After a cross-company push, Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story is now available on Google Play.  And after viewing it, I must say it is not what I expected.  I first heard about this project during the D23 Expo.  I envisioned a cute little series that promoted vinylmation.  Think of the recent Swampy series but with vinylmation instead of gators.  Happily, I can say that this project’s scope was far larger than anything I envisioned.

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First, I have to admit I was prejudiced.  I am not a huge vinylmation fan and the cynic in me just felt that this was going to be one of those odd videos Disney makes to promote merchandise. Instead, I got something similar to The Lego Movie.  While the tone is much different, they both use a toy line to tell a story in successful ways.  While The Lego Movie is humor driven, Blank is a touching piece.

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The story itself reminds me of the Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet sequence in Make Mine Music; a moving love story that uses music to make you care about inanimate objects.  The score is reminiscent of Michael Giacchino’s score from Up and that is good as the music is important since there is no dialogue.

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I really enjoy Blank, but I feel that it is released in the wrong format.  I understand that Blank is made by Disney’s online group, but to truly appreciate the short it needs your full attention.  It is nearly impossible for me not to get distracted during a 40 minute online video.  We live in a second-screen world and Blank doesn’t work if you have three windows open on your computer and an iPad in the other hand.  Those that are able to see the short at the El Capitan Theatre of Disney’s Hollywood Studios are in luck as that must be a far superior way to see this nuanced short.  For those not so lucky, I recommend going against your instinct and give Blank your full attention.  A great way to spend this Valentine’s Day would be sharing this piece with the one you love.

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I applaud Disney Interactive for pursuing a project this ambitious.  Let’s hope they continue in this direction, for even if Blank is not your cup of tea, us Disney fans are served better when Disney keeps trying new things.

In the end, I find myself wanting more stories with these characters.  So that alone, would call Blank a success in my book.

Blank is currently a free download on Google Play.