John Canemaker may be best known for his historical work in the field of animation, writing some of the definitive books on early animation (Disney, Felix, etc.), but his creative animation work should not be ignored. Canemaker produced many ground-breaking works of animation, and "Bottom's Dream" holds its own with any of them.
The short takes as its inspiration Bottom's contemplation on the "dream" he has experienced in the middle acts of Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream", in which his head is transformed into that of an ass and the Fairy Queen Titania is made to fall in love with him. Shakespeare's "Dream" has long been the most visually attractive play to adapt, and the transfer to animation opens up possibilities set designers could only dream of. Canemaker's mastery of the art and his immense creativity make this short quite a ride, exploring a few of the darker undertones in Shakespeare's text that are often excised or simply ignored.
Although somewhat derivative at times, falling prey to the fairy dreamscape traditionally associated with "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as well as the seemingly obligatory jaunt through a field of highly symbolic mushrooms, this short is well-worth the difficult process of actually finding a copy to watch -- it's rare, so good luck!
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