Written, Directed by and Starring:
It must be embarrassing. When I think of the number of big budget Hollywood animated features that truly, truly suck each year, it must be embarrassing for Hollywood when a guy like Italian writer/director Andrea Ricca comes along and creates an entertaining, inventive well rendered blend of anmation and live action short with CGI with one camera, one computer and practically no budget.
Take THAT, Hollywood!
Ricca's third short film, and this critic's introduction to his work, is the delightful The Furfangs, a simple story about a man (Ricca) minding his own business until suddenly a spaceship crashes into his house and out pop four little tribble-sized creatures that half resemble the "Critters" but have the mischievous attitude of those old feisty Gremlins.
While there's no denying the CGI nature of these creatures, they are rendered convincingly and entertainingly with hilariously manifested personalities that manage to come alive despite the film's modest 5:08 run time. It helps, of course, that Ricca is their perfect foil here as he gives the film a sort of dry slapstick touch with his efforts to dispose of these uninvited guests and retrieve the engagement ring that one of them has taken.
While Ricca has historically worked alone on his shorts, this time around finds him joining forces with Gennart Acanfora for the 3D and composting, while Gianfilippo De Martia contributes the film's original score. Acanfora obtains wondrous results given the film's modest budget, nicely incorporating the advanced tech into the rather light, breezy story while De Martia's original music is a perfect complement for the film's funny yet deadly serious goings on.
If Hollywood would put as much love and care into its animated features as is evident in The Furfangs, it would undoubtedly have a transformative impact on the genre itself. Despite having almost no budget to speak of and without a word of dialogue spoken, writer/director and star Andrea Ricca has created a wondrously entertaining, original and beautifully rendered blending together of animation, live action and pure film-making magic.