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RE: The Empire Animation Countdown

 
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RE: The Empire Animation Countdown - 28/2/2013 12:47:31 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
4. Up



2009
Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

Carl is in his late 70s and under threat of losing the home he shared with his much-loved and sadly departed wife. Realising he has one last chance for adventure, he takes drastic action, he attaches hundreds of balloons to his house and takes the flight he and his wife always dreamed of. If you think you can plot out the course of Up based on previous animated films, where the most important part of the story is cranky old Carl coming out of his shell thanks to the child who gets dragged along for the ride, you'd be wrong. Up is actually just as much a story of regret for love lost as A Single Man. People tend to dismiss the emotional depth of animated films simply because they're animated, but I can think of few live-action films with as haunting and heartfelt a scene as the opening moments of Up.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 241
RE: The Empire Animation Countdown - 28/2/2013 12:47:50 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
3. Spirited Away



2001
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Ten year old Chihiro and her parents are moving home and travelling through the Japanese countryside. Chihiro is sullen and unhappy about the move. Stopping along the way they discover a deserted amusement park where her parents feed themselves on fresh food. Chihiro wanders off and meets a boy named Haku. Haku tries to warn her to escape but when she returns to her parents she finds they are turned into pigs as a punishment for their gluttony and a river blocks her way out of the park. The amusement park leads to a health resort for the Gods and spirits soon fill the grounds. Chihiro has to get a job in the bathhouse from the owner, the evil witch Yubaba. Chihiro enlists the help of the spider-like Kamajii in order to gain employment, but finds she is forced to give up her name so that Yubaba can keep her in slavery forever. Chihiro is put to work bathing the clients of the bathhouse, she has to come to terms with her new world if she is to ever save herself and Haku from Yubaba's clutches.

Spirited Away is often described as Alice in Wonderland reimagined, and I can understand the comparison. Both works use a rift between worlds as a metaphor for a young girl's journey to adulthood. The surreal, spirit-filled, worlds they enter are the transitional phase in their lives, a necessary rite-of-passage if they are to overcome their childish ways. When Yubaba steals Chihiro's name it's the symbolic death of her identity until that point in time. When Chihiro regains her name it's because she's suffered and matured. Miyazaki also takes on a recurring theme in his work, the pollution and destruction of nature, here personified as a river spirit who has been so heavily polluted that it's become a foul, stinking wretch. Chihiro's ability to cleanse the river spirit speaks to the faith that Miyazki still has in people, even though he acknowledges that it is people who first cause the pollution.

But beyond any of the film's deeper themes, it's an exhilarating tale. A work of dark fantasy that's multi-layered, beautiful, distressing, intelligent and has the ability to work on a number of different levels, meaning adults and children can take away different things, but still know they've watched something amazing. The supporting cast of characters, from the melancholy No-Face to the vile Yubaba are a testament to Miyazaki's imagination. Miyazaki deserves to be acknowledged not just as one of the greatest creators of fantasy currently working, but one of the greatest who ever lived. Spirited Away owes a debt to Carroll's Alice, but I think it deserves to stand alongside it as a work of equal brilliance and importance.

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Post #: 242
RE: The Empire Animation Countdown - 28/2/2013 12:48:15 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
2. The Wrong Trousers



1993
Director: Nick Park

The film begins on Gromit's birthday. But because of the huge pile of unpaid bills, Gromit's presents consist of a new collar and a pair of robotic trousers. The trousers are big robotic creations and they're intended to be used to take Gromit for walks. Wallace decides the only way to make money is to rent out a room. Their lodger is a sinister penguin. The penguin first takes over Gromit's bedroom and then Wallace's attention. Feeling pushed out, Gromit leaves home. When Gromit leaves, the mysterious penguin begins to make some alterations on the robotic trousers. While looking for a place to stay, Gromit stumbles across the penguin's true identity, Feathers McGraw - wanted criminal. Meanwhile Feathers has trapped Wallace in the modified robotic trousers and has plans to steal a diamond. It's up to Gromit to save the day in a frantic and thrilling battle with Feathers that culminates in a hair-raising ride along a model train set.

