The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. (1984)
The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. (1984)

Genre: Short and Fairy Tale Running Time: 2 min.

Release Date: July 25th, 1984 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Alvy Ray Smith Actors:

 


 

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n the early ‘80s, the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project developed a short, computer-animated sequence to demonstrate that a story could be told with simplistic 3D characters. That project was “The Adventures of André and Wally B.,” a rather uneventful piece about an oddly Donald Duck-like blue creature that has a run in with a wide-eyed bumblebee. Their interactions are little more than a one-note joke; it’s so limited, in fact, that Andre’s status as an android is almost incomprehensible. Despite its current undistinguished and archaic animation appearance (the rate at which these visuals improve are astronomical), it wowed audiences at the 1984 SIGGRAPH expo (a convention on the advancements of computer graphics).

Like many pioneers in specialized fields, this production is more notable for its historical significance than for its entertainment value or its innovative imagery – even though it was groundbreaking at the time with its then-unseen animation techniques, including motion blur, detailed backgrounds, and that bouncy type of movement so recognizable from early, black-and-white Mickey Mouse shorts (Andre’s gloved hands are even modeled like that aforementioned icon). Much of the animation itself was done by John Lasseter, who, though at one time fired from The Walt Disney Company, would go on to oversee all of Pixar’s films (from the company’s transition to Steve Jobs from Lucasfilm, all the way through to its acquisition by Disney) and direct the Oscar-nominated “Toy Story” in 1995. The product by itself is unspectacular, but its consequence is enduring.

– Mike Massie

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