Toons Open Sundance; Doc Pair Eyes SpongeBob SquarePants

Animation is making waves at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

First, the Australian claymation feature Mary & Max from writer/director Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet) opened the festival and has earned plenty of attention even as reviews are mixed.

On the pro side, Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says the film is ‘adult yet sweet, tender but not twee, beautifully written, honest about handicaps and melancholia but full of warmth and caring and a general mood of oddball quirk.’

But the trades were less taken with it. Variety writes, ‘Its combo of mordant whimsy and tearjerker moments winds up curdling in an unappetizing fashion.’ The Hollywood Reporter says, ‘The coolness of its technique and the air of melancholy that pervades its story keep a viewer at arm’s length.’

Meanwhile, Variety reports filmmakers Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley ‘ the duo that made the films Wordplay and I.O.U.S.A. ‘ announced plans to make a one-hour documentary about SpongeBob SquarePants as part of the character’s 10th anniversary. The film will air on various MTV Networks platforms in July.