Laura Wilkens

Thoughts - A Design and Film Related Blog

The blog portion of focuses on graphic design, film, and travel.

Animated Goodness - Oktapodi

Oktapodi isn't just a beautifully constructed short animation, it's also proof that a wonderful story can be told in less than three minutes. As a film major, I always received skepticism from peers studying other disciplines when I said my massive semester long film projects or films my friends and I slaved over 24/7 for contests were only 5 minutes long. My senior thesis animation (which was 3.5 months of consistent hard work) came in at roughly 4. It's not the length that judges a movie or animation, but the character and plot development that can be told in the most successful way and in however much time is needed for that to happen.

Coming in at 2 mins and 26 seconds long, Oktapodi is a French short animation (directed by François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchand, Quentin Marmier and Emud Mokhberi) that won a slew of awards throughout 2007 and 2008 and then was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009. It's a simple story of two octopi in love and the obstacles in their way in a small town in Greece. 

The color work is definitely the highlight of this short. Everything looks bold and saturated while at the same time, the two main characters still pop out of every scene with their strong orange and magenta hues. In the animating style that Pixar has honed to a science, all the characters, objects and backgrounds are smooth and stylized to perfection.

The water sequences throughout the short are another aspect that should be noticed. The POV shot from the orange octopus' perspective through the fish tank shows everything with a slight, surprisingly realistic distortion and the splashes and ripples made as they jump from swimming pool to swimming pool are superb.

I'm also a fan of the fact that although the animated world is in 3D, the thoughts going through the minds of the orange octopus are in a very flat and graphic design style. It a nice touch and provides a clear change in storyline for the viewer especially when there's no dialogue (a technique that's also used in major films, i.e. the one animated scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1 explaining the childhood of O-Ren Ishii).

Oktapodi is charming and light and much like a Looney Tune cartoon (the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote to be exact). The two octopi will bring a short burst of joy to your day.