2010 had a lot of animated films out in theaters, and amazingly, most of them were pretty good! Off the top of my head, I recall:
How to Train your Dragon
Shrek Forever After
Toy Story 3
I have already reviewed most of them here, so I won’t go into a deep discussion now, just an overview.
The one movie I haven’t seen yet is “How To Train Your Dragon”. WHAAT!? :eek: Yeah, seriously. I mean, when it came out, it didn’t sound particularly good to me- the concept is cliched (“kid who doesn’t fit in befriends a strange but good creature and eventually proves his worth” -that’s older than E.T.) Besides, making the main dragon cat-like didn’t help as I’m NOT a cat-lover. Later I heard how good it was but I didn’t have money to spend on the movies yet anyway. I decided to wait for the DVD but forgot to check it out. I will do so soon and then give you my fair opinion.
Shrek, to my surprise, was good, a genuine attempt to go back to the fun of the first two movies. Sure, it ripped off “It’s A Wonderful Life”, but I think it was fair since it was going to end the franchise by revisiting its origins. I found it pretty funny; it’s main problem was that it came out in the same summer as Toy Story 3- that was a baaad scheduling choice.
Speaking of Toy Story 3, some people think it was the best movie of the year, and Disney is, in fact, trying to get it nominated for an Oscar, not for Best Animated Movie, but BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR, PERIOD! Good luck with that, since I really doubt the Academy people will vote for a movie in which none of the actors can be seen. That said, it IS the best movie of the year, at least for me- after years of waiting (and dreading) the conclusion of the saga of Andy and his loving toys, it was everything it had to be, and more. Should’ve trusted Pixar. Really, it made a billion dollars, has a 100% critic approval rate at Rotten Tomatoes and had grown people leaving the theaters crying. And even a cameo by Totoro!! It doesn’t need a stinkin’ Oscar- it was the movie event of the year (Inception what?)
Despicable Me! is my opinion the weakest in the list. Not that it’s bad, but its story of a villain reformed by the love of three little girls came in-between Toy Story and Megamind, and it’s just not as moving as the first nor as funny as the later. Still it’s a heartwarming movie worth watching though.
Megamind was, in my opinion, THE funniest movie of the year, at least in its own style which was more cerebral than Despicable or Shrek’s slapstick (your mileage may vary of course.) It’s not just a great deconstruction of superhero cliches; it’s a wonderful character study- you really get to understand the characters as you watch the movie and realize, as they do, that they’d been playing the wrong parts all along. Plus, it had wicked smart dialog.
Finally, Tangled! may be my favorite movie of the year (after Toy Story of course.) It pissed me off how Disney tried so desperately to trick the public into seeing it by changing the title (from the original “Rapunzel”), having trailers that focused mostly on the hero rather than the girl (in the movie itself he admits it’s HER story not his) not to mention all the scenes that weren’t in the movie itself (especially the one where Flynn is thrown out the tower.) The reason for this? Last year’s The Princess And The Frog didn’t do well (not as well as Disney hoped anyway) and they were convinced they HAD to market it toward boys as an action movie or a satire a ala “Shrek.” Anything but the Classic Disney Fairy Tale that it really was. Thankfully, instead of being disappointed by the spin the public was pleasantly surprised, and [STRIKE]Tangled [/STRIKE]Rapunzel turned out to be the best Disney (not Pixar) movie since the 90’s. It was supposed to be the last Fairy Tale adaptation Disney was going to do; hopefully its earnings will change their mind.
Overall, this was a year where nearly every animated film was not only good but stood out on its own. Next year we have Kung Fu Panda II, Rio (a movie about some pet bird who goes to Rio de Janeiro looking for a mate) and something about the Easter Bunny too I think. I’ll fill you in along the way of course.