Monday, December 29, 2014

Oscars Round-Up, Part 2

I'm now in the process of screening all of the animated films in the hunt for Oscar contention, even though I'm not allowed to vote this year.  A quick round-up:

"Giovanni's Island" - I believe I've reviewed this wonderful film before, and I love it.

"A Boy and the World" - an abstract look at a young boy trying to grow up, it's excellent.

"Henry & Me" - a very weird story of a boy with cancer who meets up with all of the legendary NY Yankees baseball players to be able to win against his illness.  Terrible storytelling and amateurish art.

"The Hero of Color City" - a colorful feature for kids, produced by Max Howard and directed by Frank Gladstone.  Not my cup of tea.

"Rocks in my Pockets" by Signe Baumane.  A very bold and courageous look at suicide, great design and color but too much dialogue for my taste.  But she's been winning prizes all over the world for this film, so what do I know?

"Legend of Oz: Dorothy's Return" - standard CG animation, with bad color and storytelling.

"The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" by the legendary Isao Takahata. Everyone was very excited about seeing this ancient folk tale, especially since it's his last film - but I fell asleep during the film.  And the drawing near the end is atrocious.  It looks like they ran out of money so they hired high-school kids to finish the animation. 

"Big Hero 6", by Chris Williams and Don Hall - it's beautifully animated and designed.  I loved the main character, Baymax, his design is so original.  Also I loved the backgrounds, very futuristic yet also retro.  My only problem was that it was so derivative.  It looks like they took "The Iron Giant" and mashed it together with "The Incredibles" (both are Brad Bird films...).  However, I did enjoy myself, so I give it a "B". 

But my favorite of the low-budget films is "Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart".  It has everything - great art, design, color, story and music.  It's very similar to a Tim Burton film, in that it doesn't just cater to kids but appeals to adults also.  The story is dark and it doesn't have a happy ending, but it's still a very enjoyable film.  I hope it gets distribution here in the U.S., because I believe it would do very well.  

For the nominations, I predict a mix of big studio films and some indies:
1. "The Lego Movie", directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord
2. "How to Train Your Dragon 2", directed by Dean DeBlois
3. "The Boxtrolls", from Laika Studios, directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
4. "The Book of Life", directed by Jorge Gutierrez
5. "Song of the Sea", directed by Tomm Moore

For animated shorts nominations, I predict:
1. "Feast"
2. "The Dam Keeper"
3. "Duet"
4. "The Numberlys"
5. "Me and My Moulton"

Just so you know, I still have two films in the running, the animated feature "Cheatin'" and the animated short "Footprints".   The reason I'm not expecting a nomination is simply because all of the films that I believe will get nominations are 10 to 100 times more expensive than mine.  Still, I suppose I can allow myself to dream for a minute.

--Bill Plympton

1 comment:

  1. Where's the first part of the Oscars Round-Up? Was that the list of shorts?