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Location: Southeast Iowa
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Animation that I love:

Bambi, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Lilo & Stitch

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animated movie Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron © Dreamworks
Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron
Rated it: 2
posted: Mar 14, 2008
I remember when this movie was first coming out. At the time, I had a friend who was a horse lunatic. She absolutely loved them and anything that had to do with them. So, of course, she got very enthusiastic about going to see the horse film and because of her influence, so did I. We never did get to see it, though. She moved away before we got a chance, and I forgot all about the "horse film".

I ended up discovering it one day in the rentals section about a half a year later and I was eager to finally get to watch it.

(Sorry, about my little stroll down memory lane. Essentially, I just wanted to include it for one reason. It seems to me, that there is a trend in Spirit fans; many of them really REALLY like horses.)

In conclusion to my story above: I hated it. Well, at least at the time I did. I re-watched it recently and it is tolerable. But, I do still see why I hated it so much for so many years. It's just so...tedious.

It got extremely irritating sometimes. Matt Damon's lackluster voice-over about had me fuming. It sounded so pretentious and derivative. "Like the wind in the buffalo grass, we belonged here", was my personal favorite quote from the silly narrations. Why exactly is the horse narrating, if he can't talk? Honestly, I think a third-person narration would have been preferred and made more sense. That's the worst of it, but there is more. Bryan Adams sings EVERY SINGLE SONG. Now this wouldn't be a bad thing, really. His voice is really unique and I think it fits this type of movie. The real problem is that there are so many songs so close to each other. Many times I just felt like yelling "SHUT UP!" right at my TV. And when they did, it worked. I felt so much more involved in the movie when they left both Matt Damon and Bryan Adams out of my sound waves. Spirit did have a nice score, which was very welcome. I wish they had used it a bit more.

animated movie The Aristocats © Disney
The Aristocats
Rated it: 2.5
posted: Mar 14, 2008
Although, The Aristocats is perhaps too laid back for its own good, it still makes for a charming and gratifying viewing experience. Children will love it, and, hey, adults might find it not too shabby, as well, and will be able to enjoy it alongside their kids. Obviously, this doesn't exactly make it a Disney masterpiece, but it is saying something when a movie full of colorful characters and light-hearted fun can manage to not make a parent want to tear their eyes out.

However, I think that all its lightness is the same thing that just makes it so conventional. Even for all the fun that it does offer, it's not one of Disney's more captivating films.

There are some great scenes in this film and the characters are engaging, even if the story development is very minimal. Some characters are unneeded, but nice to have around. The two geese, Abigail and Amelia, and their drunken uncle, Waldo(we need more drunk ducks in animated films, nowadays) are a hoot and give the film some of its best moments. And who didn't love Madame Bonfamille's attorney, Georges? "Who do you want me to sue?", is probably my favorite line. Humour is a bit excessive in this film, which makes it hard for me to get into it, at times. The Edgar dog chasing scenes, in particular, were much too over-the-top silly for my tastes.

The animation isn't that much to complain about, in my opinion. It is still top-notch Disney animation, despite having a scratchy look to it. Madame's hair made me want to whip out my comb, but all of the cats' animation made up for it by being much more cleaner.

Not up to the standards of some of the better Disney movies, like "Bambi"(1942) or "Lady and the Tramp"(1955), but not every film is destined to be a classic. This is good clean fun, and it definitely doesn't deserve its bad reputation. Who doesn't remember "Everybody Wants to be a Cat?" Or its snazzy animated sequence? Deserves at least one look.

animated movie Ratatouille © Pixar
Rated it: 3.5
posted: Mar 14, 2008
"100 Genuine Animation! No motion capture or any other performance shortcuts were used in the production of this film."

In case you didn't catch that, you might want to pull out your copy of this movie. Skim around the ending credits, you can't miss it! A bit of a slap on the wrist to past animated features, such as "Happy Feet" and "Monster House"(2006).

I had extremely high expectations for this film. Brad Bird is one of my favorite directors for animated films and he has already directed and wrote for 2 other fantastic films. "The Incredibles"(2004), which is one of my favorite Pixar films and "The Iron Giant"(1999), which is one of my favorite animated films, period. I am very happy to say, Bird has kept up his nearly flawless resumé by making another animated film of the utmost quality.

Ratatouille was great. The animation is sumptuous and easily exceeds anything that Pixar has previously done. Many times throughout I had to do a few double takes at the backgrounds. They were gorgeous. I have never complained about CGI, but if I did, this film would probably shut me up. And everything else is just as splendid. I did have a problem with the narrating during my first viewing, but after watching it a couple more times I realized it was actually the best choice of storytelling for Ratatouille. And as with all Pixar films, comedy, action, and drama were all mixed together and boiled down into one fine sauce(cooking puns, how original).

Yet, I have to admit...I don't think I enjoyed it as much as many others did(at the time I am writing this, it is the second most highest rated animated feature on IMDb). It is obviously an amazing achievement and I really don't have any more than 1 or 2 complaints and this review is pretty much nothing but praises. There is just something that I can't quite put my finger on that didn't floor me as much as I had hoped. But, you know, now that I think about it, I am only saying this because I didn't give it an absolute perfect score. I still loved it and my rating shows that.

Pixar has done it again. Will they ever disappoint me? Every Pixar fan needs to pick this one up.

flash animation The Evil Strawberry © unknown
The Evil Strawberry
Rated it: 1
posted: Mar 14, 2008
Why is this even here...?

I have to wonder how the audio for this thing came into existence. I imagine that somewhere, that strawberry hoarder is still out there, terrorizing little kids. How sad.

Oh yeah, and the animation sucks, too.

animated movie Corpse Bride © Warner Bros. / Vinton Studios
Corpse Bride
Rated it: 3
posted: Mar 14, 2008
Beautiful, atmospheric, flowing stop-motion animation is what really comes to mind after watching this exquisitely crafted film. It's a lovely work of art. Animation-wise, there is no comparison to Burton's past classic, "The Nightmare Before Christmas"(1993). Corpse Bride is infinitely superior, and makes The Nightmare Before Christmas look very shoddy. It's incredible to see how well stop-motion technology has progressed in just 12 years. Despite this actuality, for many(including myself), Corpse Bride will probably live in that film's shadow for quite some time. I started watching this film really expecting The Nightmare Before Chrismas #2. Not quite the fairest way to ever approach a film. In its own right, Corpse Bride is certainly an entertaining film.

The first time I watched it, my opinion was still pending. It took me a couple more viewings to help me decide that I did indeed like it for its creativeness and unique feel. I loved how they made the living world very dreary, while the dead were very blithesome and spirited. And though the living world was much more artistically gratifying to watch, the dead world was just sheer fun. But, it doesn't go without flaws, of course. It moved much too fast and went on without much development, like characteristics and motivation. Victor wasn't quite the best or most endearing character and his sudden decision to stay married to Emily, I had a lot of trouble with. And personally, in this film, Victor killing himself by poison didn't seem like that much of a sacrifice to me. Death looks like heaven! Maybe you could say he wanted to stay for Victoria, but he isn't that much of a passionate character, anyway. The characters also lacked for me. Emily's plot was somewhat endearing, but I really had a hard time feeling for any of the characters, except for Victoria, until the ending, which was actually very touching and helped me feel a bit closer to all the characters.

Borderlining on brilliance, but just not quite there for me, because of a few of the reasons above. Enjoyable and fun, and absolutely breath-taking animation take this film far with me, but it didn't blow me away. Still, it's definitely worth checking out and I will be watching this one again. It's one of the more refreshing animated films I can remember and I just can not forget that haunting ending.

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