A Year in Shorts Day 204: "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty"
Alternate takes on fairy tales are certainly nothing new. Hell, I’m currently working on one myself. And they’ve definitely had a long history in the world of animation. Honestly, probably as long as there’s been animated films, there have been animated fairy tale remixes. Even the iconic Disney films are just new takes on old films. So today’s short, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, is part of a proud tradition, really.
Released in 2008, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty is an Irish short directed by Nicky Phelan and written by Kathleen O'Rourke, based on a sketch character created by O'Rourke. The character in question, the titular Granny O'Grimm, is a seemingly sweet old lady who likes to read bedtime stories to her grandchild, but can't quite break the habit of adding her own dark sense of humor and feelings of resentment into the tale. This, as you can imagine, has a habit of traumatizing her innocent grandchild.
As far as premises go, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty is a pretty great one. Unfortunately, the short doesn't really come together for me. And even more unfortunately, all my issues with the short are mostly subjective ones. On the plus side, that means you might enjoy it more than I did. Ultimately it just boils down to the fact that I don't find the short very funny. It's certainly clever, and there's a few jokes that make me smile, but a lot of the jokes just don't land for me. It's never annoying, and O'Rourke's performance is certainly committed, but for me it never rises above the level of amusing.
I also don't particularly care for the animation either. The decision to switch between CGI and flash animation is a good one, but I just find it aesthetically unpleasant. I don't want to be too harsh in that department, however; the budget was clearly small, so any technical issues I have with the film wouldn't be fair to harp on. And as far as flash animation goes, those segments actually look pretty nice and energetic. I'm not one of those people who is automatically prejudiced against flash animation, but I do admit that it can be pretty stiff at times, which certainly isn't the case here. Unfortunately I just find the character designs pretty unpleasant, which, again, is all subjective.
At the end of the day, however, all film criticism is subjective; what works for one person (or heck, even most people) might not work for you, or vice-versa. And while I might not personally enjoy this film, I can certainly see why it might appeal to someone else. So if Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty looks like something you might like, I recommend giving it a shot. Even if it doesn't work for me, it certainly might work for you!
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