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Disney’s “Paperman” full short now online

Directed by John Kahrs – and talked about frequently here on the Brew – Disney has just posted the complete film online (perhaps to influence Academy voters).

  • the Gee

    Do you think it would influence anyone to release it online?
    The academy voters will watch it anyway, right? Popularity would or wouldn’t matter?

    • Tom

      I get what you mean, but I shouldn’t see why it would be a factor. Another one of the nominees, Fresh Guacamole, was initially released online and open to the public to begin with.

      • the Gee

        I hope this doesn’t “sound” bad but “Fresh Guacamole” is something that “works” on the Internet.

        It is just a really big step to try to influence Academy voters by raising awareness of the short.

        It’s cool that Disney has released it like this, of course. From a marketing perspective it baffles me.
        Oh wait. I just checked and the OSCARs are on ABC this year. I wondered if it was but wasn’t sure.

        Well this could be just a bone for TV audience building. Give ‘em one more reason to tune in, keep ‘em tuned in and rooting for …nah. That’s probably too cynical.

        • Polecat

          I think the Oscars are on ABC every year.

  • Alberto

    One of the best animated shorts of this young century.

  • DarylRhysT

    Wonderful Short

  • Deaniac

    So glad to see Disney upload this short themselves in glorious HD. Paperman better get an award for SOMETHING because I really, really want to see Disney use this technique more (a feature film wouldn’t hurt).

  • OtherDan

    So good!

  • Is this supposed to be like a tone poem about 9/11?

    • Keegan

      the f*ck kinda question is this


    • elephantmarch

      … really?

      • The film is the color of ash, and its about paper flying around, ect ect. This is a complex work of art, I don’t know. Congratulations to John Khars and the crew and good luck at the Oscars.

        • Thank you Mike for finding the truth!

          • The only truth he’s exposed is that artwork is rarely as complex as the people drawing paranoid conspiracy theories out of them. To quite Terry Pratchett “The TRUTH is out there… but LIES are in your heard”

        • As much as you’re entitled to your opinion, I think you’re seeing something that the film makers didn’t intend.

    • otterhead


  • Brittney


  • Brilliant!

  • David Hofmann

    Congratulations Pat Osborne !!

  • Beautiful artistry of an old Disney story with the texture of new animation, just love this, such simplicity made into true beauty and art!

  • Paul Penna

    Anybody else catch the Richard Deacon cameo at 2:52?

  • Frank

    Just go 2D already. They’re pretty much there.

  • Hey Now

    Cute enough story, but I’ll never understand the desire to get CGI to mimic hand-drawn animation.

    Like trying to get an oil painting to look like a photograph.

    • Well, it partially IS hand-drawn animation. This isn’t a “let’s make one thing look like the other thing”. It’s a “let’s see if two different things can be put together to make a new thing that nobody’s exactly seen before.”

      • jmahon

        exactly- this isn’t made to replace 2D, it’s more of a loveletter to 2D.

        Though deep down I feel like it would’ve done very well as a 2D animated short, too….I think all of us miss 2D stuff, but we can’t let that shape our opinion of 3D stuff.

    • For me, the reason why I’m excited for stuff like this is because it’s easier to do subtle acting with CGI. Moving holds are extremely easy to do in CGI, for example, because all you have to do is make minuscule adjustments to a pose and spline it. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to do subtle moving holds in 2D, but that it certainly saves time when you don’t need to verrrrryyyy caaaareffuuullllyy inbetween subtle pose changes.

    • Lulu

      More like trying to get a photo to look like an oil painting don’t you think?

  • Polecat

    I think I was expecting more from this short. I liked the female lead, the retro atmosphere, and the gray washes, but the male lead didn’t really have much going for him, and the music started to get on my nerves. The technique is nice, and that was what drew me in, but in this case I felt that nice is not enough. Not as whimsical as I expected.

  • Toonio

    Al least Disney learned its lesson with la Luna and the lack of support it got at the Oscars last year.

  • Luke

    So Disney… when are you going to release Lorenzo to the public?

    I’ll wait…

    • Toonio

      Somebody give Luke some love and up vote him to the top!

    • Lieu


  • michael swofford

    It’s very poetic, and romantic in an old fashioned way. The acting is very subtle but clear. When you see a “Glen Keane” girl, you just know she is a good person. I wish Disney would produce shorts on a regular basis, one for each feature, and experiment with styles.

    • sentiman

      Subtle acting? Have we been watching the same?

