The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Can't believe you watched it. Why did you continue when it looked like it was going to be eliminated?
I'm a masochist, maybe?

Mostly so the troll has no ground to accuse me of not giving it a fair shot - or at least that's what I told myself. Also I couldn't sleep last night.

WALL•E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)

Date Watched: 11/1/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: gbgoodies's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes

I've seen this movie many, many times and - while it's not quite my favorite Pixar film - it is a shining example of the of the quality that the studio made their name on. It is an absolute joy to watch - with gorgeous colors, wonderful humor, an imaginative story, a beautiful romance, and endearing characters.

Despite being a robot that was designed simply to compact and move garbage - and one of the least sophisticated machines in the film - Wall•e demonstrates the most emotional range and the most human-like traits of any character in the film, actual humans included. In many ways, he's like a toddler - full of innocence, curiosity, and just a touch of mischief. He's a collector of trinkets and trash - of anything that interests him, but at the film's start we find that his only companion is a cockroach. (BTW, who knew an animated roach could be so damn cute?)

All that changes when an Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator probe arrives on Earth with a classified directive. Wall•e is smitten and these early scenes between Wall•e and Eve - with his clumsy attempts to win the affections of the fierce and beautiful newcomer - are incredibly sweet.

And while there are underlying themes about consumerism and humankind's abuse of the environment, the love between Wall•e and Eve is what carries the film. The scene where the pair dances in space is nothing short of magical and the later scenes where Eve discovers the depth of Wall•e's devotion to her and her realization of how much he means to her are absolutely heartwrenching.

But it's not all about love and tears. It's also about laughter - from sight gags like Wall•e's confusion over where to place a spork, to more physical comedy like his interactions with the Microbe Obliterator (Mo) - I find myself far more amused by this than by most live action comedies.

While it might not be a truly perfect film (though if there's a flaw, I'm blind to it), it is for me at least a perfect film watching experience, and this may well be the first HOF in which the number one movie on my ballot likely won't be my own nomination.

That's a terrific review of WALL•E. I hope everyone in the HoF enjoys it as much as you did.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.

The Secret of NIMH (Don Bluth, 1982)

Date Watched: 11/2/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Clazor's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes

The thing about NIMH that I really love is how it doesn't talk down to its audience. Like all great children's films, it trusts them to reach beyond their comfort level a little bit to meet its story. It really respects its audiences.
As I was watching this film tonight, I kept thinking about the quote above and how accurate it is. The Secret of NIMH is a children's film about determination, bravery, and love. But that tale is also about vivisection, torture, powerlust, betrayal, and murder. It is a very dark film, both in subject and atmosphere.

I also really respect the choice of protagonist. Mrs. Brisby is not the kind of film heroine you might expect to see. She is not strong in body and she isn't trying to be a hero. She is simply a widowed mother, forced to find courage and risking life and limb in her struggle to protect her children.

But the film is not perfect, the comedic relief of Jeremy and Auntie Shrew is stretched too far at times and I have mixed feelings about the inclusion of magic in the film. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (yes, that's Frisby with an F, but the name was changed to Brisby in the film to avoid trademark infringement with Frisbee), the children's novel on which the film is based, did not include any of the mystical elements found here. Nicodemus was not a wizard and there was no magic amulet. I personally have a distaste for fantasy, but I do understand that these things appeal to a lot of people and I will admit that it does add to the film's sense of adventure and adds an aura of mystery to the proceedings.

Still, it's a very good film, a strong nomination, and is probably more worthy of a place on the MoFo Animation Countdown than some of the films that actually made the cut.


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
You're starting to become Iro-like the way you're churning these out.

Very nice review of Wall-e. As I think you know I adore that little fella and the film. I've never actually seen Secret of NIMH. I had it down as a possible watch for the animation countdown a year or two ago but never got round to it. If you're a fan then I should get on it

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Absolutely adore Wall-E!! And a big fan of Dark City since first seeing it on the big screen when it first came out.
Haven't seen Secret of Nimh for decades and have yet to see Wolf of Wall Street, but will eventually.

Great reviews down the line!!

The Last Unicorn (Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr, 1982)

Date Watched: 11/3/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: CosmicRunaway's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No.

I'm a little torn on how to rate this. On one hand, it is beautifully animated, has solid voice performances, and a pretty unique story. On the other hand, it's filled with things I really, really don't like.

