I Am Groot review: wonderfully insignificant animated shorts
The great streaming series from Marvel and Star Wars making all the headlines, but since its debut, Disney Plus has also slowly become a service full of animated shorts. They… vary in quality. Some are blatant examples of brand synergy, like when Loki or Billie Eilish hang out with the Simpsons for a few painful minutes at a time. But if you dig a little deeper, there are some great things, including some classic Mickey Mouse shorts, a refreshing take on Star Warsand a surprisingly sweet series about Baymax from Great Hero 6. Now you can add I am tall to that short list of shorts.
In retrospect, the series seems inevitable. Ever since Groot (as always voiced by Vin Diesel) was turned into a baby, he’s been the minion-esque comic relief of the Marvel universe. Groot’s presence now often exists as a series of animated shorts tangentially related to the Guardians of the Universe movie he happens to be in. Why not turn those into standalone short films? I am tall is extremely short; the episodes are only a few minutes long each and the whole thing lasts about 20 minutes. That’s basically as long as a post-credits scene in the MCU.
But it works well here – the gimmick doesn’t last long enough to outshine its welcome. There is also a surprising amount of variety. One short has the feel of a science fiction horror story, while the other involves a fistfight with a bonsai tree. It’s all very silly and unimportant, and the slapstick comedy is built around Groot’s tendency to 1) get very upset about the smallest inconvenience and 2) make extremely bad choices. Not much to say about it other than it’s fun and wacky and will especially appeal to the kind of people who loved seeing a little Groot dancing in a flower pot in the live-action movies. There is a scene where he surfs on a bar of soap.
I am tall is not the kind of series to sign up for a new streaming service. But I wish we saw more experiments on these platforms. The big budget shows like Loki or Obi-Wan are great – don’t get me wrong. But without a traditional TV schedule to stick to, I’d love to see more unusual things like I am tall, especially considering how vast all these fictional universes are. That’s part of the reason I enjoyed it What if…? this much. It just felt different.
That may already be happening, at least in part, given the rather sizable lineup of Marvel animated series in the works for Disney Plus. Some will expand the canon of the MCU, filling in the details untouched by the live-action movies and shows. But hopefully there are at least a few as wonderfully insignificant as watching Groot relax in a hot tub.
I am tall will stream on Disney Plus on August 10.