The Animation Show

dir. Various

Opens Fri Sept 26

Cinema 21

The Animation Show is being billed like this: "Finally! An Animation Festival with the Artists Themselves at the Helm!" Who is "at the helm" here? Two giants: Mike Judge, creator of King of the Hill and Beavis & Butthead, and Don Hertzfeldt, whose prank series "Rejected" remains one of the funniest works ever doodled upon celluloid (and which, thankfully, is included here). What they've assembled is a somewhat uneven package, the highlights of which are their own work, along with Tim Burton's gloomy, beautiful "Vincent" (pure genius) and Cordell Barker's goofy "Strange Invaders." Also on tap are the weird "Mt. Head" from Koji Yamamura, and the beautiful, but fairly dull "The Cathedral" from Tomek Baginski (plus the requisite work from Bill Plimpton). Beware the "Ricardo" series, however--it ain't funny in the least.

What does this all add up to? That there is enough good work on display in The Animation Show to satisfy animation freaks (that is, if they haven't seen everything already--which chances are they have). This, though, is a bit of a problem. Those who are not rabid fans (or who merely enjoy what they've seen of Judge's work) may find themselves underwhelmed; somewhat surprisingly, Judge and Hertzfeldt's control over the project does not make for the greatest animation compilation ever, just another adequate one--no matter how the package is being billed.