I saw Finding Nemo in 3D this weekend (glorious I tell ya, glorious), and was treated to some lovely kiddie flicks comin’ your way. A couple of them seemed so awesome, I shall share:

Wreck-it Ralph (11.2.12)

This looks PRECIOUS AND AWESOME. Life lessons, hilarity, and video games! And a saaweet vocal cast. John C. Reilly, you are so money. And I’m sorry, “Some Nights” was MADE for a trailer montage. I think this movie looks so awesome, re-watching the trailer for this post had me giddy.

Monster’s Inc 3D (12.19.12)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!!!!! Monster’s Inc. is in my top-5 favorite Pixar films, so to find that it’s being re-released in the third dimension was music to my ears. I love love love love this flick. I can’t wait to watch the door-flying sequence with the big goofy glasses on. I’m sure this is also a huge marketing ploy for the sequel, Monsters University, but with the quantity of joy it’s gonna bring me, I hardly care.

Rise of the Guardians (11.21.12)

I’ll admit, this one looks a tad goofy. All of the mythical childhood “legends” coming together to save the world, or something?? When they flashed “from the makers of How To Train Your Dragon” across the screen, they caught my attention, and then the RIDONKULOUSLY STUNNING ANIMATION held it there. It might not look like much on your computer screen, but the 3D trailer blew out my eyeballs.

Guess I’m gonna be seeing a lottt of movies this holiday season. 🙂


Only Shooting Stars Break The Mold

Turns out, animated films are much harder to rate than I expected.  I loved Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King…I could go on forever.  Monsters, Inc., Kung Fu Panda, The Rescuers…okay, seriously.  Gun to my head, these are my top 6:

The Sword in the Stone: This awesome flick made in 1963 was so fucking magical to me as a kid.  And no, I was not yet alive in 1963 but I did see it a couple decades later and it made me laugh and swoon and cry and feel every other warm and snuggly feeling a little girl is capable of.  Even thinking about it now gives me goosebumps.  The songs and the magic and the animals and the wizard’s duel with Madam Mim.  And the fact that it’s such a total underdog story – yes, even then I was a sucker for the underdog.

Toy Story: Though I did enjoy the 2nd and 3rd sequels, neither really compared to the original.  Tom Hanks and Tim Allen set a new standard with regard to cartoon voices.  They totally sold it- the humor, the conflict, the banter- immersing their audience completely in the secret lives of our toys.

How To Train Your Dragon: Toothless and Hiccup are the most adorable, heartwarming duo since Shaggy and Scooby Doo.  I watched this because my nephew insisted on it and, not knowing what to expect, I assumed it’d be as cute and bland as most animated films made in the past few years.  Within minutes, I knew this was something truly special – something as magical and stirring as my favorites from childhood.  Since that first viewing, I’ve watched it three more times (with no child around to “make” me) and each time, found myself engrossed in the story and characters and loving every minute of it.

Beauty & the Beast: The French countryside, the ominous castle, the animated teacups and candlesticks, the threatening woods and wolves, the forbidden west wing, the enchanted rose, the music, the dancing…what could be more magical and captivating than all of that?

Finding Nemo: The very thought of this movie makes my heart swell like I’m the Grinch on Christmas.  From Bruce the great white trying to conquer his carnivorous appetite to Dory speaking whale- this flick made me laugh out loud as well as tear up.  The genius of it!  A fish with short-term memory loss?  A neurotic, control-freak clown fish?  A totally gnarly surfer-dude sea turtle?  Each and every character is not only cute and warm, they’re cool as hell.  Nemo and Marlin and Dory- if I believed in reincarnation, I’d pray to come back as an inhabitant of their sea anemone.

Shrek: This flick was the first (that I could remember) animated movie that aimed to entertain both kids and adults, with the adult-oriented humor artful enough to go right over the heads of the children and the child-oriented humor silly enough to keep them interested.  It’s just so fucking smart!  I saw it in college and laughed almost non-stop.  I loved the pop culture references (the Otis Redding throw-back, Monsieur Hood and the Merry Men) and the spin on the old-as-time fairy tale.  And Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy were completely PERFECT.  Topping it all off, the fantastic soundtrack!  From Halfcocked’s “Bad Reputation” to the soul-wrenching “Hallelujah,” sung so poetically by John Cale, each and every song fit so well and helped turn this child’s movie into a film to span the generations.


