By Kyra Smith-Cullen in Arts & Entertainment
March 8, 2012
When the name ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ was announced as a nominee for the Academy Award’s Best Animated Short Film, I’ll admit, I was rooting for it without ever seeing it – I’m biased, if the words ‘Fantastic’ and ‘Book’ appear in the same sentence, I’m thrilled. And in this case, I was right to be.
‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ was written by William Joyce, who also directed it with the aid of Brandon Oldenburg, and is about a man who is thrown into a new world by a tornado – which seems to be inspired by Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz, if the flying bicyclist and the house that is swept into the cyclone is anything to go by. But once the character finds himself in this grey, dreary world, he finds solace in some unique books, which bring color back into his life and the lives of those who he gives the books to.
The books themselves are characters in this story, as the director chose to employ flip book style animation so that the books express emotions. The books have their own theme which, when an individual book is ‘speaking’, changes instrument or speed to give that book a personality. And it’s nothing complex, just a tune composed by a handful of notes.
Even though no words are spoken, the plot is beautifully done. It’s about how books provide happiness and comfort in troubling times and how, even when we die, the books will always be around to tell the stories.
All in all, this short piece was beautifully done, with stunning animation and the ability to convey just the right amount of emotions. If you get the chance, I recommend you take 20 minutes out of your day to watch it, because I doubt you’ll regret it.