Within the last 2 days I've seen 2 animated films that I think would be instructional to comment on. The first was at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival and it was a kid's matinee. It's a Japanese Anime film called “Oblivion Island” - a very charming story about a young girl who loses her mother and decides if she could just find her childhood mirror she could maybe see her mother again. So like Alice in Wonderland she follows a small fox down its hole into a spectacular world of lost or forgotten household items in order to retrieve her mirror. The technique is part 2D and part 3D, and the magical netherworld is a very rush phantasmagoria of colors and creatures. It must have cost a fortune – it looked great. I was very touched by the story and cried a bit; I guess after Toy Story 3 that's now the fashion for guys.
The other film was “Battle for Terra”, which came out last year and I just kept missing it at the festivals. The story is very clever and smart, about a faraway planet populated by seahorse-like creatures that are invaded by humans who have destroyed earth and need a new homeland. There are many similarities to Avatar. However, there are some inconsistencies. For example, since the Terra animals fly around, how is it that at times they also fall to the ground and injure themselves? Also, the other big drawback is the terrible CG of the humans. I realize that the budget wasn't big but the humans were basically stretched out fabric. Zero clothing wrinkle or detail in the faces. It really ruined the experience for me – which is too bad because the story had a lot going for it.