Unexpected, What You Did To My Heart

Oy vey was this hard.  When I was a kid, my pipe dream job was to be an animator for Disney, so I love me some cartoons.  I couldn’t condense this list – these are my favorites, dammit.  In no particular order, because that would be fucking impossible:

Anastasia:  An overlooked gem.  Beautiful animation, a total princess fantasy, John Cusack’s sexy voice as one of the hottest hand-drawn men to grace the screen, and the MUSIC, oh how I love it. *cough*I still listen to this soundtrack in the car*cough

How to Train Your Dragon:  My favorite film of 2010, and also probably an all-time fave as well.  The 3D was stunning, the breathtaking flying sequences better than Avatar, and Toothless looks and acts like my cat.  Plus, the soundtrack is stellar.

Kung Fu Panda:  Didn’t expect to like this one, but was oh-so pleasantly surprised.  The celeb vocal talents were fine, but the spectacular animation is what blew me away.  In particular, the kung fu action sequences would give any live-action martial arts flick a run for its money.  The scene where Tai Lung escapes from prison was pretty awe-inducing.

Shrek 2:  Puss N Boots, giving his famous look.  And of course the wit and heart.  I find the other Shreks to be lacking in various departments, but this one got it just right, on all counts.

The Land Before Time:  My favorite childhood film.  Every time I watch it, there’s still a tiny chunk of my brain that thinks, “Maybe THIS time Littlefoot’s mom will make it!”  A wonderful story, fun characters, the happiest ending ever, and the best cheesy song plays over the credits.

Sleeping Beauty:  Old, OLD-ass Disney at its elegant best.  For many years I wanted to name a future daughter Aurora.  Malificent is one of the most exquisite villainesses to grace the screen, and the maternal trifecta of Flora, Fauna and Merriweather adds a level of comfort to this classic tale.

An American Tail:  Oh Fievel, you precious little mouse, you.  Another Don Bluth tour de force.  Seriously, “Somewhere Out There”??  I’ve got goosebumps.

Robin Hood:  This seriously underrated movie is funny, adorable, and has that funky 70s vibe going.

The Little Mermaid & Beauty and the Beast:  I fawn over both of these here.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  This gets forgotten about, but I thought it was beautiful and moving.

Finding Nemo & Monsters, Inc.:  My thoughts on these masterpieces here.

Bolt:  Any cat or dog lover needs to see this sweet tale…I cried, hard, of course.


