Hi guys! Time for the next in my animated oscars series. Today we are looking at 2011 which was an eclectic year for animation with no Pixar or Disney nominations. I personally would have nominated Arthur Christmas and Winnie the Pooh but the 5 they went with are interesting in their own right.
This is a bit of a long one but I think you will enjoy it.
Basically I thought Puss in Boots may be my favorite film from the Shrek universe. I like how they kept the parody elements down. I also liked the 3D back when I first saw it and think the animation holds up very well. The voice work by Antonio Banderas is good and I like the action which was a loving homage to Zorro and those kind of classic films. On downside I didn’t love how they handled the Salma Hayek character. She starts strong but isn’t treated with much respect and ends up having to be rescued and as an ordinary love interest. I also think it can feel a little episodic and gets a little convoluted at moments. But overall I enjoy Puss in Boots.
Kung fu Panda 2 I really enjoyed. I know many readers don’t care for it, which is cool. Always good to have a variety of opinions. I think they toned down the humor and made a real kungfu movie with good fight scenes and battles. I think they also majorly upgraded the villain with Shen voiced by Gary Oldman. I like the adoption subplot and the development of the Furious Five is much better than in the first. Overall, I think it is a good martial arts movie!
Then we have Cat in Paris which was a huge surprise for me. I had never heard of it and I really liked. I thought the animation was unique and beautiful. I really liked the Mother character and felt she was well developed and interesting. The story surprised me and didn’t go exactly as I thought it would. The music is really strong and it’s both scary and funny. Its a real hidden gem.
The fourth nominee is a foreign film called Chico and Rita. This is a very adult animated film with a lot of nudity and I had to skip over sections. That said, I liked the character of Rita and the music. The animation I thought looked rotoscoped and generic; although, there are pretty moments. I didn’t like the character of Chico and felt the movie was a little to easy on him. He’s a real jerk and doesn’t deserve Rita. The jazz music is really catchy and I can see why it was nominated even if it isn’t my cup of tea.
The final nominee is Rango. If you have been a fan of the blog you might remember my review of Rango last year. I was pretty tough on it and I must admit I liked it a little bit more this time around. The beginning has some interesting surrealist touches and towards the end the story picks up. I appreciate they were trying to do something different but overall the pallet feels very beige to me so everything ends up looking bland and the same. I also feel it takes way too long for the story to get going and don’t find Rango ambling around very funny. Granted I haven’t seen many Westerns it is spoofing so that may be part of it. I think the characters are underdeveloped and you go long stretches without characters which makes them even weaker. Overall, I’m just not a fan of Rango but I see why others like it.
Of course, Rango won for the year and I think in this case the wrong film won. There just isn’t enough story and the artistry is too bland for me to get behind Rango. If I had to pick out of the 5 I would go with Cat in Paris. I think it is visually inventive, the story surprised me and I really liked the characters. Overall, it is a real delight.
What would you pick out of the 5 films?