The claymation animation is sharper than A Grand Day Out and the inventions seem more high-tech as well, from the trapdoor that drops Wallace out of his bed to the trousers themselves. The emotional depth of the characters is also improved from A Grand Day Out and the scene with Gromit leaving is actually quite moving. This was the short where Wallace and Gromit became national icons and it wasn't just the smoothing out of the rough edges that make this work so well, it's Park refining his characters and capturing the qualities and quirks that make them so beloved. It's difficult to imagine Wallace & Gromit being created in any other country because there's something about them that feels uniquely British. In many ways that eccentric Britishness makes them feel like refugees from an Ealing film and I think that's partly what's so appealing about them. They feel timeless, but not dated or antiquated. The Wrong Trousers is the peak of their glories, but that's not to say what came later was in any way bad. There's not a Wallace & Gromit outing that's anything less than a five star classic, but this is the one of the most exciting and funny animations ever created.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 243
RE: The Empire Animation Countdown - 28/2/2013 12:48:38 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
1. Wall-E



2008
Director: Andrew Stanton

In the future Earth has been overtaken by consumerism. Something that leads to the entire planet being covered in rubbish and the earth itself becoming too toxic to support life. The population is sent to live on spaceships, while an army of robots are set to work cleaning up the planet. The planet however has become far too toxic and humanity has become doomed to remain in space indefinitely. Hundreds of years later, only one of the robots, a Wall-E, still functions. This Wall-E has gone a little odd. He's developed sentience and emotions, he's a fan of showtunes, he has a pet cockroach and he collects items he likes from the rubbish he cleans. One day a spaceship lands, deploying a probe robot named EVE to search for life on the planet, and the lonely Wall-E immediately falls in love with the newcomer.

There's two important plot strands to Wall-E. Most reviews seem to focus on the ecological story and the attack on consumer culture in the film. The Earth is run by a corporation whose relentless desire for profit has destroyed the planet. The human race have become so reliant on technology that they're no longer able to take care of the most menial of tasks for themselves, they've even lost so much bone mass that they're unable to walk. Wall-E is a film with a message, do something now or this is how humanity could turn out. One of the criticisms often aimed at Wall-E is that the sections that focus more on the human characters is too broad. But I think it's being overlooked that this is a film aimed mainly at children and I think it does a good job at walking the line between delivering slapstick laughs to younger children and hopefully getting a message across to them at the same time. If the film had turned into a didactic lecture whenever the humans came on screen then it would have lost its core audience. I think it actually speaks volumes about the intelligent nature of this film that so many people expect something more serious from it in those sections. But as relevant as the ecological message is, I think the central love story is by far the most important plotline and it's the one that makes the film as heartfelt and as wonderful as it is.

Wall-E is one of cinema's great innocents and his love for EVE is pure and untainted. Wall-E is the hero of the day when he presents EVE with a plant he's found growing on the planet, something that fulfills her mission, but he's an unwitting hero. He saves the day over and over again, but his only desire is to be with EVE and most of his heroics come as a result of that. Wall-E's need for love defeats his programming and EVE's reciprocation of that love defeats hers. The film's ecological message is an incredibly important one, but I think that it's second to the film's message of hope. The hope that we can repair the damage to the environment, the hope that love does indeed conquer all. The film is romantic, touching and funny in the way that the vast majority of modern romantic comedies aren't. Wall-E learns about love from films, from a videotape he's found in the rubbish and watched over and over. and it's fitting that his love is a great, selfless, cinematic love. He protects EVE when she's shut down and waiting for her ship, they take an enchanting spacewalk together, and they fight against all the odds to save each other. It may be formulaic at times but that's because so much great romantic cinema is. And despite the fact that this is a film about two robots, it is great romantic cinema.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 244
RE: The Empire Animation Countdown - 21/9/2013 3:37:09 AM   
shinning_like_me

 

Posts: 38
Joined: 18/9/2013
here in India we dont have any movie s so far which could stand the standards of animation World wIDE th
though Krishh 3 is looking forward to set it s bench mark in animation.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 245
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