SBox Recommends: Pikmin Short Movies

The movie industry nowadays is filled to the brim with adaptations, remakes, and sequels. Hollywood has left not a single stone unturned when it comes to potential adaptation sources. For the most part these movies based on books, TV shows, cartoons, comics, and toys have been incredibly successful. However, it’s been an unfortunate habit of movies based on video games not turning out all that well.

Even though some are able to reach financial success, rarely do they achieve critical success. Negative critical reception quickly becomes word of mouth, and word of mouth discourages moviegoers to see the film, which often causes these movies to be flops. Even Nintendo with a name as huge as Mario couldn’t translate to the big screen.

They say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Perhaps this phrase could be applied to Pikmin Short Movies.

Release via the Nintendo eShop on 3DS and Wii U, Pikmin Short Movies is a collection of CG animated shorts lasting a grand total of 22 minutes. It was distributed by Toho Cinemas and animated by Nintendo, with Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Pikmin) as executive producer. There are two versions of this collection: a 3D version for the 3DS and a HD version for the Wii U.

This $5 collection contains 3 short films based on one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises. Sounds like an incredible deal, but is it truly worth the investment?


Synopsis

There are 3 shorts to this collection. I will not tell you the entirety of what happens within each short in case you want to watch these for yourself.

The first is called “The Night Juicer” and is a little under 2 minutes long. It starts off with a title sequence and then shows three pikmin (one blue, one red, and one yellow) walking in on Olimar, who is blending a mysterious red beverage. Although, the red pikmin begins to wonder what exactly is in that shake.

The second is called “Treasure in a Bottle” and clocks in at 8 minutes long. Here we see a red pikmin walking around until it finds a big bottle. Inside the bottle is a mysterious blue orb. Curious, it finds a way into the bottle where he accidentally gets stuck. It’s up to three passerby pikmin to help their friend get out of the bottle.

The third and last in the collection is called “Occupational Hazards”, lasting 12 minutes. Here Olimar is directing the Pikmin as they repair a broken excavator. While trying to find parts, the pikmin awaken a fiery blowhog and soon a bulborb. Will they survive to see the sun shine on this cloudy day?

That’s really it in terms of story. Again, these are shorts, so there isn’t much of a cohesive narrative.

Writing

But for what it’s worth, I really do enjoy the writing. There is no dialogue throughout the shorts, yet the delivery and cartoony wit of these characters speaks much louder than words ever could. I really do like the Pikmin. They’re not just cute little things with buds on their heads as you nay think. The red pikmin are curious, blue are kind of slow, yellow are extreme, white have huge tempers, and purple… well I guess they’re just big. Olimar lacks much personality, but he serves his purpose as the captain. (I do realize in the games he has more personality).

Every situation in the shorts was enjoyable. While the first film can be seen as too short, made even worse by the fact that most of it was shown in the trailer, I feel on its own merit it was funny. Clever how they start making Olimar seem to be blending Pikmin. The second one was also good. While I still don’t know what that blue orb thing was, it was fun to see how he got in the bottle. I also admired the means of communication presented in these shorts. The third to me was the main selling point of the collection. Because it was longer and resembled the games much closer, it shines that much brighter. Plenty of good gags in there to make you smirk a bit, too.

Animation/Effects

But what stands out the most with these films is how beautiful they are. The animation is incredible, especially in HD. I believe that the vibrant colors, shadings, and real-to-life lighting effects rivals the likes of Dreamworks and Pixar. Frames of animation are also incredibly smooth.

While I realize Pikmin doesn’t take place on Earth, the forested features look close enough to actually walking through part of a rain forest. The amount of detail in the scenery is something to be admired.

The least I can say to praise the animation is that it looks just like how a Pikmin game should look.

Music for these shorts are also very pleasing to the ear. Again, just like a Pikmin game. The score consists mostly of piano, drums and brass instruments mixed with soft synthesized sounds. The music plays a heavy task of setting the mood in place of the mute characters, and it accomplishes that well. It’s orchestrated in such a way that it practically acts like the shorts’ storyteller.

Overall

All in all, Pikmin Short Movies is a fantastic collection which I believe is worth anyone’s time, especially if you’re a fan of the Pikmin series. It’s perfectly entertaining with its fun, lighthearted storytelling and beautiful visuals. Just being able to see this on an HD screen is worth the price alone.

Well done Nintendo. If you wanted to, you’d make a great animation company in the future.

Recommendations

This comes highly recommended if you have the means. If you have a Wii U or 3DS and have at least minimal knowledge of what Pikmin is about, you should check this out. This will probably be best appreciated by fans of the Pikmin games. This will also do fine for most children between 4 and 10. Animation enthusiasts will definitely find something to love about these shorts. To any others, it’s still worth a shot if you stumble upon it. It probably won’t blow your mind if you don’t know anything about Pikmin.

Verdict: 8/10


Of course, perhaps you’ve already seen the Pikmin Short Movies. Did you like these shorts as much as I did? Is there anything I left out? Leave a comment letting me know  so we can discuss this together. Also let me know if you enjoyed this review and what I can do to improve future ones.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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