When I was a kid, I collected and traded comic books (Thor, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Archie, and many others) with my best friend, and another friend who lived in the house behind mine, and watched Saturday morning cartoons with my brothers. As I grew up, I never lost my love for stories told through images—print or animated. I’ve already posted about my love for the films of Hayao Miyazaki and series like Avatar and The Legend of Korra. (Well, I probably just mentioned Korra when I posted about my love for the Avatar series.)
I’m a sucker for stylized animation and clever scripts involving extremely quirky characters. To quote a Jessica Rabbit line from the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, “I’m just drawn that way.”
This post is about three favorites of mine. Now, there are many great blogs discussing in-depth the movies of great animation studios. I’ve read and enjoyed these posts, especially the great trivia and technology facts given. But if you’re looking for that level of savvy analysis here, sorry. I’m too middle grade in my thinking.
So, this post isn’t exactly a you-have-to-watch-these-because kind of post, though by all means do so, if you haven’t already. Actually, if I were in middle school, this would be an I heart So-and-so text or some other hastily written note to my BFF describing my latest crush. (“He’s 2 hot and I M N luv 4evah.”) Call it a love postcard.
The following are 2 hot and I’m N luv 4evah. Y? Bcuz.
Un Vie de Chat (English release title: A Cat in Paris)
A 2010 Folimage Studio film, written and directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli; the 2012 Academy Award nominee for best animated feature. Zoe has a cat, Dino, which she lets out at night. But where does Dino go? I went along for the ride and discovered a quirky film with the suspense and savoir faire of To Catch a Thief, the 1955 Cary Grant thriller. Gangsters, thieves, Notre Dame, betrayal—they’re all here. The jazz soundtrack by Serge Besset fits the mood. Ooo la la!
The 2001—2004 four-season, Emmy award-winning series on Cartoon Network, created by Genndy Tartakovsky, features a young prince from feudal times sent forward in time by the antagonist of the series: Aku, an evil shape-shifting spirit. Samurai Jack has trained most of his life to fight Aku, and has the only weapon that can defeat him—a mystical sword. Unfortunately, he can’t get home, though he desperately tries and is thwarted by Aku and his robotic minions.
I’m an Akira Kurosawa fan, especially his 1954 classic, Seven Samurai. A series of episodes in the first season are an homage to that movie. The gorgeous, hand-painted landcapes in each episode have inspired many artists. A feast for the eyes, as they say. Normally, I love dialogue, but each episode uses dialogue sparingly and effectively. I’ve seen every episode in this series multiple times, and I’m still holding out hope for a Samurai Jack movie.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
A 2009 film by Sony Pictures Animation, written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, adapted from the book by Judi Barrett (illustrated by Ronald Barrett). Intrepid inventor Flint Lockwood comes up with a machine to turn water into food. But that’s when all the trouble starts.
There are few movies that make me laugh out loud every time. This is one of them. Thanks to Flint, Steve the Monkey, “Chicken Brent,” and the ratbirds, I fell hard for this one with the first viewing. And yes, I plan to see the sequel in September!