torsdag 17. september 2015

After a long period of inactivity I'm finally back to blogging, but unfortunately not to this blog.

 I've decided to consolidate all my blogs into my main blog for a few reasons; the Getglue and later TVtag app meant I wrote most of my opinions/reviews during check-in, something that wasn't transferred to this blog - I've been writing shorter impressions rather than full reviews, but most of all I would like to write about a broader specter of film genres like; B-horror, live-action children's movies, fantasy, and adventure, something I felt I couldn't post anywhere with my very specific genre-related blogs.

My new tag "Bit-size impressions" are my thoughts or small reviews of a movie immediately after watching, and I'll be using this as a way to post more frequently without having to write a full review.

If you still follow or check out this blog from time to time (really? Wow, thank you!) and would like to read some of my newer posts I'd be honoured if you check out my main blog: snark, pedantry and random geekery.

Recent posts that might be interesting if you're interested in animation include:

Bit-size impressions: A Monster in Paris

Osmosis Jones ramblings
This 2001 movie with Chris Rock in the main role featuring obscure buddy-cop movie humour, references to 80s and early 90s movies like Blade Runner and Titanic, a surprisingly good performance by Shatner channeling Nixon, and the worst performance by Bill Murray I've ever seen. [...]

Stuart Little ramblings
Stuart Little is a cute, safe movie. Though the story (Shyamalan? Really?) won't win any awards, it also doesn't feature any problematic scenes, and seems like it would shine as a family movie you can just put on when you want some safe mid-day entertainment while you get stuff done. [...]

Bit-size impressions: Despicable Me 2
Bit-size impressions: Hotel Transylvania

I'm also working on a top ten list of my favourite feel-good movies; mostly animated movies, which I hope to start posting within the week.

Thank you for everything Animaton Enthusiast, I'm off to my new beginning

onsdag 19. februar 2014

Catching up on animation since 2011 (poor blog, I'm so sorry. I really do love this subject matter too):


The trailers didn't grab me at all, it just seemed uninteresting, but wow, this has got to be one of the best Disney films ever. Also ironic was that while Brave was good, it felt like a Disney release, but Wreck it Ralph totally feels like a Pixar release.
The animation is awesome, the 2D retro effects are really well done, but more than anything else the movie has soul, touching moments and cry out loud moments, giving it the special Disney magic.
The brother - sister relationship between Ralph and Vanellope is unique and rather realistic, and Ralph's "growing up" story is one of the best in this genre I've seen in a long time (and I don't even usually like growing up stories).
I challenge anyone to watch Ralph "saving" Vanellope without tearing up, or even bawling their eyes out.

Aardman really goes back to their roots with this movie. Proper stop-motion animation (though heavily enhanced with digital effects), pure British humour, and some of the best, laugh-out-loud moments I've experienced. It has some issues, but the humour is sound, and there's just so many surprising moments that's it's a thrill-ride the whole way through.

Also: Surprisingly curvaceous pirate. Come on, you should watch the movie just for "him".

Sigh, I don't know why this movie didn't do well at the Box office. I think so many expect an animated movie to be for everyone now, and darker moments and story lines are just not accepted.
Guardians has so much uniqueness; it builds it's own, realized fantasy world, it has good 3-dimensional characters for all the guardians, and its story is original and well-told.
Jude Law does an amazing job as Pitch Black, though his character is extremely dark. His nightmares and his demeanor might put him up there with the scariest villains of all time (Scar?).

The other voice actors also really have fun with their roles. Hugh Jackman goes all out on the australianisms, and while I wish North was played by an actual Russian actor, I have to say Alec Baldwin really makes that character.
The movie has some flaws, most notable the completely white cast (this is especially sad because the concept art indicate that the Tooth fairy was inspired by Thai architecture and culture), few female roles, and the whole story and all the characters are there just for Frost.

Having said that the movie is worth seeing just for its world building, and the unique take on the legends' homes. Maybe the movie is just too grown-up for its audience. Like Disney's Treasure Planet I think you might need to be around adulthood to really appreciate the uniqueness of what you're watching.

Notable Character: Phil the Yeti

Now, this might be a bit of a stretch, since I prefer the anime series over the movies (the anime has been re-cut with a few extra scenes into 2 full length movies; Beginnings and Eternal), but I have to say Madoka Magica came out of nowhere (for me, I'm behind on my anime) and knocked me repeatedly in the gut.
The story is a new, darker take on the traditional "magical girl" genre - asking some really difficult questions and surprises again and again with just how dark it is willing to go.
The main characters are very well done, and Homura might be the best character I've seen, ever. She's definitely one of my absolute favourites of all time.
Be warned that it's almost impossible to not watch the whole thing in one sitting - the 2 movies clock in at around 4 hours - the series is 20minX12episodes.
I won't say too much as to not spoil the plot, but I will say that Kyubey is an example to follow for movie makers trying to write such a character. Finally, finally a personality like that done correctly.

Do we really know what we're wishing for? Do we really want our wishes to come true? And what price are we really willing to pay for a miracle?

I'll try to follow up with a post about some more movies - those that I didn't love, but still were memorable enough or distinguished themselves in another way - and a few that either failed to deliver, or could have been so much more. I can only really comment on movies I've seen recently (as in own), so there will be quite a few gaps.

mandag 7. februar 2011

Disney's 50th animation is worth watching

Tangled was great! It drew inspiration from the whole history of Disney fairy tales, keeping a very traditional art direction and story telling.They managed a classic fairy tale that, while not having a very original plot, managed to tell an original story.
Loved the return to a more musical driven film, loved that they weren't afraid to tell a very traditional story, with a traditional ending, and I love that they distinguished themselves from Shrek and Dreamworks, while still keeping faithful to the Disney heritage.

