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Red's Dream (1987)

 -  Animation | Short | Family
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,582 users  
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With a sale tag hanging from his seat, propped up in the corner of a bicycle store on a rainy night, Red the unicycle dreams about a better place.

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Title: Red's Dream (1987)

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With a sale tag hanging from his seat, propped up in the corner of a bicycle store on a rainy night, Red the unicycle dreams about a better place. Written by Kathy Li

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El sueño de Red  »

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The floor is the pattern from the famous Pixar trademark ball first seen in Luxo Jr. (1986). See more »

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Always wear a helmet. See more »

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User Reviews

The real significance of Red the Unicycle...
24 May 2004 | by (Mad City, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

I make my living as the night engineer at the local PBS TV station. I also happen to be a LONG time animation freak.

I've loved and collected the cartoons from Disney, the Fleischer Brothers, Warner Brothers and all the rest for a very long time. I felt that the art of the cartoon was a static field and that it would never drift far from it's pen and ink roots.

One night at work... after a program that ran a few minutes short of a full hour, PBS used RED'S DREAM as filler material to round out the hour.

A whole new world opened up on the screen...

When RED came along, computer animation was still in it's infancy. I think Pixar produced the film as a demonstration piece for what their technology is capable of. At that point in time computer animation was still very expensive, probably as expensive as the traditional, one drawing at a time process of making cartoons by hand.

Cartooning done the traditional way has become SO expensive that it's caused some major players to either get out of the field, or make major concessions in film quality.

The beloved "Termite Terrace", the old Warner Brother's cartooning unit, closed years ago. Likewise, to cut down on the number of drawings required, Fred Flintstone suffers from "Hanna Barberra Palsey"; frequently, Fred's feet and mouth are the ONLY things on the screen that move.

To combat the high costs of traditional, full motion cartooning, SOME concessions to modern technology have come to the fore. In some of Ralph Bakshi's work (HEY GOOD LOOKIN' and THE HOBBIT for example) he moved offshore to cut labor costs (Ireland), and used Xerox copying.

Disney had ALWAYS been the unquestioned master at giving drawn characters the subtle nuances of personality, and occasionally he did it with inanimate objects like Red. My personal Disney favorite is "Casey Junior", the little locomotive that pulls the circus train in DUMBO. I saw somewhere that Casey's personality was inspired by the cartoonist watching a puppy. I can believe that easily; while trying to get the train moving, Casey does a maneuver that's VERY familiar to anyone who has spent a lot of time around dogs; Casey does a "Play Bow", a canine move used as an invitation to other dogs to come out and play with him.

It was little touches like this that convinced me that the cartoonist and animator never had to worry about being automated out of a job by computers.

But... then came Red.

Red is ASTONISHING. This simple little unicycle achieves the goals that every cartoonist shoots for in his creations. In a very short film he introduces himself, displays a clearly defined personality, communicates to the viewer his wants, needs, and motivations, and he manages to touch that indefinable something deep inside of the viewer that makes you CARE about him. You really IDENTIFY with this simple little character in a four minute film.

That's what cartoons are all about, and Red touches every one of the bases.

When I saw this little guy, I realized that the traditional pen and ink and drafting board were on their way out, to be replaced by the microprocessor and the graphics tablet

The Shreks, Roger Rabbits, and all of the other modern cartoon characters were inevitable, both because of the economics of animation, and the success of little films like RED'S DREAM.

We owe this little unicycle, yearning for stardom, a vote of thanks. He himself may be a dead end, but he opened the door to a whole new generation of cartoons.


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