May 05, 2008

Raccoon & Crawfish at the FAITA awards

Another treat at the 16th annual First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) ceremony was seeing Raccoon & Crawfish, the short Oneida film I've mentioned before. My conclusion: It was good but not great. Here's why:

  • The story was pretty mundane. Raccoon hunts Crawfish in shallow water. Crawfish hurts Raccoon with his claws. Raccoon goes behind a rock, comes out, and appears to die. Crawfish acts like a hero to his crawfish people. Predictably, Raccoon isn't dead after all.

  • The humor wasn't all that great. After some initial "Tom and Jerry"-style antics, it kind of fizzled out. If you compare it to other waterlogged cartoons such as The Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo, you can see many opportunities for jokes.

  • The message was a tad obvious: Don't count your dead raccoons before they're buried...pride goeth before the fall...let sleeping raccoons lie. In other words, be humble and honest, not bold and boastful. Since you can get this message from almost any Bugs Bunny or Roadrunner cartoon, I was hoping for something deeper.

  • The CGI animation may have been the best thing about the film. It obviously took a tremendous amount of work. But it's still not up to the Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks level. As you can see below, the figures look expressive but artificial. And other than the figures, only the water moved.

  • All in all, I wouldn't give Raccoon & Crawfish any awards, as others have. But it was a decent first effort. I expect the Oneidas' Four Directions studio will go on to bigger and better things.

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