I'm also fond of Disney's continuing path of creating secondary characters with depth, heaps of personality, and flat out lovable. Though, Rapunzel was very fleshed out, and was really created with respect, kudos to Disney for honouring their female lead.

fredag 2. april 2010

Emperor's New Groove

Decided to rewatch this one recently, and it's still one of my favourite Disney films, and surprisingly so, because I don't usually like that form of humour.
It's also the only film I know of that I actually think has a better name in Norwegian than English; Et kongerike for en Llama, A Kingdom for a Llama, which is much more descriptive and suitable for the film.

A Kingdom for a Llama is one of those films I go back to and rewatch every time I'm sick of pretentious animation trying to be more than its plot/humour opens for. Kingdom is nothing like this. It's a purely silly and funny film, and it's fully aware of both its humour type and its target audience, which makes it able to pull off humour, plot, character development and touching moments without jarring from the overall feel.

More than any other Disney film, Kingdom is carried by its actors, and would probably not have a place among my favourites without David Spade. He's funny, arrogant, and pulls off Kuzco to perfection. His comic timing is also totally on point, and works really well together with John Goodman (Pacha). Warburton is also great as Kronk, though rather type-cast.

Some of the physical gags don't work that well on repeated viewings, especially after having seen the Disney channel series, where the "wrong lever, Kronk!" and "I didn't order any [soft or bouncy objects]" gags are rehashed every episode. But, the film is still funny, Kuzco is still a really interesting character, and the plot is well-written (I love the whole "we're totally aware of this big plot hole and we're going to comment on it instead of ignoring it" when Kronk and Yzma reach the lab before Pacha and Kuzco).

It's interesting to watch how they manage to develop lovable, deep characters in a gag comedy like this, and it's also a very good example of good script writing, both plot and lines, within a physical-based humour film.

And my favourite line is still, after at least 4 viewings; "Yay, I'm a Llama again! Wait.."

fredag 26. mars 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Hmm, I'm not sure how to feel about this film. I've been complaining lately that so many animation films try to target too many audience groups and end up not targeting any, but this film is clearly aware of who it's made for; children.
The humour is mostly physical-, sight- and word gags, that work surprisingly well within this film, and is suited for the bright and colourful design.
The film's lowest moments are actually when the script writers are trying to be smart or do grown-up comedy. Most of the films emotional moments are driven by childish comedy, and it works.

Plot-wise it's very simple, adding a black-and-white villain for really no purpose at all, and the film is really driven more by the animation and gags rather than any real plot. In that way it's very similar to "Meet the Robinson's", Disney's second non-Pixar 3d film.
The film wavers between just being a funny, silly film, and actually trying to take it's plot seriously, and that is it's downfall, especially since most of the actors seem clearly aware that this is a silly, children's film, and do their lines in that style. Neil Patrick Harris is the real shining gem here, even if he only says a few words throughout the film.

As a children's film the moral is also very obvious and in your face, with the usual "being special is good" and "realizing yourself" developments for the main characters. It also includes the overly-used Disney favourite of single dad not being able to communicate with his son and alienating him. I'll give them props for the creative solution though.

As it is it's a good film, but it had potential to be just a really silly, amusing children's film, and it's a bit sad that it fell short by, as all recent (non-Pixar) animations have done, trying to take itself more seriously than it's script allows. You're not Pixar, Sony, try to make your own twist on animation instead of trying (unsuccessfully) to copy what has come before. But, based on Sony's previous track record with animation, this is a huge step up (Don't even get me started on "Open season"..), and I'm interested in seeing where they'll go from here.

And now I'll try to wash my brain of the image of feet trapped inside polymer for over 15 years.. Bleergh!

torsdag 18. mars 2010

Oscar nominated animation

Have finally finished watching the Oscar nominated animation shorts.
Interesting combination of animation styles and subjects, not sure what I think about Logorama, the winner. It has too crude humour for me, and I spent the film wishing the Big Boy (?) kid would just die. At least I understood the usage of the logos, as opposed to the previous imdb featured comment, which accused the film of being a marketing vehicle trying to shove as much commercials as it could in 16 minutes..

Of the 5 nominated I personally prefer the Italian "The lady and the reaper", even though it has too much "Benny Hill running around" and the ending was really sad. I seem to prefer animation that tries to convey an emotion, and takes its subject matter seriously, even if it's in a comedy form.

Granny O'Grimm's sleeping beauty is well animated and well voiced, but I wish it had been longer and a bit more complex.

French Roast is a situational comedy, which I actually think should have been shorter, and Wallace and Gromit's "short" (at 30 minutes it's way longer than all the other nominees) follows the standard "Wallace and Gromit" set up. I did like the introduction of some real feelings with Gromit and Fluffles and I think it has improved greatly from the first "Wallace and Gromit" shorts, but for some reason I'm still not very fond of them.

Now I just have to see "The Secret of Kells", and I've seen all the nominated animated films this year, though, the Golden Globes also nominated "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" which I haven't seen yet, and the Baftas nominated completely different animation shorts.

Reviving the blogs

So, I'll try to revive these two blogs. I think my problem last time was trying to be too ambitious.
I wanted to write big reviews of everything I saw, starting with my favourites, leading me to not write about anything new.

This time I've decided not to try writing long reviews, or spoiler-free reviews for people who haven't seen the film yet. This time I'll just write small musings and thoughts about what I view, and not care about length or how professional it sounds.

Lets just see how long it will last this time..