Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton is a must DVD collection for any fan of the animated short. Plympton, also known for his cartoon work in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and National Lampoon to name a few is also a syndicated cartoonist. Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton contains 23 of the 25 animated short films this great American artist made up to 2004. Although this collection does not contain Push Comes To Shove which won the Cannes Prix du Jury it does include the Academy Award nominated Your Face.
Bill Plympton's animation style is easy to recognize. It often features a fairly similar and probably self-portrait character whose face tends to melt, disintegrate, morph, and so on. The humor here is usually subtle, the animation, at 4 frames per second a bit jumpy, and the colors usually heavy on oranges, reds, and browns.
There are 23 animated shorts to choose from here so picking best of is a bit of a Herculean task. Particularly funny and brilliant is the 1988 short How To Kiss, a brilliant six and a half minutes absolutely surreal guide to kissing. This, like many of shorts by Bill Plympton is a montage of a series of 10 or 15 second gags on the same theme. Just as brilliant is 25 Ways to Quit Smoking which features a running gag involving a sumo wrestler.
Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton includes of course some very early work such as Self-Portrait and The Turn-On which definitely show their age. The collection also includes some unfinished work and closes with a lost short Plympton recently reworked.
Of particular interest is Boomtown, an peacenik influenced Android Sisters musical bit on the importance of having a strong military. Fans of the movie version of Pink Floyd's The Wall will certainly see the origins of the marching hammers animation in this Plympton short.
People who remember MTV in the early nineties will recognize some of the animated work Plympton did for the music network. He also branched out into music videos with 245 Days, the live action / animated music video he did for Peter Himmelman. Other work for MTV includes a couple of very funny Previous Lives on Rod Steward and Eddie Van Halen.
Bill Plympton also did some very interesting commercial work such as ads for Trivial Pursuit and a product called Sugar Delight (with, I swear, what must be the voice of Emo Philips).
Extra features on Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works Of Bill Plympton include a text biography, an image gallery and two profiles of the artist. Artist in Motion: Independent Animator Bill Plympton runs a little over 9 minutes. It shows you Plympton at work without any voiceover or commentary of any kind. Interesting and original
Most interesting here is the other extra feature Sunday With Bill a low-budget film by hand production interview with Plympton where Plympton talks about himself, gives due credit to the Warner Brothers classic cartoons, but also gives an in-depth analysis of his Academy Award nominated short Your Face.
Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton is a must for any fan of the animated short and definitely interesting for those who have only a passing interest in the genre.
The Turn On
Lucas, The Ear Of Corn
Drawing Lesson # 2
Love In The Fast Lane
One Of These Days
How To Kiss
25 Ways To Quit Smoking
Trivial Pursuit # 1
Trivial Pursuit # 2
Sugar Delight # 1
Sugar Delight # 2
Previous Lives # 1
Previous Lives # 2
At The Zoo
America Upper and Lower Case