Presenting a story in episodes always works in such a way that it requires audience participation. Films are supposed to feed the details to the viewing consumers but an episodic presentation breaks from this as it caters the plot to the audience through a series of shorts, most of the time not in chronological order.
This applied to the movie “Shorts” directed by Robert Rodriguez. I was caught away with the story and had to consciously keep myself on track, which was to review the technical side of the film. The episodes of “Shorts” had an effect that as an audience, I had to think through the film by rearranging the events in my head. Of course, all films of sense make one think, but you get my point.
I’ve been told again and again that narration is always the last resort to any film (must be the first-person-point-of-view-writer inside of me)—which by the way I still have yet to learn—but in the case of “Shorts,” it worked out. And it worked out because it complemented the use of play, pause, and stop buttons incorporated into the film. The buttons only worked out because the film was being narrated from a child’s point of view. The two worked hand in hand. Without the other, one would have failed. It is good to take note that breaking from the norm involves high risk. And with high risk comes only two outcomes: either one fails miserably and burns to the ground, or one is applauded for a job well done and congratulated for having introduced an innovative idea to the industry.
The working well together of the buttons, story, plot presentation, and narration, is the best point of the film. There was nothing neither remarkable nor exceptional, either good or bad, with the choice of background music and sound effects. The actors did well—not mediocre, but not very good either.
Another point that goes to the team behind “Shorts” is that they had very good establishing shots, from the beginning ‘til the end. The teaser at the beginning of the film was good too. Actually, at first I thought it wasn’t actually part of the film or that “Shorts” meant a series of shorts, and not a full-length film. The teaser, in the end worked for the film. It was just that, an addition and it worked its purpose. It was incorporated into the plot line without distracting the audience from the plot as a whole.
Another plus is that the episodes ended in the conclusion of the story anyway and the conclusion brought the whole thing to a good close.
The film as a whole was not a mish mash of various ingredients randomly put together in a nice presentation but instead was a seemingly not-going-to-work-out recipe that did. All in all, “Shorts” was a well-produced film. Thumbs up!