Recently I’ve been reacquainting myself with an old friend: animation. I am sorry for neglecting you for so long! I’m not sure why we fell out of touch but I’ve been making up for lost time over the past couple of months and here are some quick reviews of some new favourites.
The Gruffalo >> Broadcast on Christmas Day 2010 in glorious HD, this magnificent short is a joy to watch for anyone; young or old. The animation is superb and the style and pace are fabulous. For me there is more than a touch of Ferry Halim in some of the scenes and that cannot be a bad thing? The voices, yes – even James Corden as the mouse work perfectly and I can easily see this becoming the Christmas animation of choice for many years to come?
Fantastic Mr. Fox >> George Clooney finally gets to play the silver fox… literally! Oh and how he does it – ably assisted by an all-star cast directed and played with by maverick slacker Wes Anderson. What initially looks like some rough and ready stop-motion is brilliantly utilised to fabulous effect throughout the film and there is no let-up in the pace of the storytelling with comic cut-scenes used to keep things moving along. A classic case of this being as much for the grown-ups as for the kids and full of subtle references that no youth should be able understand (ah, but they grow up so quickly!) . I watched this with a grin on my face that didn’t leave for some time after the end credits rolled.
Where the Wild Things are >> Multi-talented writer/director/actor Spike Jonze has created a film for the purists here. Not a word-perfect copy of Maurice Sendak’s original classic, Jonze’s has updated the framing story to make it relevant for the 21st Century and his version subtly mixes live action (Max as Max is brilliant) with CGI and puppetry to achieve a very beautiful low key, dream like atmosphere with very little whiz but quite a few bangs! Although far from perfect – and I’m still not entirely sure if the film as whole truly works – there are many things to like.
EDIT: For more classy animation look no further