Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
I’m not sure where I first saw this crazy piece of animation, but it was likely when Pixar’s Lee Unkrich mentioned it on Twitter. “The most strangely surreal thing I’ve seen in a while. Like being transported to an alternate reality,” he said. There has been a lot of Pixarn’t over the past few years, including ‘remakes’ of Ratatouille and Cars from Brazilian outfit Vídeo Brinquedo, both of which are linked below.
But this Chinese version of the short Presto is possibly the most exact replication of Pixar’s work yet. That being the case, it’s still light-years from the real thing. It’s like there’s a version of the uncanny valley that relates specifically to cheap versions of good animation. The closer something gets to replicating the real thing without actually doing so, the weirder it looks.
One of the comments on the original YouTube upload of this short makes an interesting point: if this was a student attempt to learn by imitating and remaking a superior piece of work, I’d understand the impulse. But without any indication that such a thing is indeed the case I can only watch this and marvel at it.
I can actually understand the Vídeo Brinquedo knock-offs more easily, because they’re tailored to a specific audience, while this just wants to be a near-identical copy. If this isn’t a student exercise, then what’s the point? Besides amusing us? If nothing else, that mission is accomplished. (Perhaps not in the intended way, but still.)
I’ve pasted the two side-by-side below, so you can run both simultaneously and see just how similar the knock-off is. But even though it is quite close, technically, it’s not even in the same ballpark when it comes to feel. That’s the ineffable spirit that a real creative effort has.
Check out Ratatoing (it is hilarious!)
….and The Little Cars: