A Year in Shorts Day 216: "The ChubbChubbs!"
The ChubbChubbs! Just… just The ChubbChubbs! What can you say about a short with a title like that? If I told you it won an Oscar, would you believe me? How could you? It’s called The ChubbChubbs! And yet… it did win an Oscar. And honestly? While it might not have deserved it, it’s still a pretty good short. And certainly a lot better than the title might lead you to believe. So let’s take a look at Eric Armstrong’s The ChubbChubbs!
Released in 2002 by Sony Pictures Imageworks, The ChubbChubbs! follows Meeper, an alien janitor who dreams of becoming a singer. After he's fired from his job, Meeper is warned by Definitely Not Jar Jar Binks that a race of alien invaders called The ChubbChubbs are coming. That old chestnut. As you can imagine, The ChubbChubbs! is a short with a very random sense of humor, which are typically pretty hit or miss. But in the case of The ChubbChubbs!, it's kind of neither? The short isn't particularly funny, but it's not aggressively unfunny either. It's mildly amusing, which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but is hardly a condemnation either. But don't take my word for it- check it out for yourself.
The big thing that sticks out regarding The ChubbChubbs! is the animation; namely that it's ugly as sin. Admittedly, that's partially due to the time in which it was released; the early 2000s were filled with bag computer animation. But even by those standards The ChubbChubbs! is pretty damn hideous. And certainly some of that is intentional, but that doesn't mean I necessarily have to like it. Speaking of intentional things I don't have to like- this short is kind of annoying! I'm sure Meeper is meant to be annoying, but sometimes you can succeed too well at making a character annoying, and the makers of The ChubbChubbs! certainly pulled it off. You put together bad computer animation, a hideous design and an obnoxious voice, Meeper might be the most unappealing character we've looked at yet. Besides Tweety Bird, of course.
And yet, in spite of everything, I find myself strangely, slightly, charmed by The ChubbChubbs! There's just something about its goofball energy and janky animation that makes me feel nostalgic, even if I certainly didn't grow up with it. It reminds me of a subpar episode of Jimmy Neutron. So, like the Jimmy Neutron movie, I guess. (Speaking of, did you know the Jimmy Neutron movie is an Oscar nominee! It's true! So is The Wild Thornberrys movie. And yet none of the SpongeBob movies have been nominated.) Is The ChubbChubbs! a good movie? No. Did it deserve the Oscar over films like Rocks, The Cathedral or even Mike's New Car? Oh hell no. But somehow I can't bring myself to hate or get mad at this short. Life's too short and too hard to get worked up over something like The ChubbChubbs!
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