Tag Archives: Animation

Review of Corpse Bride (2005)

23 Jan

Corpse Bride (2005) is a stop-motion animated fantasy/musical/family film, which is somewhat similar in style to Henry Selick’s film The Nightmare Before Christmas, except on this one Tim Burton is a producer and a director.

Directed by Tim Burton (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988)) and Mike Johnson (The Devil Went Down to Georgia (1996 Short), The PJs (1999 TV)).

Written by John August (The Nines (2007), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)), Pamela Pettler (Monster House (2006), 9 (2009)) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Addams Family (1991)).

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse and others.

I guess since this is the first movie of his that I review, I should express my thoughts on Tim Burton. I used to really like him and not without a reason. I mean, he’s made some of my favourite films, like Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns, but then as I got older and got more familiar with his films, I sort of grew tired of his heavily stylised visuals. I think Charlie  And The Chocolate Factory and Alice In Wonderland are two lifeless, flawed and gimmicky movies, which shouldn’t exist. However, I still like most of his movies and I still look forward to seeing more from him.

This film has one thing going for it, that makes me enthusiastic right from the first frames. It’s stop-motion animation. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just find it beautiful and fascinating. Here again I got to enjoy this amazingly detailed eye candy. And there’s also something about it, that makes scary scenes really  fucking creepy. Some of it has this eerie silent era horror feel.

There’s some nice touches sprinkled throughout the film. Like the brand plate on a piano saying “Harryhausen”. You know, as in reference to Ray Harryhausen, the great special effects artists, who is known for his work in stop-motion. Or in this other instance, we see a skeleton that looks like Ray Charles. There’s also a funny Gone With The Wind reference, you know the quote.

The skeleton dog is really cute, which if you think about it is kind of weird, so that’s an accomplishment, I guess.

The voice acting is pretty much perfect, but some of the characters were written for the actors, so I guess that helped. Of course there’s Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp again, which I think is something Tim Burton should stop doing. I really like them all, but it’s getting hard to take this seriously. Also Christopher Lee is in the cast, so that’s, of course, awesome.

I’m not the biggest fan of musicals, because they tend to slow down the narrative, but I found the musical numbers quite enjoyable and didn’t mind them at all.

It’s sort of classic plot, but nicely twisted and unpredictable. I really didn’t know how it will end, as I kept guessing if the dead will turn out to be evil or what. And surely enough, the ending surprised me. And afterwards I got that feeling, which reminded me, why I used really like Burton. I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s good and  the same as what I got after watching Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

Overall, a good, well-made, beautiful film and recommended for people of all ages. I liked it a lot.

I hope it's Halloween and not their wedding.

Review of Up (2009)

10 Nov

Up (2009) is a computer-animated adventure/drama/comedy film, which is to date the third highest grossing PIXAR films, only behind Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3.

Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc. (2001), Mike’s New Car (2002 Short)) and this is only his second feature-length movie.

Written by Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo (2003), Ratatouille (2007)), who also served as co-director and a voice actor in this and also Pete Docter (Toy Story (1995), WALL·E (2008)), so there’s CG animation guys all over this.

Starring: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson and others.

This is one of those movies that creates my distaste for the modern animation films. It is so sappy and pushy in the emotional department and at times utterly idiotic and unbalanced and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

It starts of with this story of a little boy, who’s a nerd for this explorer guy and then he meets this androgynous girl, so, as it happens to all about-6-year-olds, they, of course, fall in love, marry and live happily forever after. That is except that time when they were sad that they can’t have children and that other time when after Carl forces Ellie to climb a hill one too many times, she gets sick and dies. At this point it could seem like I just spoiled the whole plot, but no, that’s just the first 15 minutes, also known as the best part of the movie. Then it goes on to this stupid adventure story, which involves huge birds, talking dogs, an annoying kid and some unexplainable logic.

I think PIXAR should just stick with drawing animals because their artistic choice on the designs of the people really baffle me. Why the hell does the main character is the only person to have this huge, blocky head? I don’t seem to recall Spencer Tracy looking like that. Seriously, how come no one notices how horribly disfigured Carl is? It is not fun when the main character of an adventure-comedy is the Elephant Man.

