2nd Animation Hall of Fame

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Meet the Robinsons (Stephen J. Anderson, 2007)
Imdb

Date Watched: 7/20/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Second Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by Funny Face
Rewatch: Yes


This is a really sweet, eccentric, and funny film about letting go of the injustices of the past and... keep moving forward. It's sort of like Back to the Future meets The Jetsons and it often delves pretty far into the absurd, but it maintains a certain whimsical charm that has stuck with me since its initial release.

The character designs and the animation, while not quite on par with the likes of Pixar (who released Ratatouille in the same year), are still of impressive quality and the Sci-Fi adventure story is fun and engaging. And that's really where the film's strength is: It's fun. It has a message but it's not preachy or heavy on the substance. Its purpose is to entertain and to make you smile and, for me, it succeeds admirably.

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Thanks everyone, I just like to be sure that a nom is available when I put it in, so if everyone can find it elsewhere I would LOVE to leave it. Which is why I spent so long finding a site without pop ups of any kind for it.
For myself I have it at my library as well.
So if everyone is good, then I'll leave it.

And thanks CR, the links didn't work out, but I truly do appreciate your efforts, MOST kind of you!
As MV said, we definitely are able to get a copy easily from the library. Looking forward to watching it!





Wizards (Ralph Bakshi, 1977)
Imdb

Date Watched: 7/20/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Second Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: No


I don't like Ralph Baskhi. His artwork and animation style are ugly and unappealing and the subjects of his films are equally so. His characters are also often grotesque and off-putting. The women in particular look either like something from a nightmare or something from a pubescent boy's masturbatory fantasies. There is no in-between. This was true of Fritz the Cat and Coonskin and it is true of Wizards.

Add this to the heavy fantasy and frequent narration and still images, and you have me disengaged from the start with no hope of pulling me in. Perhaps if I was someone who partook in, uh, certain substances I might've been able to enjoy this, but I'm not and I hated every minute of it.




The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Pre-30s movies aren't always the most accessible, they're not always the most relatable or entertaining. But they can tell us so much about the times then that I think these movies, especially The Adventures of Prince Achmed, are practically textbooks on both filma nd history. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is animated in a unique and brilliant way that I have not really seen since then. It is highly influential, one of the earliest great films from a female director, and is important in the film canon. That said, I'm not sure how much I really enjoyed this film. If it was made today... well, it couldn't be. I recently saw Toy Story 4 in theaters and right before came a bunch of absolute junk trailers for animated kids movies. Angry Birds 2, Trolls 2, Some Fox Movie. Certainly The Adventures of Prince Achmed is more enjoyable even than those movies, without needing to see them. So it somewhat disappointing to see animation turning from an obviously noble art that it once was in the 1920s and 30s to kids money-making machines. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of amazing animated movies today, but most of them completely miss the mark of high quality. The Adventures of Prince Achmed brought me back to a refreshing time when animation was just getting started and was a medium treated with utmost passion and love by its creators.

Enjoyablity factor... well, that's what my rating is for. For 1926, not bad at all.




Thanks everyone, I just like to be sure that a nom is available when I put it in, so if everyone can find it elsewhere I would LOVE to leave it. Which is why I spent so long finding a site without pop ups of any kind for it.
For myself I have it at my library as well.
So if everyone is good, then I'll leave it.

And thanks CR, the links didn't work out, but I truly do appreciate your efforts, MOST kind of you!
Actually the link does work. Hashtag just used it and said it worked fine. If anybody needs a link message me.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Meet the Robinsons

Lewis: Why is your dog wearing glasses?
Grandpa Bud: Oh, because his insurance won't pay for contacts.

For openers, I do concur on the reviews so far, this IS a fun movie.
For some time I had been on the fence on this film on whether I'd watch it or not. It seemed to be a 50-50 shot; could be really good, could be not so much.
So, when I did see this about a year ago, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Didn't become an instant favorite but it is definitely a very fun movie with a wonderful message, it's bright, crazy characters and a well-rounded story that makes you smile. So, suffice to say, I was pretty happy to see it nominated to give me a revisit since I've been wanting just that recently. YAY

The pacing of this is well done and we move along quite nicely as things unfold and especially takes off when we visit the future and the Robinson clan, themselves.
And I must say, I really loved the Bowler Hat Guy. He reminded me of the magician from Frosty the Snowman.

Both of which are great bumbling villains that I find endearing.

I also love the final title card at the very end. VERY nice, that.

Finally, one particular gag I seriously got a kick out of was this:


So, a fun and a wonderful start for me to this HoF that truly gets me to:

__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



The Adventures of Prince Achmed



While technically not the first animated movie, it is regarded often as so, since the others have been considered lost. It was cool to see the craft of the film, and even cooler than it was actually directed by a female Lotte Reiniger. I really could tell that a lot of time was put into her making the scenes. I also was quite a big fan of the colorful backdrops that were used in the film and how it changed between red, green, and blue among a few others I believe.

