Animated short films are making waves at the moment. From social media viewings to screenings at film festivals, shorts are captivating audiences like never before. With a category in the Academy Awards and many film studios accompanying their feature films with shorts, it is no wonder so many aim to make intriguing and accomplished short films.
For fans of game series The Legend of Zelda a new animated short reveals the backstory of one of its characters. With striking visuals and a brilliant score the short is a huge accomplishment for producers Ember Lab.
Majora’s Mask – Terrible Fate, follows a small Imp that is found crying by two glowing spirits. The Imp follows these lights until he happens upon a sleeping salesman. On finding the man the Imp steals a colourful mask which entices him to wear it. Putting the artifact on the Imp transforms into the all-powerful Skull Kid he is later known as in the series.
Rather than repeating the story seen within The Legend of Zelda series Terrible Fate acts as a prologue. The story of how the Skull Kid begun his journey as an Imp that stole an ancient artifact. The artifact, a mask, grants him great power but also corrupts the wearer.
The short has no dialogue but features a strong authoritarian voice over from the point of view of the salesman, after his mask is stolen. Tone and narrative are established through brilliantly accomplished visuals as well as through the shorts dramatic score. With a mixture of whimsical melodies than accompany the Imp through the forest onto the more atmospheric music as the Imp finds the mask.
As the short is based on an iconic game the visuals are closer to a video game than an actual animation feature. Animated characters have been blended with hyper realistic textures and a more realistic backdrop of forest and trees. In comparison the closest thing to the short stylistically would be The Good Dinosaur. Although the feature did not resonant with audience like the majority of the Pixar back-catalog visually it was some of the studios best work. It combined cartoon like characters with a realistic setting but managed to make the two feel natural, like in this short.
A beautifully animated short that adds to the timeline and back story of the great Zelda series. The short is proof Ember Lab are a studio to look out for.