P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney

I often ask people I know to rank the Pixar movies.  I find this to be a great way to access a person’s worth and intelligence.  Just kidding.  Well, not really…  Anyhow, this has inspired me to rank all eleven Pixar films, which proved to be unbelievably difficult.  It’s probably different, depending on my mood or the time of year, but overall I’d say this is my most accurate lineup.
11-Cars – Ugh.  I actively dislike this film.  The story is uninteresting (unless you’re a 5-year old boy), I don’t really give a shit about cars, and I just can’t get behind anything featuring the vocal “talents” of Larry the Cable Guy.  Double “ugh”.
10-Ratatouille – Hmmpf.  Don’t get me wrong, the animation here is beautiful.  I just found the story of a rat in a kitchen to be a little boring.  Not to mention the kid Remy was helping was distractingly gross and annoying.  I know some people adore this film, but my main memory from watching was “when will this be over?”
9-A Bug’s Life – Completely unremarkable.  I bought it, having never seen it, thinking “it’s Pixar! It’s gonna be awesome!”, and then I was so disappointed that I blew 20 bucks, knowing I’d never, ever watch it again.  In a way, I feel bad for it:  The follow-up to Toy Story was never gonna compare.
8-Up – I know, I know.  The opening montage is heartbreakingly beautiful and had me in tears almost immediately, but the rest of the film is spent failing to live up to those first few minutes.  I’m all for an original story, but the wild birds, balloons carrying a floating house around the world, a chubby little boy scout and a cranky old man . . . it was all a little too odd, and while a solid effort that many, MANY people worship, I just didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to.
7-Toy Story 3 – My least favorite of the Toy Story trilogy, which is not to say that I didn’t really love it, but just not as much as it’s predecessors.  The achingly sad story was bittersweet, and I loved that it came full circle.  It was magical to see all these characters again, and the daycare center scenes were funny, if not a tad scary.  The real truth is this:  I liked How To Train Your Dragon soooooooo much more than this, and I’ll never forgive Toy Story 3 for beating Toothless at the Oscars.
6-Toy Story 2 – A sequel worthy of the original.  I’ll admit that I’ve always found Jessie to be majorly annoying (although the story of her getting abandoned while Sarah McLachlan sings is probably part of the reason I feel BAD FOR INANIMATE OBJECTS and don’t want to throw them away), but it was wonderful to see these characters after falling desperately in love with them in 1995 (holy SHIT I’m getting old).  I haven’t seen this in years, and while reviewing a plot summary, I couldn’t even remember it.  Which just proves that I loved the first one more than this.
Warning about the top 5 – I love all of these next films almost equally.  Slots are subject to change without reason or notice. >:)
5-Wall-E – Oh my god, brilliant.  Brilliant!  What it says about society, and the Idiocracy-like future I’m quite certain our lazy, entitled, fat asses are heading towards is scary and spot-on.  I’m surprised there really isn’t a chain of stores in America called “Buy ‘N Large.”  There’s so much to love here, and when people tell me they found it to be “boring”, or they “just didn’t get it”, my stomach literally turns.  The galactic animation is stunning, and Wall-E himself is quite possibly the cutest hunk of metal ever dreamed up. 
4-The Incredibles – It’s in my top 5, but would hands DOWN be number one on the list of most underrated.  I know virtually three people who have seen this.  Which is a SHAME because it’s sharp, funny, original, and quite a load of fun.  Craig T. Nelson has the perfect “dad” voice, and Jason Lee was great as the whiny, wanna-be superhero.  This is like Spy Kids cross-bred with Despicable Me, if either of those were any good.
3-Toy Story – I’ll never forget seeing this – I was 14, and all I knew was we were going to see a kid’s movie.  I didn’t expect to be destroyed emotionally (in a good way).  I’m sure most people would put this at the top of the Pixar heap, and I’m fine with that.  This was the first CGI feature-length animated film, and it changed and influenced everything that has come after.  It was realistic, funny, made you feel like a kid, and Tom Hanks’ voice is one of the most comforting sounds known to mankind.
 2-Monster’s Inc. –  This might be the most unusual story, animation-wise, that I can think of, and when I found out a few months ago that a sequel is in the works, I actually started crying.  The characters are marvelous – Sully, Mike Wazowski, Boo; vocal talents of Steve-freaking-Buscemi, John Goodman (who Nikki adores), and the born-with-a-voice-for-a-cartoon-character, Billy Crystal.  I remember much being made of the animation quality; how every strand of Sully’s blue and green fur moved and gleamed.  The scene where they’re flying through the stacks of doors was awe-inducing – I can only imagine what that would have been like in 3D.  I’m so excited to see these beloved characters again and find out what they’re up to (especially Boo), I don’t really care what the plot for part 2 is.
1-Finding Nemo – Talk about sobbing your face off in a theater.  The opening for this one is typical Disney all the way – guess what!  You just lost a parent!  Oh man, little Nemo, with his gimpy fin, and over-protective daddy, is immediately and completely heart-wrenching.  The animation is lush and eye-popping; when this came out, people couldn’t stop talking about the gorgeous under-water shots.  Nemo’s life changing adventure, featuring plenty of adorable characters along the way, gets me all verklempt, every time.  This one gets my vote as the pinnacle of Pixar (for today, at least).