In honor of the 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival and the Golden Badger Awards given out to films each year, LakeFrontRow.com’s “Your Weekly Short” is getting a facelift. Plan on revisiting one Golden Badger-winning short every week through the end of the festival.
For featuring a fully-realized stop motion LEGO city complete with toddler Godzilla, Eric J. Nelson’s “Siszilla” feels askew in stranger ways. The city’s denizens seem particularly crummy at their jobs. Construction crews unload debris onto coworkers, motorcyclists ride rampant, and the train isn’t too fond of stopping. When Siszilla (Ruthie Nelson) awakes from her slumber however, the local miscreants manage to get their act together enough to sedate the “beast” again.
“Siszilla” is a fun effort from Nelson, but boy, does it look like it was tough to animate. From the cotton balls of the rocket ship exhaust to simple spin of a helicopter’s propellers, Nelson’s LEGO animation is seamless, and he uses his costumed rampaging monster as a bridge between realities. With the recent release (and success) of The LEGO Movie, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s integration of “real world” elements, and while “Siszilla” doesn’t take as much joy imbuing everyday items like Krazy Glue and band-aids with otherworldly power, the vat of milk and a blanket “net” operate in the same wheelhouse.
Nelson’s latest short, “Inside & Out,” is set to play in this year’s “Wisconsin Own” shorts, and although it’s a mockumentary (and presumably missing LEGO figures), there’s a good chance Nelson will bring the same energy and exuberance to it.