Geri's Game (1997)

Geri's Game (1997)

1997 | G | 4 Minutes

Family | Animation

An aging codger named Geri plays a daylong game of chess in the park against himself. Somehow, he begins losing to his livelier opponent. But just when the game's nearly over, Geri manages to turn...

Overall Rating

9 / 10
Verdict: Great

User Review

  • Geri's Game plays its move and delivers a "Checkmate!" worthy short film. The greatest opponent we could ever face is ourselves, and Geri certainly faced a formidable alter ego. This elderly innocent man essentially becomes both players in a role playing game of chess that almost borderlines on schizophrenia. Equipped with dirty tricks like pretending to have a heart attack to distract his "opponent". You sly devil! What really impresses, still to this day, is the innovation in human simulation. Specific programming to mimic natural movements and translate them into an animated environment ("subdivision surfacing" it's called). 'Toy Story', Pixar's first feature film, may have beat Geri to the milestone pole. But Geri perfected it. The fluidity in his movement as he aggressively moves pawns, rooks and the almighty king, is nothing short of impeccable.

    It's visual charm only adds to Geri's impenetrable personality. One frame has hands of both "opponents" present, and it's this self-awareness that makes it enjoyable fun. I want to be him when I grow older. Playing chess in an empty park in Paris, leaves static on the ground. It's pure bliss. Speaking of empty parks, obviously the focus is on Geri as a character. As a result, the backdrop and environmental aesthetics are almost painted on the screen. Nothing moves. No cars whizzing past or leaves blowing in the gentle breeze. It makes the world around Geri seem desolate and lifeless. Still, a minor critique in what is an enjoyable short from Pixar. No meaningful message or pulling of the heart strings. Just pure charm that has stood the test of time. Your move...