My biggest gripe is right there in the title - The Last Unicorn. Unicorns. Heavy fantasy. UGH.

But not just unicorns - wizards, witches, magicians, a harpy, a talking tree with gigantic boobs, a peg-legged cat with an eye patch who talks like a pirate for some reason, a bull made of fire, a butterfly that sings and speaks in riddles, and a skeleton that guards the passageway to the bull's lair. As if that weren't bad enough - it's a musical. Sort of, there's only a couple musical numbers but they are there and they're really annoying. So is the theme song by America that plays ad nauseum throughout the film.

Granted, there are other fantasy animations that I enjoy, even animated musical fantasies like Alice in Wonderland and The Nightmare Before Christmas - but the former has nostalgia and a lot of whimsy on its side and the latter has a macabre aesthetic and dark humor that appeal to me. But I do have to wonder if I would've enjoyed this even as a child and the answer is probably not. I had a higher tolerance for both fantasy and musicals back then, but I still gravitated to more whimsical material and to animated films centered around animal characters rather than mythical creatures.

But again, it is beautifully animated, easy to follow and has good performances. It's just really not my kind of movie.


Night on the Galactic Railroad (Ginga-tetsudô no yoru) (Gisaburô Sugii and Arlen Tarlofsy, 1985)

Date Watched: 11/4/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: jal90's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No.

I don't think I'd ever heard of this film prior to its nomination in the Animation Hall of Fame and it's unlike most films I've seen.

Though beautifully animated and possessing solid voice performances, Night on the Galactic Railroad is not a film for the attention deficient. It is quiet and contemplative with a hazy, surreal, dream-like atmosphere and somber mood. There is little action to speak of and the film is devoid of humor.

I had some very mixed feelings about it overall. While I have nothing but respect for the look and general feeling of the story, I struggled to connect with Giovanni or Campanella - the film's primary characters. I wasn't completely without sympathy for them, but my emotional investment in them was tenuous at best. I do think there is potential for this film to grow on me with a repeat viewing, however, so I may revisit it sometime in the future.


Treasure Planet (Ron Clements and John Musker, 2002)

Date Watched: 11/5/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MovieMeditation's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.

Cyborgs, robots, portals, aliens, space surfing - All these things had me rolling my eyes several times during the movie, but damned if I didn't have a good time with it in spite of myself. Technically this re-imagining of Treasure Island was a rewatch, but I only saw it once in the theater 14 years ago and had pretty much forgotten it since.

The basic premise is that a teenaged boy tries to rescue a mysterious stranger that crashes near his mother's inn. The boy discovers a strange object that the stranger was carrying but before he can figure out what it is, the stranger's pursuers arrive and burn down the inn, while the boy, his mother, and a family friend narrowly escape. Later they discover the object is actually a map to a legendary treasure. Trying to redeem himself, the boy and the friend hire a ship and crew and set out to find the treasure.

And, of course, being a Disney film we can't possibly be without the cutesy sidekick or the comic relief - found in the form of a morph (a creature that can change shape and resemble any object or creature it chooses) and an obnoxious robot (with memory loss, voiced by Martin Short, which didn't help matters) respectively. Also, being Disney, the protagonist couldn't possibly have had a stable and happy childhood. No, we MUST remove at least one biological parent from the picture, so our protagonist Jim is dealing with daddy issues after his father abandoned him and his mother.

So, of course, while on his adventure Jim finds a new father figure in an unexpected place, only to be betrayed by him. But - shockingly - the new "daddy" redeems himself and helps Jim save the day and make it possible for Jim's mother to rebuild the inn.

But I don't mean to complain - too much. As one would expect from Disney, the film is beautifully animated and features solid voice performances and a good score. It also features some pretty breathtaking visuals and despite the cliches it is a rather unique take on a very old tale. I also admit that the film's emotional manipulations were effective and I was a little touched by the scenes between Jim and Silver.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Treasure Planet is one of the few Disney animated films I've never seen. Looking at the date though it's not surprising. It will have come out when I was 15 which I think coincided with the period where I would have thought myself too grown up and cool for animated films anymore. Then you actually grow up and realise that when done well you're never too old for animation. I think there's another from this period I've not seen either, Lost Empire or something like that.

