Did the Right Film Win? 2011 Animated Oscars

Hi guys!  Time for the next in my animated oscars series.  Today we are looking at 2011 which was an eclectic year for animation with no Pixar or Disney nominations.  I personally would have nominated Arthur Christmas and Winnie the Pooh but the 5 they went with are interesting in their own right.

This is a bit of a long one but I think you will enjoy it.

Basically I thought Puss in Boots may be my favorite film from the Shrek universe.  I like how they kept the parody elements down.  I also liked the 3D back when I first saw it and think the animation holds up very well.  The voice work by Antonio Banderas is good and I like the action which was a loving homage to Zorro and those kind of classic films.   On downside I didn’t love how they handled the Salma Hayek character.  She starts strong but isn’t treated with much respect and ends up having to be rescued and as an ordinary love interest.  I also think it can feel a little episodic and gets a little convoluted at moments.  But overall I enjoy Puss in Boots.

Kung fu Panda 2 I really enjoyed.  I know many readers don’t care for it, which is cool.  Always good to have a variety of opinions.  I think they toned down the humor and made a real kungfu movie with good fight scenes and battles.  I think they also majorly upgraded the villain with Shen voiced by Gary Oldman.  I like the adoption subplot and the development of the Furious Five is much better than in the first.  Overall, I think it is a good martial arts movie!

Then we have Cat in Paris which was a huge surprise for me.  I had never heard of it and I really liked.  I thought the animation was unique and beautiful.  I really liked the Mother character and felt she was well developed and interesting.  The story surprised me and didn’t go exactly as I thought it would.  The music is really strong and it’s both scary and funny.  Its a real hidden gem.

The fourth nominee is a foreign film called Chico and Rita.  This is a very adult animated film with a lot of nudity and I had to skip over sections.  That said, I liked the character of Rita and the music.  The animation I thought looked rotoscoped and generic; although, there are pretty moments.  I didn’t like the character of Chico and felt the movie was a little to easy on him.  He’s a real jerk and doesn’t deserve Rita.  The jazz music is really catchy and I can see why it was nominated even if it isn’t my cup of tea.

The final nominee is Rango.  If you have been a fan of the blog you might remember my review of Rango last year. I was pretty tough on it and I must admit I liked it a little bit more this time around.  The beginning has some interesting surrealist touches and towards the end the story picks up.  I appreciate they were trying to do something different but overall the pallet feels very beige to me so everything ends up looking bland and the same.  I also feel it takes way too long for the story to get going and don’t find Rango ambling around very funny.  Granted I haven’t seen many Westerns it is spoofing so that may be part of it.  I think the characters are underdeveloped and you go long stretches without characters which makes them even weaker.  Overall, I’m just not a fan of Rango but I see why others like it.

Of course, Rango won for the year and I think in this case the wrong film won.  There just isn’t enough story and the artistry is too bland for me to get behind Rango.  If I had to pick out of the 5 I would go with Cat in Paris.  I think it is visually inventive, the story surprised me and I really liked the characters.  Overall, it is a real delight.

What would you pick out of the 5 films?

Movies I Saw Youtube Videos

Pictures12Today I tried something different and made 2 videos for my channel.  One that summarized the movies I saw in the theater in January and another the movies I saw at home.  If you read my reviews you already know my opinion but this is a summary.  I would love if you took a look and subscribed to my channel.


Rango Movie Review

rangoSo I finally had the chance to watch the Academy Award winning film Rango tonight. I had never seen it because a bunch of my friends at the time were very offended by it, so I never bothered.

I wish I could ask them what it was that offended them because it is definitely a very strange movie but I wasn’t offended.


That said, I didn’t really care for it either. The artistic style I found off putting and there is a certain garishness to the story, dialogue I didn’t like.

It is a very strange movie and I appreciated some of the risks they took but it is not a pleasant film to watch. I don’t know if that makes sense but sometimes you look at a piece of art and you can see it is ambitious and groundbreaking and yet find it disgusting at the same time.  That’s what Rango felt like to me.

It’s about a pet lizard named Rango who is abandoned in the desert. There are a lot of surrealist moments at the start with a armadillo that has been run over but is still alive who is delusional and then other animals he meets and then he is chased by a hawk in a long sequence.  The story takes a long time to get going but eventually he makes it to an old west town called Dirt.

Tortoise_John_telling_Beans_to_sign_the_deed_to_her_father's_ranch Rango-shoot-out-007

Everything in Dirt is ruled by water and there are a lot of bad guys- a Gila monster (Ray Winstone), a desert turtle (Ned Beatty), a rattlesnake (Bill Nighy), a mole (Harry Dean Stanton), a hawk that can’t speak, and a bunch of rats that I think were bad.  Honestly I lost track after a while.  There were so many characters and the story didn’t make much sense.  Rango becomes Sheriff of Dirt and I guess that was explained but I  missed it. But he fights outlaws and there are bar room brawls and standouts.

Rango-Critters-2There is also a girl iguana called Beans who’s father owned land that the turtle tries to get her to give up throughout the movie. She is the only female character and an obvious love interest for Rango but she is treated in the movie like a man and so there is no chemistry or witty banter between the two. Honestly it seemed like Rango was in a different movie than the rest of the characters. It was weird.

There is a vault that is opened which has the town’s water and the bank manager is killed and the turtle controls the vault.  But they end up with only 6 days of water left.

About an hour into the movie they start on a journey to find water and I started to enjoy it more. There was more of a traditional narrative as opposed to the randomness of the earlier part of the movie.  It is also a movie set in modern times so why can’t they get the water?  It is also not like Great Mouse Detective where humans are living in the town and animals.  No, this is just a town for animals. But it is set in the old west but not really but why?


It was just a confusing movie and I didn’t think it was funny or aesthetically pleasing.  Even the way Rango’s eyes moved I found kind of unsettling and distracting.  It was like looking at someone with a lazy eye (I have a lazy eye so I know of what I speak) and they never look you straight in the face but their eyes are constantly moving. There is also 2 scenes where a hawk (long scenes) chases Rango in a bottle and a vending machine that do nothing for the story.

I’ve rarely been more befuddled by a film.  I guess it is one that just doesn’t appeal to me. I can see why others who appreciate randomness and the type of art love it. And if you are super knowledgeable about westerns than you might like it. Not everything has to be made for my aesthetic but it would have been nice to have at least a story I could follow with characters that made sense.  I think I am pretty open minded when it comes to artistic expression and creative films.

As it is, its too cluttered, confusing, and convoluted.


Also, who is this movie made for? It’s not adult enough to be like a South Park or ‘adults only’ animated movie. But I can’t imagine any kids following the plot and myriad of characters or getting any of the jokes.  Part of the problem is kids haven’t seen the Western movies it constantly spoofs.  There is even a Dirty Harry cameo from Clint Eastwood.  Most young adults haven’t seen many westerns let alone kids. I wish I had seen more Westerns and it is on my list so I think a lot of the homages and spoofs were lost on me.  I don’t know.  I just don’t get who the movie is geared towards?

It kind of felt like they dumped all their ideas into a canon and then just put it all on screen without regards to a cohesive story or characters that made sense or we could keep track of.

Giving a grade is tough because it is thoughtfully made but it just didn’t work for me.  The last 45 minutes it gets better but I didn’t care for it. Sorry!

Overall Grade- D+