Monday, January 23, 2012

OSCAR WATCH: The Animated Films

Animated Feature is a fairly easy category to predict at the Oscars. Usually, there is one film that everyone rallies around and it sweeps all the awards. For the 2009 awards season, I was flabbergasted by the critical acclaim for "Up" (overrated, imho), which even landed it in the Best Picture lineup. As a result, I set out to go through the other top contenders in the animated field, to see what all the fuss was about. My favourite of the bunch turned out to be "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs", which failed to get the Oscar nod. This year, the first animated film I watched was the frontrunner "Rango" and once again I was left underwhelmed. So once again, I decided to check out what its competitors were offering.

First, I checked out "Kung Fu Panda 2". With beautiful animation, kick-ass kung fu and a smattering of clever jokes, this was quite an enjoyable time. In my opinion, it is actually an improvement over the original. Dreamworks continues to provide a strong challenge to Pixar’s domination of the animated world.

Next up was Aardman Animation’s "Arthur Christmas", delivering much of the clever humour that we have come to expect from the studio. I really loved this one, as it really filled me with so much joy. The animation isn’t as great as a Dreamworks or Pixar production but the story was wonderful. Am I the only person who cried in this movie?

I then checked out "The Adventures of Tintin". This is a good ole adventure film in the usual Spielberg style. The film is beautifully rendered in motion capture, but I couldn’t help but feel like they were cheating (is it animation or live action?). The animation was very life-like, prompting a fellow audience member to ask at the beginning –"I thought this was a cartoon!". I can’t see Oscar’s animation branch championing this one. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but on a purely surface-level basis, as the story lacked any real depth.

Next, I looked at "Rio". The film has colorful animation with great voice acting and catchy songs. The storyline however was a bit too familiar.

Finally, I checked out "Puss in Boots". To be honest, I found this film incredibly lame and I wasn’t that impressed with the animation. The "Shrek" franchise really lost its spark years ago (since "Shrek 2").

For my personal rankings, my favourite was Arthur Christmas followed by: Kung Fu Panda 2, The Adventures of Tintin, Rio and Puss in Boots.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen that many animated films this year. I loved Kung Fu Panda 2 (and I hate how it has been ignored this entire year). I liked (but didn't love) Rango, which I think ultimately wins this category. I thought Rio was okay, but as you said the storyline was really average. I was very disappointed by The Adventures of Tintin. The motion-capture process didn't bother me at all, but the characters (besides Haddock) were paper-thin. I guess I have to check out Arthur Christmas now after the high praise you give it.