Then there’s this fat, little asian kid, who looks like he’s suffering from Down’s syndrome and his obesity doesn’t make it more appealing. I really hated that kid, I identified with the blockhead only because he was annoyed by him as well. I just wished I could reach in and punch his oddly small face deeper into his irritating head. And I so despise this cliché film trope (e.g. Cop And A Half, Real Steel), where and adult at first doesn’t like a child/animal and by the end has become attached to it, basically a type of a buddy film.

Ed Astner was a good choice for the voice of Carl, others were ok, no stand outs.

I won’t say there weren’t any good jokes, I liked that prehistoric bird, especially when he swallows and then throws up the walker-cane, I also liked that they inserted that Pluto thing, which the dog does at one point. But then it does this stupid gag, when the main bad dog has a broken voice-box, which makes his voice very high-pitched, so the joke is that everything he says is not intimidating anymore and also it uses this idiotic joke, which is common in family films involving animals, the bird Kevin turns out to be a girl. Hilarious, right?

Every time when I saw the balloons attached to the house, I kept remembering that Mythbusters episode, where they fail to lift a child with a shitload of balloons, yeah, it’s a cartoon, I can forgive them not giving a shit about physics. But then there’s this concept children do understand – aging. I mean, how come that this guy that was an adult, when Carl was a toddler, now looks the same age if not younger than him?

I didn’t hate the movie, but also there was nothing I really liked about it. I guess I would recommend it to you if you have lost someone close to you and a movie about coming to terms with the death of a loved one would be something to identify with, otherwise, I don’t see any reason to see this film. PIXAR has done better.

Real tasteful, huh?

Review of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009)

24 Oct

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) is a computer-animated comedy/sci-fi/family film loosely based on a children’s book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett.

Directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s creative team (Clone High (TV)).

Written also by Miller and Lord (Extreme Movie (2008), How I Met Your Mother (TV)).

Starring: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Neil Patrick Harris and others.

I’m not a big fan of these modern computer-animated films, but I still can enjoy them from time to time. And this makes it even more rewarding when I actually like this kind of animated films. And this one might be my favourite of all those I’ve seen.

I mainly enjoyed this so much, because it was actually funny. The jokes were good, the character’s had interesting fun personalities, the visual gags totally work and so on, it succeeds first of all as a sci-fi comedy and only then as an animated family film. It also has the funniest depiction of getting kicked in the eyes I’ve ever seen. I could list a lot of great jokes, but that would be stupid, just know that there’s enough of humor. It also shows how hilarious anaphylactic shock can be.

Another pretty innocent, yet kind of disturbing joke for me was how the main character Flint as a child invents “spray-on shoes” only to discover the effects are irreversible and so he goes on to live with sprayed-on shoes. Somehow this made me think only about how fast his feet would have gotten infected and started to decay, leaving Flint in a wheelchair. Children’s movie my ass. It’s just as Flint says “You can’t run away from your own feet.” So you probably will have to amputate them.

At least here people aren’t as creepy looking (with an exception of main character’s dad, who does suffer from some kind of deformity) as in, for example, Up.

The cast of actors is amazing. Mr.T’s character is hilarious and the opposite mohawk is a nice touch. And everyone else does a great job as well. And I’m glad every time Bruce Campbell is in a major studio movie, even if just his voice.

The score is really good.

The animation is just beautiful, the action scenes and the backgrounds just look spectacular. And I’m glad I didn’t see it in 3D, so I could fully enjoy all the rich colors, although I suppose the 3D works a lot better in animated films and heard some good things said about the use of 3D in this.

Sony Pictures Animation should do more movies like this and less like The Smurfs or Surf’s Up.

As in most animated movies (for marketing reasons) the messages are made to seem subtle, but really are quite obvious and this movie is no exception as it addresses issues like modified food and obesity. Or you can look at it as a religious film, portraying one of the seven deadly sins – gluttony. And that’s what it does, it makes you see that, yes, falling, free food would be awesome, but only for a very short period of time. Also that’s basically a summary of the plot.

So yeah, I thought it was a hilarious and beautiful movie, totally loved it and recommend seeing it, you’ll have some fun.

"I pity the foo' !"