Spike and Mike’s 22nd Anniversary Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation

Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation

I have been to several of these Sick & Twisted animation festivals from Spike and Mike over the years, mostly a decade or more ago except for one I saw about a year before this one. (That was the 20th Anniversary, and I saw it in the same theater 13 months before this 22nd Anniversary, so I’m not sure what happened to the 21st.)

The one I saw before this one I experienced as a significant disappointment compared to what I remembered of the earlier ones. The cartoons were almost all very gross, which would be fine if they were also clever and/or funny, but too many of them were neither and seemed to have little reason for existing other than to try to be as gross as possible.

This year’s festival I thought was a bit better, but still not as good as I remembered from long ago. It certainly wasn’t as consistently gross as the one I saw last year—indeed, it seemed to me that several cartoons from this year’s collection could have fit at least as well in a regular animation festival as in a specifically “sick & twisted” one—but on the whole they were only modestly more clever and/or funny.

Really zero of the cartoons in this collection stood out to me as home runs, but there were a respectable number that got a bit of a laugh out of me, and an acknowledgement that “OK, that one’s actually not bad.”

One highlight (again, a modest highlight) is a series of shorts that are all supposed to represent what a cat is dreaming. That series is fun.

Some of the offerings seem to be technically very well done and are somewhat visually interesting, but their stories and characters are obscure and frankly rather boring. The Undertaker is a prime example.

That computer stick figure guy who rebels against the computer user is back. I think this is the third installment I’ve seen of that.

The problem is that each installment is noticeably weaker than the preceding one. The central idea was originally quite an imaginative one, but by now it’s stale. And the animator seems very low on ideas for specifics to justify continuing the series. For this most recent one, it seems like 90% of it involves the stick figure and whoever or whatever happens to be trying to kill it simply picking things up from the desktop and throwing them at each other.

I did enjoy, though, when the stick figure gets one of his enemies trapped in the Minesweeper game. There are just too few clever twists like that.

Overall, like I say, nothing in this year’s collection blew me away. A good number, probably a majority, were somewhat entertaining, but there are few if any that will likely stick in my memory. I’d already forgotten the bulk of them five minutes after I left the theater.

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