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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Is it in bad taste? I dunno. But it sure was well made.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
16 February 2009

Like last year, I went to a special showing of the Oscar-nominated animated short films. However, unlike last year, in addition to the nominees, several "commended films" were also shown. In this review I'll make my predictions, though if it's anything like last year's choices, I'll probably once again pick the wrong shorts as my favorite for the award.

This film is a computer generated short from the United Kingdom. It's about two morticians who are out to retrieve a body for burial. However, again and again, events conspire against them and nothing seems to go right. All of the mistakes make this a highly creative and funny film but I also assume some people might find it all in bad taste--though that's exactly why I liked the film. Seeing them lose the corpse and it getting stuck in a tree, taking a side trip to the after life and all the crazy Looney Toon-like stunts made me laugh repeatedly--something none of the other shorts did even once.

Overall, I think the award for Best Animated Short is probably between this film and PRESTO--though LE MAISON EN PETITS CUBES seems to have a shot at the prize as well. THIS WAY UP is very daring with its dark content, exceptionally different CGI look and sense of humor. If the Academy is willing to pick such a dark toned film, it can easily win. PRESTO is a very good CGI film, with the best artwork of the five films and a story that seems inspired by Tex Avery. It's not surprising that it looks so good, as it's a Pixar short. However, THIS WAY UP seemed more creative and different--whereas PRESTO seemed like a 1950s cartoon brought to life using CGI.

Considering my track record last year, I assume THIS WAY UP won't win. It's a shame, as I really liked it and would love to see more from the sick folks who made it!

UPDATE: LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES was the winner this year. Not surprisingly, I got this one wrong but at least saw the film as a strong contender.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Morbid Slapstick but not Splatstick

Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
23 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two gentleman must lay their dearly departed love one to rest--but circumstance largely forbids it. From an interesting chain reaction to bumbling mishaps while carrying the coffin, the two men go from the heights of hilarity to the depths of Hades just trying to get the damned woman into some holy ground. Jeez, if only it could be made easy by burying it somewhere else...

This animation is a pretty witty and hilarious take on funereal ceremony. On the other hand, as fun as it is to watch, it didn't really add anything for them to go into the Land of the Dead and have to climb their way, Dante's Purgatorio-style, out. Frankly, it could have ended right as they got crushed by the giant boulder, making a pretty consistent and to-the-point comedy of ill-fate. Instead, even a short animation such as this can drag under the weight of the dead horse they were beating. Nonetheless, fun to watch and equally well-animated! --PolarisDiB

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Dark Animated Comedy

Author: freemantle_uk from United Kingdom
25 February 2009

When watching this short it is easy to think that it takes Pixar style design and Tim Burtonesque plot. The focus of the short is on two funeral directors who have to pick up a recently deceased person. However there hearse is destroyed and they have to take the coffin through a hell of a lot of obstacle course to get her to her resting peace and do it in respect.

The animation was beautiful, so much better to some feature length films and television programmes. The characters could easily fit into a Pixar film like the Incredibles. The plot is comedy, but funerals is not an obvious subject for comedy. It in not a short for really young kids.

I personally enjoyed this film.

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Death can be funny too

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
26 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Many films have attempted to make movies on death with humour that certainly will not appeal to everybody, but those who like it will probably really enjoy it. This is one of them. However, for me personally, this was not a triumph. We follow a duo of father and son who work in the undertaking business, but run into trouble when a chain reaction causes a huge rock to fall on their car. There are some nice references in here about death such as the river Styx or also that the protagonists' death is so close to them when that rock hits the car and a couple more. Still I have to say the humor did not appeal to me too much. Apart from that, the plot was also not well-constructed. It was never really clear if the old lady was dead or even if the two undertakers were still alive in the latter parts of the film.

Also the parade scene did not work for me at all. It stood so much in contrast to the whole atmosphere before that and the ending was not my cup of tea either. Why would they jump in the hole as well? So random. The final song was nice, but I cannot really make a connection between the music there and the 9-minute short film before that. The animation is fine. The Academy quite loved it as they granted it a nomination in the Best Animated Short Subject category. There, it lost to the (in my opinion far superior) Japanese entry. I kinda like the title though: "This Way Up". But that alone is not enough to let me forget about all the negative and mediocre aspects here. Not recommended and I cannot say I am too surprised that Foulkes and Smith, the two filmmakers behind this, have not worked on more movies in the last 7 years according to their IMDb filmography. I hope when they start a comeback, they will have improved.

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Morbid but hilarious animation

Author: gasmaskproductionsbooks from Canada
8 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I sort of found this by mistake while browsing youtube. I loved it, honestly it was a laugh-riot, reminded me of some of Tim Burton's works, with flawless animation, catchy soundtrack and a creative and lovable pair of characters, despite the fact that they work in a rather dreary business.

The plot follows two morticians as they struggle to get one of their "clients" to his final resting place, and they have to overcome a variety of obstacles. It's very short but still really effective and memorable. It deserves a 10/10, I loved it and I highly recommend it! Not all animation has to be that happy cheery Disney crud to be good, sometimes it's much better to be original.

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Not to all tastes, but darkly funny

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
6 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This short was nominated for the Academy Award for Animated Short. There will be spoilers ahead:

This is a fairly active short which packs quite a lot, so it bears repeated viewing. From the trip in the hearse from the funeral home, where the natures of the two main characters are set through some quick gags, this short starts out strong and builds from there.

Something very minor starts a chain reaction, leading to the first gut punch the firm of A.T. Shank and Son will take this disturbing day. It will not be the last in a day which would make a sane man change professions.

The most fastidious and determined undertaker in the world and his much less intense son go on a journey which would give Odysseus the screaming meemies! They meet with thickets, hunters, birds, boulders and slopes. They wind up in a Hell which resembles New Orleans at Mardi Gras as filmed by Roger Corman. Shaken but yet unbowed, the two seriously determined undertakers manage to leave the afterlife with their seriously damaged coffin, finally depositing it in the grave. The ending scene is wonderful and shows changes to both father and son. The song over the credits is delightfully bizarre.

This is most definitely worth finding and watching, so long as you don't find the subject matter to disturbing for your taste. Most highly recommended.

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the duty

Author: Armand from Romania
29 August 2014

a dark short comedy about a very delicate theme. amazing at whole for the great imagination and for the splendid animation. crazy, chaotic, it is, in fact, the story of two men who desires make a good job. the duty is the most precise thing and that fact is source of hilarious adventure. it is far to be comfortable but it is a remarkable work and that fact is the great virtue. a film about death in Tim Burton style. really impressive. and not easy to accept it. but not only amusing. the remember of adventures heroes from childhood stories for the noble cause is the real axis of story. and that fact could be the most important.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This Way Up

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
25 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film was nominated the Oscar for Best Short Animated Film, and I'm glad I got to see what was essentially the British entrant. A.T Shank & Son are the coffin carriers who are having a bad day as they try to take a coffin to its place of burial. A boulder knocked off a cliff crushes the hearse, and they make their way across country, through prickly hedges, to get the coffin (their only company) to the right place. They are crushed and go down into what is essentially Hell, and into a flowing river with hundreds of coffins, but they manage to swim out and drop the (wrecked) coffin in its hole. An amusing caper film with some interesting CGI animation, the subject matter is a little questionable as to whether you can find it all funny, but being a British film, you can recognise the dark humour. Good!

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