Posts Tagged ‘ Animation ’

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) – 4/5

Beautiful, imaginative, funny film with a creative, unpredictable story and a charming main character that actually makes you care for her despite not actually existing in any tangible way. Great job, girl voice actor! I’m talking about the US dubbed version since this movie has been redone with different voice actors a bunch of different times through the years. I would have preferred the original with subtitles cause I’m an elitist snob like that, but this was a pretty damn good dub all things considered.

The movie is very beautiful, and features classic animation I think, the paper and pencil kind that’s since mostly, and sadly, gone out of style. You can kind of tell by the jittery movement of some of the frames, but it doesn’t matter, it’s still great looking, and the story is deep and rich, with nice little touches here and there that really add to the film’s overall sense of wonder and magic. I loved the little world they created here, and wish they had gone into it more as a lot of the deeper stuff is only merely hinted at most of the time, or mentioned in passing, like the thing with theĀ  rats.

I guess such things are part of the story’s unpredictability, but I was really expecting the rat element to come back somehow in the end, especially with the whole “sword” thing being introduced early on. But nope. Oh well. It still works.

I also liked how none of the characters are quite what they seem: you think the main girl is going to be this **SPOILERS** big predictable spunky Disney female type character who loves getting into adventures and doing “boy stuff,” and she is at first, but after she’s discovered by the big guy she actually learns from her mistake and becomes extremely cautious and reserved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such character growth in a kids’ film before.

Same with the “friendship” she has with said big guy throughout the film. From the trailers you think it’s going to be this close, sappy, borderline romantic relationship, but no, it’s not like that at all. In the end they make it seem like it was, and maybe to them it seemed that way since they were both essentially just children, but to me, it didn’t feel like that at all. Their relationship is quick, distant, and cold, almost to the point where I had a hard time buying it at all. Their initial meeting is awkward and forced, like the filmmakers were rushing to bring these two together and establish them as friends as quickly as possible for the sake of the plot, except they forgot to include the part where they actually become friends in any kind of believable manner.

And they’re not even friends really; he’s dying and wants someone to talk to, and she needs his help at the end finding her mother. Aside from that, though, their relationship mostly consists of him trying to get her to talk to him and her telling him to leave her alone. Just like one of my typical relationships, in other words. Hey-O!**END SPOILERS**

Overall, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie, flaws and all. Sure, the world could have been explored more, and sure, aspects of the relationship between our two main characters weren’t quite as defined as what we’re used to from a film of this kind, i.e. a cartoon, but it’s still extremely engaging and imaginative and suspenseful and downright hilarious at times. And what excellent voice acting all around. A very, very enjoyable movie. And the ending was even a little sad. Totally wasn’t expecting that.

The best of 2012 so far, even though it came out in 2010. Worth watching!





Where the Wild Things Are (2009) – 4.5/5

Let me start by saying that this movie is un-freaking believable. Literally, in this case, as it’s about a boy that somehow finds himself on an island inhabited by huge furry creatures with big eyes and strangely expressive faces. That’s the whole movie, folks. Just a kid and a bunch of monsters running loose on an island for 2 hours. But it works, and it works brilliantly.

What I really loved about this film, other than the great direction/cinematography/acting/CGI, is the overall metaphor present in the story. On the surface, it’s just a film about a boy, Max, who runs away from home and finds himself on an island inhabited by said monsters. But it’s much more than that.

The film is really about growing up, and the sadness that comes with having to let go of a rather carefree existence for the responsibility and heartache that comes with maturity. The monsters on the island are sad, angry things that yearn for the days when they were younger and could just play all day and sleep in big piles at night. But those days are gone, despite their struggles to believe otherwise.

The little boy is just at the cusp of this transition, and the film is basically an imaginative journey of his thoughts and feelings as he crosses this threshold. There’s so much more to this movie, though, but alas, this is a measly blog film review and not worth pages and pages of my interpretation. All I’ll say is, man can that Spike Jonze direct.

It’s probably the best film I’ve seen this year so far, and I’ve seen a ton, almost all, actually. Except Transformers 2, but I doubt that that would be better. Sure, the story may not always be straightforward or make sense, but so what? It shouldn’t have to. Its abstract nature works to great effect. Well worth the watch. Well worth it.

Ponyo (2008) – 4/5

Cool film. Didn’t really understand all of it, but that’s to be expected with these kinds of films. The point of films like this is to look at the pretty animation and go “oooh, ahh” and be amazed by it all, and I was, story be damned.

Though compared to Miyazaki’s other films, this is about as straight and coherent a narrative as you’re going to get. And it is very enjoyable, and pretty. I especially liked the scene where the waves are chasing the car up the mountain and the little girl is hopping from wave to wave to keep up with it; very well done.

It’s also charming and cute in its own way. The little fish girl thing is adorable, though the notion of her turning human to be with the little boy is a bit odd. Wasn’t she his pet? What’s going on there? And what was with the supposed “villain” at the end? Didn’t he initially have a plan to wipe out all of mankind or something at the beginning of the movie? What happened with all that?

So, yeah, it’s unconventional and doesn’t really make sense, but it’s entertaining and very well animated. Worth seeing.

The Princess and the Frog (2009) – 4/5

Hmm. Yeah, a good movie, though somewhat forgettable looking back on it. Not as good as Disney’s older stuff, but still entertaining and very nice to look at.

The story was interesting, but nothing you haven’t seen before. The villain was the best part; too bad there wasn’t more of him. He just never felt like a real threat. Even his motives were a bit hazy. But this is a Disney film, so I shouldn’t have expected anything too serious.

It accomplishes what it sets out to do. The songs are pretty good, the animation is great, there’s plenty of humor and heart. It’s just a good all around children’s film. Nothing more, nothing less.

Worth watching, sure.