Friday, 12 February 2010

2009 in Review: Animation

Click on the links for my thoughts.
It’s been called a banner year for animation. I wouldn’t dispute the claim since I cannot recall the last time that any given year had such a prolific spread of animated films – not that animated films especially float my boat, but when they’re good I’m contented. The first animated film I saw this year was Up. I didn’t review it, though I gave it a B. I’ve never been particularly fond of the Pixar Studio. I don’t hold anything in particular against them – Finding Nemo and Ratatouille stand at the top of my appreciation for them; but the monopoly they’ve held over the animated race for the last few years whilst other good pieces (Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir, Corpse Bride) go unnoticed always irked me, but I digress. Up was fine, I’ll admit that I was particularly moved by that justifiably lauded opening sequence, but I also couldn’t help feeling emotionally cheated either since the remainder of the film was good but unremarkable.
I would say that this blasé feeling towards Up only incensed my appreciation of Coraline hastening my desire to give it an A-; but now months and multiple viewings after Coraline only gets better for me. Ponyo (C) and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur (D+) passed by but left me unmoved for the most part as did Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs - for such a rich premise the film felt oddly unappealing to me. Monsters vs Aliens was better, though not by much. It’s the sort of pop-cultural animated piece that charms whilst playing but is forgotten a few days later. Disney’s return to form in The Princess & the Frog was much appreciated. Musically propelled animated films are a lost art, and though it was not a magnum opus it was good enough and earned that B+. It boasted one hell of ensemble that was only matched with my last animated film of the year The Fantastic Mr. Fox . George Clooney did what he does best – be himself, but it was Meryl Streep as the wife of the eponymous fox that really sold me - absolutely fascinating. Still, the voice work from the entire cast was superb – it was an adaptation that would have done Roald Dahl proud, which is ironic since Coraline’s creator Selick had done another enviable Dahl adaptation in 1996.
Eight animated films in one year is quite much for me, even though I didn’t see them all. Mary & Max has been lauded by a few persons whose opinion I value and The Secret Life of Kells was the Oscar surprise that I suppose no one seems to have seen (coming), myself included
See my (boring)  ballot HERE, what were your thoughts on the animation this year?


Castor said...

I have yet to see Coraline but your raving reviews only make me want to see it sooner. Sadly, I have only seen Up from this year's crop...

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

see coraline. coming from a child, my nephew loves it. and it is really good.