But realistically, animation has come a long way, and so this does feel quite dated obviously. I think it's biggest struggle is the lack of assembling any care or concern for any of the characters that were involved, which yes could have been a difficult thing to do but at the same time it was only 11 years later Snow White came out and that is a movie that was pretty successful to do that, so it could have possibly been done.

And yes it was a silent films but even films like The Gold Rush and Sunrise had me invested in the characters so again it could have been done. I can respect it's craft but it's not technically a movie that I really enjoyed.

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Looks like I'm all caught up now, so it's time for first impressions. I'm actually surprised that I've seen so many of the nominations.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed - I've seen parts of this, but not the entire thing. I've been meaning to watch it for awhile so now that it's nominated I'll finally get around to it. It's certainly very pretty, especially considering it's age.

Sword in the Stone - I loved this when I was a kid. I don't think I rewatched it during the Animated Film Tournament, so it's definitely due for another viewing. Hopefully it's still one of my favourite Disney films.

Wizards - I saw this when I was fairly young, probably around the same time I first saw the Heavy Metal films and Fire and Ice, but unlike those three, I've only ever seen Wizards that one time. Will be interesting to see how I feel about it now.

The Wind in the Willows - We watched this in school when I was young, and unfortunately I remember hating it. It's probably one of the reasons why I refuse to watch any stop-motion films unless absolutely necessary. I'll try to keep an open mind when I rewatch it though.

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie - I saw this film when it was new without having seen the series and it was easy enough to follow. I've only seen the original Japanese version, and I've still never seen the series, but I've actually met one of the English voice actors (Steve Blum) and the ADR director for the anime. I typically stay away from dubs, but I'll give it a go at Ed's request.

Spirited Away - I correctly guessed that this was nominated, so I actually rewatched it before I left. I have a few sentences written already as well, but I'm starting to feel the jet lag so I might not get it finished today.

Meet the Robinsons - I haven't seen this one.

Ernest and Celestine - I watched this for the Animated Film Tournament and didn't actually hate it. I recall thinking it was quite good, though not my usual cup of tea.

Your Name - My review for this is already written, and will follow shortly.

Tower - This is the only nomination I've never heard of before.

If anyone was curious, the other film I considered nominating was Angel's Egg, which I thought was visually impressive but also incredibly boring, so I decided to go with my room mate's recommendation of Your Name, which I had been meaning to watch for awhile but never got around to until now. There are multiple copies of that film in this house, including a really nice collector's edition.





Your Name/君の名は (2016)
Directed By: Makoto Shinkai
Starring: Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masami Nagasawa

Though I still tend to avoid them where possible, over the years I've been slowly warming up to romantic dramas. That said, they do start to bore me fairly quickly if the film doesn't have other elements to carry my interest. So as expected, after the novelty of Your Name's body-swapping concept wore off, I started to become disappointed in where the film was headed, assuming it would follow typical romance conventions. But just as I was about to check out, the film hit me with a curve ball that added new layers to the story and managed to keep my attention until the very end.

The visuals are beautiful, with consistently smooth animation and rich, detailed backgrounds. Body language, mannerisms, and posture play a key role in differentiating between Mitsuha and Taki, and a lot of care was clearly taken to perfect each characters' movements. The sequence where Mitsuha and Yotsuha take part in the kuchikamizake ritual is particularly impressive, with a gorgeously animated dance that is captivating to watch. While I'm not a fan of the “tv series opening credits”-style introduction, I did like the editing throughout the rest of the film.

The characters are well written, and behave believably considering the outlandish nature of the plot. Your Name is the kind of story that likes to lure viewers in with it's light-hearted and occasionally comedic nature, while slyly preparing a cruel sucker punch aimed straight at your heart. It's a dichotomy I wholly approve of, and the main reason why I decided to nominate it. I don't think I ever need to see it again, and I'm not sure how well the film would work on repeat viewings, but it was an enjoyable and unexpected experience.


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Wizards

I ended up disliking this one a fair amount by the end. At the beginning however it looked very promising. Post-apocalyptic environment, epic backstory, and a clearly wide imagination of the animators and director. However, as the story went on, it became a slog of un-funny humor, ugly animation, bad voice acting, and a metaphor that of course is important but was not handled well. I hated the "lost footage" that was used, it's a cop-out when films do that to make their themes clear. It still would have been very obvious what Bakshi was trying to say without needing that live action part. The characters are also pretty bland and boring. But... there were some chilling and thrilling moments, and a great villain. So not completely bad.






You know all those internet threads that ask something along the lines of: 'What movie would you like to live in?'. Well for me my answer would likely be this film. I just adore the simplistic, woodland setting of the film; I could imagine spending my life in a place like that.

