For me great animation is a marriage of two other big loves of mineóbeautiful art and captivating storytelling. You nail those things and it's almost guaranteed that you'll have my eyeballs glued to the screen. I grew up on Disney films like Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast so my tastes tend to unconsciously lean that way, however I love seeing animation that breaks new ground and really shows where the medium can go.
drawing, painting, animation, absorbing pop culture, animation, web design, writing, animation...
Animation that I love:
How to Train Your Dragon, Mary and Max, Tangled, Princess Mononoke, The Incredibles, Nightmare Before Christmas, Rescuers Down Under, ... etc. etc.
I remember loving the international flavour to the show and how Strawberry Shortcake used her wits to defeat the Purple Pieman with his own berry birds. Where the animation in the earlier specials is rudimentary, here it takes on extra little flourishes of expression and little mini-gags particularly with Custard and Sour Grapes' snake, Dregs.
And even after all these years, the songs just make me smile. They'd probably be irritating coming from any other special, but there's something about that thing that taps into your childhood that always creates a positive memory.
For me the real star of this short is the Grinch's dog, Max. We know that the Grinch can't be a completely terrible villian if he's won the loyalty of this cute little guy.
Be sure to catch this one again when it airs over the holidays.
oh, where to start...
I think the best thing I could say for it is that it's not terrible. There are moments that are funny. Rudolph's struggle with his new celebrity status and his "novelty" nose seemed like an interesting place to take his character. The song done by Queen Camilla was even rather catchy.
Unfortunately, those barest glimpses of hope are dragged down by truly dismal computer animation. I was spotting CG errors that I know the instructors at my animation school would've fried me for if they showed up in my work. Rudolph and friends have little to no facial expressions--basically eye blinks and mouth movement only... yes, my kingdom for a raised eyebrow... and the characters stay just a little too true to the jerky quality of the stop-motion original.
Probably best to avoid this one in the rental aisle.
All in all though, it's a worthwhile film.
"Barbie in the Nutcracker" somehow manages to pull off both.
Where many animated movies might throw in musical numbers as the eye-catching parts of the story, here we have wonderfully charming ballet sequences... and by that I mean computer generated characters performing realistic ballet--making excellent use of motion capture technology on real ballerinas (the New York ballet company, I believe). There are segments of the film that feel almost like Fantasia, where you are being pulled into the movie through pure classical music and almost lyrical visuals on the screen.
The story itself is also surprisingly good and takes the time to bring warmth and life to its characters--particularly Clara (Barbie) and the Nutcracker. Tim Curry also does a very nice job of creating a witty evil Mouse King--I particularly liked the scenes where he's throwing his weight around and interacting with his sidekick, Pimm. Barbie fans and non-fans alike will probably notice the appearance of numerous characters from the Barbie universe (Kelly, Tommy, et al.) but the toy aspect of the film never intrudes upon the story.
A holiday classic for all the little girls--and not so little girls--in the family.