Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ottawa International Animation ’16: Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service (short)

Back when Saturday Night Live was funny they had a gag commercial for Einstein Express: “when it absolutely, positively has to be there the day before yesterday.” The Three Little Ninjas can top that. They pledge to deliver “whatever, whenever, wherever” and they have the packing tape and time travel capabilities to back it up in Karim Rhellam & Kim Claeys’ short film Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service (trailer here), which screens during the 2016 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Their storefront looks unassuming, but the flyers the Three Little Ninjas distribute through space-time wormholes do not lie. You might think they have their work cut out for them when an entitled princess in a fantasy realm who does not want to be rescued orders a replacement dragon, but the trio merely jaunt back in time to pick up a dinosaur. Okay, so they are not paleontologists, but they are definitely close enough for government work.

The Three Little Ninjas are just good, clean, slightly un-PC madcap fun. Delivery Service is clearly intended as a proof-of-concept pseudo-pilot, which is fine, since animation fans would definitely welcome regularly deliveries in the future. If it becomes some kind of franchise, Rhellam & Claeys will eventually have to do more to differentiate the Ninjas’ personalities, but as a one-off, the ruckus energy of it all is thoroughly entertaining.

Seriously, ninjas, time travel, dinosaurs, and obnoxious royals—what more can you ask from an eleven-minute short film? Highly recommended for animation fans of all ages, Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service screens this Saturday (9/24) and Sunday (9/25) as part of the Short Films for Young Audiences programming block at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival.