Revolting Rhymes (Part 1) (2017) SHORT FILM REVIEW
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 4th March. 2018
Howdy Folks! So, today I released a video on the Oscar Nominated animated short LOU from Pixar (click here to watch this video), now it’s time for me to talk about ANOTHER nomination in the category of “Best Animated Short”, which is Part 1 of the animated adaption of Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes”.
This film intertwines Dahl’s takes on three classic fairy tales of Snow White, Three Little Pigs, and Red Riding Hood. I wasn’t too sure how it’d blend these stories together neatly, but you know what? They really pulled it off! I was truly impressed by how well they linked together.
With Red and Snow being childhood friends, their arcs are given rich emotional history, because not only could Red support Snow during her mother’s death, but Red was also there when the Huntsman took Snow away to be killed, though Red couldn’t find the guts to shoot him, and she’s lived in guilt ever since.
While the three little pigs’ houses are being funded by Red’s savings, which the brick pig stole from her, making Red wage a personal vendetta against the greedy swine. It’s connections like these that really help to link the fairy tales smoothly, without ever feeling contrived.
The Short also has a superb balance of black comedy & dark drama. Characters can be comically cartoony, but there’s still something sinister behind these kooky subversions of fairy tales. Red actually becomes a very somber figure, intimidatingly draped in the fur of the wolf who ate her grandma, gaining fame for her wolf killing skills, and feeling haunted by the loss of her loved ones.
While Snow manages to overcome her stepmother’s attempted murder, moves in with 7 small people, proving that she has the strength to live a normal self supporting life. The Small people are also depicted as normal everyday blokes with human flaws, rather than babies for Snow to pamper, which I really admired, because it’s about time these characters had some dignity.
Seeing these two reunite is wonderfully moving, as you can tell that they’ve missed each other, and Red can finally have closure after all these years of self shaming. These two really are the heart of this short film, and add some endearing depth to it through their sincere friendship.
The Short takes Dahl’s material in a more emotional direction, adding interesting layers to these fantasy characters, but remaining super faithful to the author’s bleak sense of humor. The Film is sort of trying to do it’s own unique thing, but you can still tell that the creators are paying loving homage to an iconic British writer, and not once straying too far from the spirit of his poems.
Also, the Tale is actually being narrated by the big bad wolf himself, who is telling the story to a sweet old lady, and he explains that his nephews were victims of Red’s revenge spree. So, in a way, we can sort of sympathise with the big bad wolf from this angle, even though Red was killing out of defence of herself or others, because we can see that he was lovingly protective of his nephews.
There’s a constant sense of tension during his narration too, this blend of trying to charm the old lady, but also feeling annoyed at her sympathies towards Red in the story. So, once we learn who this old lady is, things take a really creepy turn, a twist is revealed, and the Big Bad Wolf shows his real intentions that night. It’s a great conclusion to the short, one that wraps things up in the circle of vengeance, but also leaves us feeling a little disturbed by Wolfie’s secret plan all along.
To Conclude, I really enjoyed this short film! It’s amusingly quirky, but also quite dark for a children’s animation, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Roald Dahl adaptation. It’s splicing of three stories actually works surprisingly well too, and even brings some affectionate drama to what’s supposed to be a twisted retelling of classic fairy tales. This is totally what “Hoodwinked” could have been like if it had stronger characters, funnier humor, and visually appealing animation. I totally get why this film was nominated for an Oscar, believe that it deserves the nod, and wish it good luck for tonight.