Treasure Planet is one of the few Disney animated films I've never seen.
Same here. Of the Disney Animated Classics the only ones i've yet to see are Treasure Planet. Tangled, Winnie The Pooh (2011) and the 40's compilation films except Ichaboad & Mr Toad. That's why i was really glad that MM picked it.

I was 21 when Treasure Planet was released. I was over my "animation sucks" phase at that point, but still the only reason why I saw it was that a pirate obsessed friend of mine wanted to see it so I went with her. I vaguely recall liking it back then, but not enough to want to own it or see it again. I may pick up a used copy if I can get it cheap or perhaps I'll put it on my wishlist and maybe someone else will buy it for me.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, 2008)

Date Watched: 11/6/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: tatmmw2's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.

I've always considered the Madagascar franchise to be good, but not really impressive on any level and the second film of the series is no exception.

As tends to be the case for many sequels, Madagascar 2 borrows heavily from the original for its humor and some of the jokes - especially the old lady ("Bad kitty!) - run pretty thin. The story is also not particularly inspired - Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman - decide they want to go back to New York, but the run down plane that King Julien provides ends up crash landing in continental Africa and the gang meets others of their own respective kinds for the first time. Some fairly predictable conflicts arise but are worked out and in the end their friendships are stronger than ever.

But what it lacks in originality it pretty well makes up for in simple, mindless entertainment. It's an easy watch and does not require any advance knowledge of the characters or previous film to understand. In fact it might arguably be more enjoyable without that prior knowledge, since the recycled jokes won't be stale to someone new to Madagascar.


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
I've always considered the Madagascar franchise to be good, but not really impressive on any level
That's a pretty good way to describe it. They fall into the category of animated films that are enjoyable, easy watches but that never threaten to be anything of any real substance. I've only seen it once but I remember thinking that the second one was the weakest of the trilogy. I was however really surprised by how much I enjoyed the third film. I felt it somewhat broke out of its comfort zone and became a good bit more zany and surreal even. From memory it's a bit more out-there and absurd, more in line with classic Looney Tunes shorts. Certainly the best of the series I think

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Treasure Planet is one of the few Disney animated films I've never seen. Looking at the date though it's not surprising. It will have come out when I was 15 which I think coincided with the period where I would have thought myself too grown up and cool for animated films anymore.
Never stopped loving animation from childhood through teenage years and to this day; though when it came out I was a little iffy about it
Feel the same about Madagascar and haven't seen Last Unicorn since it came out and probably won't

Waltz With Bashir (Vals Im Bashir) (Ari Folman, 2008)

Date Watched: 11/7/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Camo's Nomination for the MoFo Animation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes.

I first watched this animated documentary film in 2014 while preparing for the MoFo Animation Countdown. I've loved animation for quite some time, but I'll admit that - prior to seeing Waltz With Bashir for the first time - I had a very narrow view of what animated films could and should be. This film totally blew those preconceptions away and opened my eyes to the possibilities.

This is a film about memories - some vivid, some only half-remembered. It also calls into question the merit of memory itself and the mind's tendency to omit the traumatic and to fill in gaps when the true details are fuzzy, even to the point of believing fabricated memories. But this is only a short digression and the focus of the film is to uncover what really happened to the film's director and star and how culpable he is in a heinous act that happened in a time and place he can't quite seem to recall.

Drawn in bold lines and colored in shades of gold and blue, the animation is both crisp and yet somehow crude. The images don't move with the fluidity that you expect to see in modern animation, but this is not a flaw. The style of the artwork adds greatly to the sense of surrealism and a sort of numbness that accompany its depictions of the horrors of war. Many of the film's scenes are oddly beautiful - the reflection of a man in the eye of a dying horse, the graceful, dance-like movements of a soldier firing countless bullets into surrounding buildings as he spins circles in the street, and the glow of flares that light up the sky while soldiers murder civilians below. It's all strangely entrancing. But it's the final scene - the actual footage of the aftermath of a massacre - that is the most powerful. All that stunning animation gives way to images of the innocent dead - piled atop each other, partly buried in rubble or simply left lying in the street - and the grief stricken. It's a jarring transition, but one that is undeniably effective.

Waltz With Bashir is a film unlike any other I've ever seen. It's haunting and thought provoking and it presents its ideas in a stunningly unique fashion. It's a definite must-watch for any appreciator of animation and an excellent nomination for the Hall of Fame.