      The overacting is annoying as ever. People don’t express every single emotion that obvious. It was refreshing when characters in the Iron Giant were first doing it, but enough already.

      • mee

        Iron Giant? I love Iron Giant. But the thing is, at this distance I can’t picture Hogarth in my head. Why is that? IG yes, the people, no. I can feel his feelings.

  • Mic

    I really like the guy’s subtle facial expressions.

  • DBenson

    More overthinking: That alley full of paper planes — Did the guy throw all of them and they somehow all ended up there, or this sort of a resting place for other desperate romantic gestures, waiting for somebody to lead them and make a connection happen? Sort of a Red Balloon thing?

  • Eric

    Oh look, Ariel lives in New York now. They need to stop creating these formula based characters.

  • Capital_7

    I wish that this beautiful visual work had been put to the service of a story worthy of the talents involved. This stunk on ice.

  • If I didn’t know, I’d have sworn this was by Pixar.

  • In the end, I don’t know why we’re supposed to care about these two people getting together.

  • P-G Lidström

    Goody, gives me hope about life and everything, great film!

  • Mark Marderosian

    I really liked this short. I made the “mistake” of watching it before going to bed so spent some time thinking about it instead of sleeping. Love the style, especially of the woman’s character design by way of Ariel, liked the one use of color (red lipstick) and the sense of time and place. I know how much WORK is involved in making something like this even with a team of people.
    Like a previous comment, I too wish the whimsy level had been higher. I’m not sure every angle, aspect and possible objection of the story was considered. I think some of it had to do with lack of contrast. A hero is only strong as his villain, the triumph is sweeter the more the struggle to achieve it is harder. The whole time I was watching this I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t he wait until tomorrow for the next morning commute?” I understand the urgency
    of attraction (been there!) but it wasn’t clear to me why he couldn’t just meet her again the next morning??? A simple travel bag in her hand at the beginning to show her as passing through perhaps? Was that a job she was applying
    for? Why not make it a travel agency and she is being handed tickets? This story needed the “ticking clock” aspect to it. And this would have added a dimension of “decision” to her staying with him instead of leaving. We would feel that love had really triumphed.

  • Christopher Diogo

    What i like the most about the short is the technical aspect. The animation is amazing and the toon shader is the best i have ever seen.

  • Amir


    It’s like old Bosnian saying: “You wanna to swim, but not to get wet”.
    Let it look like 2D, but please let it not to be 2D…
    What’s so sinful about 2D, anyway?


    • LOLcat

      Thumbs up from another Bosnian! ;)

      • Amir


  • CG Animator

    Okay so let me get this straight… people have been complaining for years that CG doesn’t have the charm or appeal that hand-drawn does (and they’d be wrong. Wreck-it-Ralph, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles are just as appealing and well animated as any hand-drawn movie). So Disney makes a short that DOES have the charm and appeal that hand-drawn does by mixing the two mediums and people complain that they should have just done it hand-drawn.

    *sigh* You can’t win either way.

    • Guest

      I think people are saying that even if it looks like 2D, it still costs a lot more to make and seems a bit pointless. Similar to the “spend a whole bunch of money to make CG look exactly like live-action” thing. CG works best when it finds a way to make itself appealing on its own terms, rather than as an expensive substitute for something else.

      • Kyle_Maloney

        The cost will come down eventually. This is the price you pay when taking something where not many have been before.
        I’m with you on the live action thing, but one, it does have its place (in live action movies) and two, you don’t have to deal with the uncanny valley with the hand drawn goal.

  • It’s good, but honestly, what’s the point of this? What a waste of money and resources. Massive and pointless workload to do a quaint short with a story we’ve all seen a million times that any independent could have pulled off for a couple thousand. And this cost, what… $2 million? $3 million? Oh well, historically, Disney has always wasted the green on formula and gotten praised for it. “Coming full circle,” and all that crap.

    Is this the only way we’ll get traditional hand-drawn animation again? By spending a needless fortune on a simulation?

    • jmahon

      from my understanding this short film is more of a tech demo of sorts for the software developed originally for Tangled, back when it was just “Rapunzel”, and was supposed to seem more like a painted/2D looking movie. I believe the software wasn’t all the way perfected at that point despite the huge amount of development that went on. I think Paperman was made solely to exhibit this software somewhere, at least, so that all that work wouldn’t go to waste and would at least be used once.
      In that regard, the short film does fine, and everyone seems to love a cute magical story. After all, Luxo Jr. was a tech demo, too, but had a story full of heart that has made it a classic even among people who have zero knowledge of computer imaging.

