Saturday, November 9, 2013

Short Subject: Chief Your Butt’s on Fire (2013)

Well I had the pleasure of attending the Giraf Animation Film Festival recently and they had the world premiere of Steve Moore’s latest short film.

This film was thirteen years in the making for Moore, a veteran Disney animator.  It’s a funny cautionary tale taking a jab at pompous leadership and office politics.  Where the chief of a fire station doesn’t believe his butt is on fire and the one guy who point its out gets in trouble for doing so.  It’s a great commentary on the film industry in particular, being based on Moore’s experiences as an animator in the field, where you can’t just take the initiative and go with it even if you’re right.  Everything needs to be looked at and judge by committee, with lunch brought in, and worked at and fixed and fixed until it is completely broken.  That is nicely illustrated in that the entire station burns to the ground at the end with the junior chiefs yelling about how there’s no I in fireman.      

The Disney influence on Moore is clear to see or hear to be more specific in this short.  The animation and coloring style are certainly not the Disney standard although they are still very good.  The design however reminds me more of Warner Brothers than Disney.  It also has the adult humour of Warner Brothers with the one fireman being under the dress of the woman they rescue in the opening scene.  No the influence is shown in the choice of music, the ‘Firehouse Stomp’ by Ward Kimball and his band the Firehouse Five Plus Two, who were all Disney artists in the studio’s golden age.  And the song totally works in a short about a fire station with firemen in it and is catchy too. 

Along with doing all the animation himself Moore also did all the voice work for this project and its great.  The voices are all distinct and clear and my favourite is the one junior chief who I think sounds like Don Knotts.

All in all it really is a great short that is lively fun and funny with great animation, great music, and a nice commentary delivered in a fun context, and I looked forward to checking out more work from Steve Moore.

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