Oscar Nominated Animated Films – 2013

My wife and I’s quest to catch all the Oscar-nominated films this year is going well. We will have watched all but a handful come Oscar day. I have now caught all of the movies in the Animated Film category.

Wreck-It Ralph: Wreck-It Ralph is an animated film about being inside a videogame with lots of inside jokes. This would seem tailor-made for me. I very much enjoyed it, even though I felt there weren’t enough videogame jokes in there. I don’t think it was Oscar-worthy though.

P.S. You can tell you are a videogame fanatic if, instead of seeing Donkey Kong in the Wreck-It Ralph game, you see Crazy Climber.

Frankenweenie: Frankenweenie was obviously a labor of love for Tim Burton and, being a tribute to old horror movies, is another movie tailor-made for me. Again I enjoyed it but it isn’t Oscar-worthy. There are nice jokes here but it didn’t gel very well. It probably should have stayed a short.

Wife’s take: I think it says it all that I completely forgot to include this movie in the Oscar watch for the weekend when we saw it.  It was cute but forgettable – definitely not Tim Burton at his best.  I liked the color palette but didn’t generally find any of the characters to be memorable.  The parents were, perhaps, less clueless than in the usual kiddie fare.  Otherwise unremarkable.

Brave: Obviously the 800-lb gorilla in the room is any film from Pixar. I really enjoyed Brave but, perhaps more importantly, I admire Brave for its message. Finally, we have a Disney princess who is in no way defined by her prince. I know Mulan carried a similar message but, if you’ll forgive the archery analogy, this one drives the point home.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits: I saw this one last and honestly wasn’t expecting much from it. It turned out to be very entertaining with each frame crowded with jokes – some for children but plenty for adults.

Wife’s take: Charming!  Why does this one have to be up against Brave (the clear winner, in my opinion, in this category).  Any other year, I’d pull for The Pirates!  It stars simply everyone with a British accent, and is filled with touches that amuse (and keep you looking for more – how many ham references can one film hold?).  Loved it!

ParaNorman: This supernatural themed film had less homages than Frankenweenie but was far better constructed. It was very enjoyable but I didn’t really find it Oscar-worthy.

Wife’s take: This is a cute stop-motion animated film.  I don’t need to see it again, but it was fluffy fun, and a good one to watch with Dorothy in the room.

End of Summer – A Few More that I Enjoyed

Having covered my five favorites yesterday, here are the rest of the movies I enjoyed this summer:

Brave: I enjoyed Brave but did not find it to be a Pixar classic a la Toy Story, Up, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E. The animated short preceding the film is wonderful and Brave is a lot of fun.

Ted: I found Ted to be hilarious even though there were way too many fart jokes. Too crass and commercial but Wahlberg and Kunis are very likeable and I appreciated the running Flash Gordon gag.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: This was surprisingly enjoyable. I will add the caveat that I do set the bar lower when I’m watching a film my granddaughter enjoys so this may not be that good but we had a lot of fun.

Men in Black III: This just narrowly missed my best of summer post. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are enjoyable as always but it is Josh Brolin’s portrayal of a young Agent K that seals the deal.

The Expendables 2: The film that capped off the summer. The Expendables 2 is a lot better than the first one. The Expendables 2 pokes a lot of fun at the cast – only the villains Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins appear to be taking it seriously. Willis and Schwarzenegger have much bigger roles this time including action scenes. Jet Li’s role is reduced but they added Chuck Norris to the cast.

* I would have enjoyed The Expendables 2 anyway but my daughter won me a Chuck Norris autographed poster. I can’t wait to frame it and put it in my movie room.