Independent animation great Bill Plympton has released a new dvd collecting all of the shorts he has created between 2004 and 2008: Guard Dog, Guide Dog, Hot Dog, Spiral, The Fan and the Flower, Shuteye Hotel, and Santa, the Fascist Years. The disc is packed with tons of extras including music videos for Kanye West, Weird Al Yankovic, and Parson Brown, TV commercials, animated documentary excerpts, and a TV special 12 Tiny Christmas Tales, as well as pencil tests, animatics, storyboards and filmmaker commentary. Animation director David Levy wrote a review of the dvd with insightful thoughts about Plympton’s work in general. Levy’s comments about the Parson Brown music video “Mexican Standoff” stood out to me:
I am tempted to describe Bill’s recent commissioned work, the music video “Mexican Standoff,” as one of those misfires in that it can appear to be an average work. But as soon as I think that, I correct myself: Average for whom? The film is full of innovative camera angles, daring animation, and enough style and ideas for 10 films. I wonder if one price Bill has paid for his productivity might be that we’ve become accustomed to his ordinary excellence. If we had never seen a Bill Plympton film before and started with “Mexican Standoff,” we might be asking, “Who did that terrific animation?” But, the value of the “Dog Days” collection is that it answers that injustice by forcing the viewer to look at this five-year period of Bill’s work as a whole.