“The Wanna Be Oddie” is a short animated film made by Ben Lam as his MFA project at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In it, he masterfully appropriates certain qualities of vintage, black and white animation, then updates them with 3D graphics and a kooky homage to Transformers, for one of the most charming animations I’ve seen in some time. Thoroughly modern, yet retro (in the best sense), too.
When I was a little kid, I used to collect silent movie comedies on Super 8 film from Blackhawk Films. I’d project them on the wall in my parent’s basement and I’d watch them over and over again. I really studied them and I must say, Ben Lam must’ve watched the same stuff, because he really perfectly abstracts and captures the “vintageness” (and all that would imply) of Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd, early Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks and Max Fleischer cartoons. He didn’t just slap a scratch filter over his animation, in other words, there’s some organic magic happening here that really puts his work at the head of the class. When you get the small details right, the bigger picture is so much more vivid.
Even in this crappy job market, I’m sure a talent like Ben’s was snapped up by the likes of Pixar, post haste. If this was a Coca-Cola commercial and only the difference was that the vending machine and bottles were red and sported logos, not much would change, and it would still be just as great.
Stated differently, If advertising was this cool, I wouldn’t tune it out.