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Western Animation: Paperman

Paperman is an animated short film made by the Disney company. It premiered in November 2, 2012 in front of the animated film Wreck-It Ralph. The short is about a romance between two strangers, made possible by papers carried by the wind. It is notable for its use of experimental techniques being Black-and-White, and using a combination of 2D and 3D animation. It won the Oscar for 2013's Best Short Animated Feature, beating out The Simpsons short "Maggie Simpson in: 'The Lost Daycare'".

The story features a man (named George) and a woman (named Meg) who meet at a train platform as they go to work, after a gust of wind slaps a leaf of paper he was carrying on her face (imprinting it with her lipstick, the only bit of color in the entire film). They barely have any time to get to know each other, however, as Meg boards a train before he can work up the nerve to speak to her.

To George's surprise, he soon sees Meg again from the window of his office building! It turns out she's interviewing in the building across the street! He tries to catch her attention with paper airplanes, but finds it very challenging to do. Will budding love triumph in such circumstances?


Tropes found in the film:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: George pulls off some improbable shots except the one that counts.
  • Adorkable: George.
  • All There in the Manual: George and Meg's names.
  • Amusing Injuries: Poor George gets dragged around helplessly by several paper airplanes, while Meg only has to chase a paper airplane whimsically. Justified in that the paper airplanes only started assaulting George because he wouldn't follow them whereas Meg didn't need any convincing.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: All the paper airplanes come to life to lead George to Meg, while the one with her lipstick does the same for her.
  • Book Ends: The short begins with George and Meg at a train station, the latter chasing a piece of paper. At the end, Meg chases the lipsticked paper airplane back to the train station and finds George there.
    • Also, if one pays attention, Meg pushes back a lock of her hair nervously both times she meets George.
  • Creator Cameo: Director John Kahrs provides George's vocal effects.
  • Cleopatra Nose: George sports this. It makes him reminiscent of Roger from 101 Dalmatians.
  • Cute Mute: Both protagonists say nothing throughout the whole short.
  • Deliberately Monochrome
  • Deus Ex Página: Once George's quaint lovelorn pursuit runs into a dead end, his failed paper airplanes tap into The Power of Love and come to life, reuniting him with Meg.
  • Disturbed Doves: When George and Meg meet again. Except they are not doves but... paper airplanes?
    • And prior to this, one of George's planes manages to peg a pigeon mid-flight.
  • Double Take: George does this the first time he catches a glimpse of Meg. Meg in turn does this when she realizes the paper plane that's landed next to her is the same sheet of paper she accidentally kissed that morning.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Poor George gets dragged through the city like a rag doll to meet Meg.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Granted, he's in a building on the other side of the street, but if Meg had just turned her head slightly and looked out the window at any point during her interview it would have saved George a lot of grief. George, in turn, ends up in a sulk towards the end about failing in his attempts to get Meg to notice him, and so doesn't notice that there's something a bit strange about the way the paper planes seem to be following him trying to get his attention until they're piling on top of him and forcing him through the streets.
  • The Forties / The Fifties: Judging from the architecture, fashions and cars, there's a very mid-20th Century feel to the whole thing.
  • Hartman Hips: Meg.
  • Logo Joke: The end Disney logo is in this short's style, with a paper airplane providing the over-the-castle arc.
  • Love at First Sight: Although they don't actually speak, both George and Meg seem pretty smitten with each other within seconds of first meeting.
  • Magic Realism
  • Mean Boss: George works for one, a cold, ultra-serious frowning man, who is constantly giving him paperwork.
  • Medium Blending: CGI carefully tailored to capture the look of hand-drawn animation. How carefully? Disney created an entire suite of new technology to achieve the look and intricacies of hand drawn animation. One can find a short about the technology on the web.
  • Meet Cute
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon
  • No Names Given: Not in the actual film, but the model sheets do reveal the girl's name is Meg and the guy's George.
  • Object Tracking Shot: Following the lipstick stained paper-plane.
  • The Power of Love: Brings paper airplanes to life, apparently.
  • Shout-Out: When the papers first become animated, they move like the brooms in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
  • Silence Is Golden: This short film showed Disney going back to their roots, with the only sounds being grunts, giggles, and sighs from the characters.
  • Splash of Color: Meg's red lipstick and red kissmark on the paper.
  • Take This Job And Shove It: Pretty much George, when Meg leaves the other building and the boss appears with a new stack of paper.

William JoyceAcademy Award for Best Animated Short FilmThe Simpsons
The PaintingAnimated FilmsPaprika

alternative title(s): Paperman
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