Friday, June 06, 2014

Hey, Look Over There!

Yahmdallah links to Time Out's 100 Best Animated Movies, here. I've seen 58 of these (missing the bulk of anything Japanese that didn't come out of Studio Ghibli), so I'm hardly entitled to quibble. But:

1) I really dislike The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and think it's way too high on the list. This isn't a knee-jerk “Not Wes Anderson!” response, either — I've enjoyed watching actors sink their chops into what Anderson hands them (I'm thinking particularly of Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums). And I won't deny TFMF its technical virtuosity. But as I snarked to Y-man, if you contrast Fox with The Nightmare Before Christmas you see the difference between a director who's really pleased with himself, and a director who's taken such a deep pleasure in the work that he has disappeared from view.

2) Rango has its amusements, but is a bust on all sorts of levels. I would have left it off the list and added Flushed Away, which came first, and told the same story — successfully.

3) Nice to see Waking Life included. I'm also a big fan of Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, and would have made sure it was on the list — probably a slot or two higher than Waking Life, actually.

Speaking of Richard Linklater: wow, does this movie poster ever look unpromising:

Still, the kids are fond of him. And it's not like I'm a Jack Black hater, per se. He just makes me . . . wary.*

So, remembering that I've yet to be disappointed by a Linklater movie, I went ahead and took it home from the library. I was hooked within the first 20 minutes. Better yet, the conceit of the movie never dawned on me until the end credits started to roll, at which point the whipsaw effect of realisation was so dramatic I had to go back and watch the damn thing from beginning to end again. What fun!

Enjoy your weekend.

*As does Will Ferrell, although Ferrell threatens to nudge me further. The LEGO Movie! would have been nearly perfect if Ferrell had remained nothing but a voice. I mean, I understand why they went “meta” by movie's end — much like a viewer can understand why Spielberg went with the mawkish opening and closing scenes for Saving Private Ryan — but dramatically that scene is the least engaging of the entire movie. Starkly so, when contrasted with the rest of the movie — again, much like Ryan. But rest assured: LEGO! is the better movie.


Joel said...

I just had a look at your link.
My initial knee-jerk reaction was to get pissed off at some of the choices, but then I remembered that the whole point of generating lists like this is to provoke controversy because someone else out there doesn't think exactly the same as you.

I've got a fair amount of nostalgia for the old Disney animation, which probably biases me somewhat towards them.

There's also perhaps a question of whether to judge something by the standards of its time, or by the standards of how well it holds up today. I mean, some of those old Disney animated movies just blow me out of my seat when I remember they were made back in the 1940s and 50s. And all hand drawn at that! But how much credit do they get for being ahead of their time, and how much should everything be judged equally?

And like you, I haven't seen 90% of these movies, which makes it hard to quibble.
All that being said, I was glad to see Peter Pan on the list, but would have put it in the top ten instead of at 100.
Alice in Wonderland and the Jungle Book would also have rated higher on my list.

The Lion King I think is absolutely terrible, for all the reasons that this reviewer outlines here:

I liked the TFMF, but maybe not liked it enough to defend it in the top 10.

I agree with you that Rango was largely disappointing.

Flushed Away did make their list, didn't it? I thought I saw it. (Although can't be bothered to click through the whole thing again and double check now.)

Darrell Reimer said...

It's also a click-heavy, rely-on-your-server list, so I don't expect anyone to go back and sort through it a second time. But, no: no Flushed Away. Chicken Run, yes, and Wallace & Grommit Curse of the Were-Rabbit. But no Flushed Away.

Darrell Reimer said...

How were you on the Anime titles, Joel?

Joel said...

Sorry for the late reply.
In spite of my long years in Japan, I never really got into Anime. I'm afraid I'm no better than you on those titles.