It blew my mind when I learned that the hundreds of Disney shorts and Looney Tunes I hungrily watched on television had originally been created to pop up before feature films.”What the fuck?” I thought.
It has thus made me happy that the pre-show animated short has been making a steady comeback in the past decade. Pixar certainly paved the way, and now other companies have been slowly following suit. Disney has been getting into the act, as has Warner Bros. I hope the trend continues and expands. I hope to someday be regaling my children with horror stories of inane Coca Cola sponsored trivia, and of commercials for the Army and awful looking TV shows blaring so loudly that you can’t carry on a comfortable conversation with friends or family. “You didn’t get cartoons, daddy?” “No we did not, son or daughter. No we did not.” “What the fuck?” “Watch your mouth.”
Disney’s latest offering will be playing before the new Winnie the Pooh, and will be rendered in deliciously 2D hand-drawn animation. Mmm…hand-drawn animation. *rubs nipples* The short is The Ballad of Nessie, which tells the tale of Nessie, the friendly female Loch Ness monster, and how she and her best friend MacQuack, a rubber duck, came to live in the famous Scottish lake. Setting their adventure in motion is MacFroogle, a greedy land developer who wants to build a mini-golf empire on top of Nessie’s home. The film comes from the Emmy Award winning team of Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters, who made the TV special Prep & Landing and the 2007 Goofy animated short How to Hook Up Your Home Theater. ComingSoon has a set of six stills and concept art. Here’s a taste. (I love that the mountains are plaid)