Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#1,836. The Ballad of Nessie (2011)

Directed By: Stevie Wermers

Starring: Billy Connolly

Line from this film: "Where do you go when there's no more hope?"

Trivia: This short preceded 2011's Winnie the Pooh (when it was shown in the theater

Today, I received a copy of the Blu-Ray edition of Walt Disney’s Short Films Collection, a brand new home video release featuring a dozen shorts produced by Disney’s Animation Studio over the last 15 years, and thus far, I’m completely blown away by what I’ve seen. Beautiful, ingenious, hilarious, moving… these are but a few of the words that leaped to mind as I was watching these films, and over the course of the next week or so, I plan to cover the best of what this collection has to offer. To kick things off, I selected 2011’s The Ballad of Nessie, a traditional hand-drawn short reminiscent of some of the studio’s earlier works.

The Ballad of Nessie attempts to explain the origin of the fabled Loch Ness Monster, a creature that’s allegedly been living in the waters of Loch Ness, Scotland, for hundreds of years. As we learn early on in the film, Nessie didn’t always reside in Loch Ness; for a time, she lived in a small pond with her only friend, a yellow rubber duck named “MacQuack”. Her life was thrown into turmoil, however, when a miniature golf course was built next door, forcing Nessie to look for another home. But she couldn't find a lake big enough to accommodate her, causing the dejected sea creature to break down and cry for weeks on end. What she sees when she finally stops crying will change her life forever.

Part of the reason I chose The Ballad of Nessie to start with is that it was narrated by Billy Connolly, who, along with impressive turns in such movies as Fido and The Boondock Saints, is funny as hell. And he does a good job, too, of bringing this tale to life. In addition, despite the fact it was produced rather recently, The Ballad of Nessie (which was based on a character its director, Stevie Wermers-Skelton, created when she was a child) had a look and feel that reminded me of some of Disney’s most beloved classic movies (Nessie has a lot in common with the dragon from 1977’s Pete’s Dragon).

Geared towards kids, The Ballad of Nessie tells an entertaining story, and while I wouldn’t rank it as the best movie in the Short Films Collection, it’s plenty of fun nonetheless.

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