Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Catching up on animation since 2011 (poor blog, I'm so sorry. I really do love this subject matter too):


The trailers didn't grab me at all, it just seemed uninteresting, but wow, this has got to be one of the best Disney films ever. Also ironic was that while Brave was good, it felt like a Disney release, but Wreck it Ralph totally feels like a Pixar release.
The animation is awesome, the 2D retro effects are really well done, but more than anything else the movie has soul, touching moments and cry out loud moments, giving it the special Disney magic.
The brother - sister relationship between Ralph and Vanellope is unique and rather realistic, and Ralph's "growing up" story is one of the best in this genre I've seen in a long time (and I don't even usually like growing up stories).
I challenge anyone to watch Ralph "saving" Vanellope without tearing up, or even bawling their eyes out.

Aardman really goes back to their roots with this movie. Proper stop-motion animation (though heavily enhanced with digital effects), pure British humour, and some of the best, laugh-out-loud moments I've experienced. It has some issues, but the humour is sound, and there's just so many surprising moments that's it's a thrill-ride the whole way through.

Also: Surprisingly curvaceous pirate. Come on, you should watch the movie just for "him".

Sigh, I don't know why this movie didn't do well at the Box office. I think so many expect an animated movie to be for everyone now, and darker moments and story lines are just not accepted.
Guardians has so much uniqueness; it builds it's own, realized fantasy world, it has good 3-dimensional characters for all the guardians, and its story is original and well-told.
Jude Law does an amazing job as Pitch Black, though his character is extremely dark. His nightmares and his demeanor might put him up there with the scariest villains of all time (Scar?).

The other voice actors also really have fun with their roles. Hugh Jackman goes all out on the australianisms, and while I wish North was played by an actual Russian actor, I have to say Alec Baldwin really makes that character.
The movie has some flaws, most notable the completely white cast (this is especially sad because the concept art indicate that the Tooth fairy was inspired by Thai architecture and culture), few female roles, and the whole story and all the characters are there just for Frost.

Having said that the movie is worth seeing just for its world building, and the unique take on the legends' homes. Maybe the movie is just too grown-up for its audience. Like Disney's Treasure Planet I think you might need to be around adulthood to really appreciate the uniqueness of what you're watching.

Notable Character: Phil the Yeti

Now, this might be a bit of a stretch, since I prefer the anime series over the movies (the anime has been re-cut with a few extra scenes into 2 full length movies; Beginnings and Eternal), but I have to say Madoka Magica came out of nowhere (for me, I'm behind on my anime) and knocked me repeatedly in the gut.
The story is a new, darker take on the traditional "magical girl" genre - asking some really difficult questions and surprises again and again with just how dark it is willing to go.
The main characters are very well done, and Homura might be the best character I've seen, ever. She's definitely one of my absolute favourites of all time.
Be warned that it's almost impossible to not watch the whole thing in one sitting - the 2 movies clock in at around 4 hours - the series is 20minX12episodes.
I won't say too much as to not spoil the plot, but I will say that Kyubey is an example to follow for movie makers trying to write such a character. Finally, finally a personality like that done correctly.

Do we really know what we're wishing for? Do we really want our wishes to come true? And what price are we really willing to pay for a miracle?

I'll try to follow up with a post about some more movies - those that I didn't love, but still were memorable enough or distinguished themselves in another way - and a few that either failed to deliver, or could have been so much more. I can only really comment on movies I've seen recently (as in own), so there will be quite a few gaps.

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