Movie Night!: Matt Partridge's latest animation is an Easter egg-stuffed wave of nostalgia

Take a trip back to a time before streaming services in Matt Partridge's latest animated short, Move Night! Bursting with subtle nods to iconic films, this short feature is a warm, nostalgic nod to an era of home rental videos.

It may sound crazy to younger readers, but there was a time when movies were not available to watch at home at the push of a button. While today, everyone has got used to firing up Netflix, Disney + or Amazon Prime when they want to watch a movie, in the before time, you had to get up, drive to Blockbuster, and rent a VHS (ask your parents) if it was even in stock.

This might sound like something of a chore, but for those old enough to remember trekking out on movie night, it evokes fuzzy, feel-good memories. And it's this exact sensation that East London-based animator Matt Partridge has captured in his latest animated short for Giphy Arts titled Movie Night!

Rendered with beautifully saturated colours that appear to be faded with age (or is that repeated rewindings?) Movie Night! perfectly sums up what it was like to make a trip to the video shop to take out that evening's entertainment. Bursting with film-themed hidden messages referencing classic cinema moments, it's bound to make millennials and older generations look back fondly on a way of life that's gone for good.

Running at just half a minute, Movie Night! results from a very open brief from Giphy Arts, the online platform that helps users animate their world. "Giphy wanted it to be 30 seconds and include sound, " Matt explains. "I planned to create a fun, dynamic short which would instantly hit people with a big wave of nostalgia but also add lots of little Easter eggs and visual jokes for the repeat viewers."

These Easter eggs include the creepy twins from The Shining lurking in the horror aisle, Conan the Barbarian skewering a packet of sweets with his sword, and comedic riffs on retro titles like Stop Or My Mom, Will Shoot. Backed with a synthy soundtrack courtesy of Tom Bell, the animation culminates with all the characters enjoying their movie of choice back at home and basking in the cool orange glow of cinematic entertainment.

As well as being a fun project for Matt, Movie Night! allowed him to reflect on how things used to be. "I love looking back at things we found so normal growing up but that now are a relic of the past," he explains.

"I miss that Friday night trip to your local video store to pick up the weekend's entertainment. It all feels a little too clinical now with streaming services, scrolling through endless pages of titles; I can't help but feel like we've lost some of the mystery by having it all ready and waiting for us." Hear, hear!

Throughout his 18-year animation career, Matt has often drawn on nostalgic cartoons and long-forgotten parts of everyday life, meaning that Movie Night! gave him the perfect opportunity to tie all these interests together.

"I like to use exaggerated comedy to bring relatable moments to life, transforming them into captivating and funny shorts," he says. "I'm a big fan of playing with characters and designing in a distinctive and off-kilter style, which is featured in a lot of my work."

Having previously worked for clients such as Riot Games, Nickelodeon and Passion Pictures, Matt brings a wealth of experience and flair to even shorts like Movie Night! He didn't rest on his laurels, though, and even tried some new techniques.

"I was pretty ambitious with this project," he concludes. "I really wanted to play with design, camera movements and composition, so it was a long process to finish it all with just myself animating, but I got there in the end."


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