I'll be honest, I'm more familiar with the TV show sequel to this film (With the late, great Peter Sallis as Rat) than the actual film itself; I would watch the episodes on repeat, much to the annoyance of my mother, but I only ever saw the film once. I quite liked the stop-motion, though I can see why some people would be unsettled by it (Like holy s*it Mole's eyes look like a portal to hell). The music is lovely, it adds perfectly to that rural charm. The voice-work is really good; the person playing Badger especially. I liked the comedy and the more action oriented scenes like the escape and the climax.

The plot itself is good, but it's not perfect: The film starts out as a tale of Mole learning to be more open with the outside world by ways of Rat. But then 20 minutes in it turns into a tale of Toad's motorcar fetish causing trouble for himself and the first plot gets a bit sidetracked. While the film is great I would've been highly interested of more of the first plot; It's would be kind of like a British Miyazaki film I guess.

Also I couldn't help but notice the race allegory in the film (Or the species allegory if you will). Badger is always saying that he won't allow Toad to 'make us animals look bad'. Also the judge gives Toad a year in prison simply because he's green.

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Wizards
(Ralph Bakshi, 1977)

Watched this a few days ago and have been thinking about it. While I did enjoy the message and conflict of nature and technology, I didn't find the characters to be very compelling in the voices, personality or how they were drawn. Also, didn't feel Elinore or Weehawk were vital to the story and wish there would have been more attention given to Peace. I did like the backgrounds of nature/Montagar with the looser lines and sketchy quality contrasted with Scortch.

After watching Wizards, I did look up Trickle Dickle Down, one of Bakshi's shorts, which I enjoyed because it got the point across in two minutes, which made me think I would have enjoyed Wizards if it had also been more edited and succinct.





The Sword in the Stone (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963)
Imdb

Date Watched: 7/23/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 2nd Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by rauldc14
Rewatch: Yes


Oh yay, more fantasy. More wizards.
Well at least this one looks good.

That's really about the most praise I can give it, though. It's pretty. Not impressively so, mind you, but it's pretty. Everything else is pretty much a laundry list of things that annoy me. Let's start with the songs. There weren't a lot of them, but they were really annoying. Especially Mim's overly long and irritating number. Right up there with the stupid songs was the magical gibberish/spells that Merlin and Mim were casting.

Then there's the characters. Now, I don't necessarily have a problem with bumbling idiots in film. As seen in things like Meet the Robinsons and The Emporer's New Groove, such characters can be really endearing and even the most memorable. But when you populate the entire thing with bumbling idiots, it just doesn't work for me. You got to have at least one smart person to balance it. I facepalmed every time Merlin worked his magic on Arthur, every pointless transformation after pointless transformation - and near death experience after near death experience. Seriously? I'm supposed to believe that guy - who keeps almost getting this kid killed - is the greatest wizard? Yeah, no. The only character I gave even the slightest damn about was the female squirrel that became infatuated with Arthur.

I actually started this movie last night but shut it off about halfway through because I got so annoyed with it. I'll rate it the same as Wind in the Willows, if only because I can't decide which was more irritating.

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Spirited Away/千と千尋の神隠し (2001)
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki

Spirited Away is a highly imaginative coming of age story, steeped in Japanese folklore and traditional values. It also features environmentalist themes, the most prominent of which being a condemnation of river pollution. The visual design is outstanding, and the different animation techniques blend together much better than they do in other films from the same era, with the computer-generated imagery being used quite sparingly.

Chihiro's introduction to the spirit world was too chaotic for my taste. There's not enough time to absorb the visuals or get a good look at the various kami, yokai, and other creatures inhabiting the realm. All of the things I found interesting seemed to be brushed aside or only used as a metaphor for Chihiro's fears of feeling like a social outcast in the new town she's moving to. I didn't find her personal story engaging, so I might've enjoyed the film more if those parts would slow down and let me appreciate the design choices.

I had previously seen the dubbed version, since the person who made me watch it only had a VHS tape, which obviously didn't contain multiple audio tracks. This time I tried the originally recorded dialogue, which may have helped somewhat since I was able to watch the entire film in one sitting. When I first saw Spirited Away, I turned it off halfway through and had to be persuaded the following day to actually finish it. I don't hate it, but I just can't get into it for some reason. This viewing didn't really change my opinion, but I do respect what the film tries to do a lot more now.


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Last year I nominated Akira and the major complaint was that it was to hard to follow. Cowboy Bebop was easy to follow...follow all of those sweet sweet references. Did I find any of the characters engaging..nope, could I tell you anything about the plot...nope did I turn my brain off and just soak up the music and visuals...yup.


The opening the film is straight out of Pulp Fiction, you could even call it a pulp fictionesque use of Pulp Fiction. I mean the cinematic references in this film was off the wall, I think I saw Speed, Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Matrix, Die Hard, Batman, Lethal Weapon it just went on and on.


The film didn't really work on a narrative level I don't watch Cowboy Bebop so I was definitely lost but the scenes were just so well rendered and soundtrack was so seamlessly blended in.