A Year in Shorts Day 156: "The Creation"

Religious films these days get a pretty bad rap, and for good reason- they’re just awful. Which is a damn shame, as films like The Prince of Egypt prove that faith-inspired movies can be truly great. But I guess there’s more money in just churning out crap and appealing directly to a built-in audience. Still, there’s always animated shorts like Will Vinton’s The Creation to show them how it’s done.

(via TV Tropes)

Will Vinton might not be a name recognizable to you, but you're probably familiar with his work. He received several nominations from the Academy over the years, mostly for his claymation shorts but also for his special effects work on Return to Oz. He's probably most famous nowadays for his work in advertising, overseeing the creation of the California Raisins and The Noid. Oh yeah, he also made that Mark Twain movie with the terrifying Devil scene.

Yikes! Thankfully not nominated for any Oscars, so we'll avoid THIS nightmare.

(via Animation World Network)

Unlike most of Vinton's work, The Creation is not stop motion. Instead it makes use of paint-on-glass, an underused and underappreciated form of animation. And while Vinson's use of the style is nowhere near as good as Aleksandr Petrov's, Vinson does have the Russian master beat in one area- he got James Earl Jones to do the narration. Was James Earl Jones in The Cow? I don't think so! Checkmate, Russians!

All in all, The Creation is a fairly straightforward short; the big draw for the film is the animation of course, and it's damn impressive. It may be a little messy and hard to follow at times (watching this makes one understand the logic behind Petrov's deliberate pacing), but as far as I'm concerned paint-on-glass more than merits a bit of extra credit. And James Earl Jones really sells the hell out of this thing; if there was an Oscar for vocal performances (which there absolutely should be, by the by), he'd have won it for sure. And it's really a good thing we have his beautiful voice to get us through this, because the less said about the lousy score, the better. Still, The Creation is a perfectly pleasant way to spend seven minutes, and by the standard of most religious films, that's close to miraculous.

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