Winner of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore tells the story of a young man whisked away (along with the rest of his town) by a great wind. In a desolate, gray landscape he is lead to a library full of living, flying books and becomes its caretaker, all the while writing a book of his own.
Beautifully told without words, the Lessmore has both the look and mannerisms of a Keaton-esque silent film star. The books, too, are imbued with a fantastic sense of life, despite their limited ability to emote. Lessmore’s main, Humpty Dumpty-like companion is especially well done, the flipping of illustrated pages allowing it to portray more complex emotions. Along with an understated score, it’s a lovely, sweet story. I had meant to watch this before the Oscars, and seeing it now, I find it most deserving of its honors.