Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim's Get a Horse! is Disney Studios' self-reflexive tribute to itself. Mining the late 1920s animation style of the original Mickey Mouse films, the short opens with the antics of black and white toons cavorting in a barnyard and setting off on a wagon ride. Then Peg-Leg Pete shows up to ruin the fun. Suddenly a color Mickey not only breaks the fourth wall (in something of a Jazz Singer black and white breaking into color reference), but breaks down any charm the short began with, devolving into a mounting CGI chase. Sam Adams of Indiewire aptly notes that "[I]n 'breaking through' the 2D frame like some cartoon '80s hard-rock act, Get a Horse! implicitly slights the tradition it purports to homage. It tells viewers -- not just children, but anyone who's never seen a black-and-white Mickey short -- that the 'classic' format is something to be patiently endured until the real action starts. Even though both are modern creations, the 3D animation looks garish and clunky next to the faux old-school imagery...."
Unlike the jarring Get a Horse!, Lauren Witz and Alexander Espigares's Mr. Hublot is a beautiful story imaginatively realized in characters who, despite being at some stage of evolutionary morphing into vintage machines, are still very much human. The agoraphobic Mr. Hublot must overcome his obsessive compulsion when he is compelled to rescue Robot Pet. His carefully ordered world will be disrupted beyond his wildest imagination, but what he receives in return is grace.
In 18th century Japan, when a fix-it man who has lost his way seeks shelter from a storm in an abandoned shrine, he is met with a torrent of enchanted household objects animated by goblin spirits in Shuhei Morita's Possessions. Like the parasols, the screen and the flowing sheaths of kimono fabrics, the lovely choreography also enchants, but something gets lost in translation when one is unfamiliar with Japanese notions of spirits whose deep-seated grudges are not easily appeased.
Max Lang and Jan Lachauer's Room on the Broom is adapted from the book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It tells the story of a genial witch and her cat who are joined one by one by a dog, a bird and a frog. The witch may seem a little too generous for her own good, but we learn that there is no such thing.