Animation that I love:
Pre-2011 and 2015 Pixar, Studio Ghibli, Richard Williams and some of the work of Madhouse
The titular character and his life's duties strike as familiar and problematic enough; he is given this name before he knows what occupation he's set himself up in. His plucky love interest and "ladies' man" sidekick can't help but end up as outdated, sexist sterotypes (case in point: the classic eyelash flutter), and all the villains fall under nearly every animated villain trope in the book. C2C's "Happy" also has a place on the soundtrack to make sure the film is as profitable as possible. How can a film this visually inspired blow its chance to be as original as it looks this hard?
On the bright side, the film occasionally makes use of its visual creativity just as well as it should, with some much-needed captivation to boot and some absolutely stunning hand-drawn animation sequences. However, it's an European Book of Life - a film that strives to accomplish rare feats in CG animation but does not take enough time to avoid the kind of clichés and narrative issues bound to water it down. No wonder it was the only film at the festival I had seen that nobody applauded.
Even worse, it's Disney's attempt at being as hip as everyone else inspired less by Pixar than they have been DreamWorks - spoken toilet jokes, the "big, grumpy guy relying on a young'un to get better at living" story, pop culture references and product placement, even when done as satire, all feel eerily out of place in a film by the same studio we know for creating Snow White.
Combine all that with a dash of mean spirit and you've just realised you've been loving the weakest WDAS production since Chicken Little. I hope they do more with the Game Central Station in the sequel, otherwise executive producer John Lasseter's not as much Walt Disney as he thinks he is.
The animation is great for its time, the humour is superior to A Bug’s Life, even if it’s more adult, and it has Sylvester Stallone! It’s a shame that the writer of this film had to end his career by directing New Moon, though. It seems that this is DreamWorks’ most underrated film ever – people don’t really like it as much as the critics. But in my humble opinion, this one of their best, and it’s the best thing about bug wars since the Worms franchise.
This is either a love-or-not-like film, but alongside James Cameron, Roger Ebert and plenty of anime fans, I thought this movie was amazing. Not just because of the visuals, but it was heartfelt, touching and powerful, and carried a great choice of jazz-style music to give it that retro feel.
The story may be familiar, not only borrowing from both the Lang and Tezuka Metropolises but films like Citizen Kane, Dr. Strangelove, Artificial Intelligence and Blade Runner, but I consider it to be an anime tribute to great cinema. I strongly reccomend this underrated masterpiece, even if you might think it’s overrated.