  • remember when this beauty was made…. also with a computer!

    • schwarzgrau

      Hmmm its arguable if this is really a beauty

  • One of the best examples of “style over substance” I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty, well-animated short, but in terms of story, characters and narrative “meat” it’s as hollow as empty (though beuaitfully wrapped) present.

    A glorified tech demo, to be sure.

    • 9,594,698th viewer

      I just watched it on youtube and I’m in tears.

  • Perdo Nakama

    I like the final touch with the paper airplane flying over the castle in the end title.

  • farleftside

    Very nice, but the paper airplanes suddenly being imbued with magic sure came out of nowhere.

  • schwarzgrau

    The technique with the motionvectors etc. is quite interesting, but why do people always try to mimic “old” techniques with new techniques? Filming/photographing digital and try to mimic filmlook, working in 3D and try to make it look like stopmotion/handdrawn.
    If you like the look draw it by hand or shoot on film, but the better idea would be to use the possibilities and create a new look.

    • Dopey me

      heh, I read “filmlook” as “flipbook”

      thinking you were saying why did anyone ever want to make an animated film when we have flipbooks?

      “why do people always try to mimic “old” techniques with new techniques?”

      • mee

        “why do people always try to mimic “old” techniques with new techniques?”

        PSY Gangnam Style animation Flip-book:

        (my favorite seconds are 1:22-1:24 and 3:08)

  • Toon

    The animation and design are really beautiful but this film remind me too much of this film from Sylvain Vincendeau

    • 1,727th viewer


      but wait… i’m not crying.

      but i am thinking, i wonder if Sylvain ever read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman… omg someone could make a movie…

  • KK

    Hello from Japan. It’s pretty charming! I wonder if the crew knew _Royal Space Force_? I can’t tell you how, but it reminded me of the sci-fi movie made in 1987.

  • Jake

    Are you people ever pleased? Good lord

  • yetkro

    The characters react like, “Duuuuuhhhhh?” every time they see something. waiting for the Youtube alternate soundtrack version of this.

  • Don Jones

    I love it. It’s the first time we’ve been able to see a passionate line in a finished product, not blocked by ink.

  • Clarke

    Sylvain Vincendeau already made this film in 1995, it’s called Paroles en l’air,

  • deanmackey

    As curator of The Online Paper Airplane Museum, I must attest the validity of this cartoon. Paper Airplanes are capable of remarkable things, you just merely have to fold them and fly! :)

  • John

    I’m sick of the Cal Arts look, it’s bland and unoriginal and based on formulaic designs of the the Nine Old Men! At least they invented a style. For the past thirty years the Cal Arts graduates have been lazily drawing in this formula that they were taught is the only way to design characters, the Disney brand of character design. I used to draw this way when I was a kid, copying the Disney formula!

  • Jessica

    How is she not noticing a single one of those planes in her peripheral vision? I stopped enjoying this short around 2:30 when the logic literally went out the window. The plot unravels around there and they decided to make the planes magical to wrap up the story. At least they tried, I guess.

  • Adam Parker

    I really liked the atmosphere and design, The backgrounds are top-notch. Kudos to John Kahrs and team. their story is similar to my short film “Fall”

  • Joseph Hudak

    Once you get halfway through, it’s obvious this is a fantasy. Or at least it goes from a somewhat more real love story into a fantasy. I found that the more interesting aspect of it.

    I don’t really get much of the criticism the “story” aspects of these shorts tend to get. They are minimalistic and intended to be secondary to the animation used as their primary purpose are as tech demos. Minimalistic and (usually) silent shorts like these are also intended to reach a broad worldwide general viewing audience.

  • Becca

    Damn you people are insane nitpicking every little detail and then getting into the economy and it’s bad choices come on this got nominated for an Oscar so in the end I don’t think the people who created this really care what you think obviously it was great to the people whose opinions are actually valued not a bunch of 40 year old trolls living In their moms basement ..Jesus Christ people are so arrogant sometimes FYI the person who created this knows a whole lot more about that they are doing then you do

  • matt mozgiel

    God damned beautiful and heartfelt

  • Principal Dondelinger

    Oh, he’s trying to get laid…cute.

  • absolutely fantastic.. got inspired for my new animated short from this :)

  • I cannot understand the hate for this short subject? Is it complex and nuanced? Of course not, but it’s well drawn and, in my opinion, very sweet.