Archive for the Animation Category

Ponyo Review

Posted in 4.5 Stars, Animation, Anime, Foreign, New Movie, Review on August 16, 2009 by russellsreviews

In the U.S. 2-D animation is all but dead. If it wasn’t for Pixar, not even Disney would be making them and when they do its about one every three years. Television now is even moving away from it. The only place really to get 2-D anymore is from Japan. Hayao Miyazaki is consider the master of this craft in Japan, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t that recognized in the states as well. Ponyo, Miyazaki’s newest, is finally given its chance in American theaters. His movies are normally critically acclaimed, although always overlooked by the Academy, but never a commercial success. Can Ponyo change all of this?

Ponyo is a fairy tale of a young boy named Sasuke who finds a mysterious fish, Ponyo, and decides to take care of it. Only this goldfish is actually the daughter of a mad wizard who is in charge of keeping the balance of human and magical worlds separate. If Ponyo stays with Sasuke too long it will shift everything out of balance and cause the moon to get closer to earth and put all of Japan underwater. Only Ponyo has fallen in love with Sasuke and is willing to risk everything to become a real girl and be with Sasuke forever.

Ponyo is more light hearted than his previous films and little more innocent, but that’s what Miyazaki was going for. All of his movies deal with love, but Ponyo’s whole theme is love. The love story takes place with two very young kids to show how love is innocent and pure and shouldn’t be corrupted, much like a child. Much like his other films as well he as a environmental message. Human ways are hurting the magical creatures, yet they coexist with the humans for their ability to love and work together.

It was very refreshing to see the hand drawn character movements and the painted environments. In my opinion, movement, motion, and emotion in a 2-D will never be matched by CGI. Ponyo is just another in a long line examples of this. Ponyo might not rank up there with some Miyazaki fans, but deserves praise for trying to tell a tale in a more simple fashion, dare we say more assessable to the west. Miyazaki is a master of animation, because he creates movies with fascinating worlds seen no where else, while reminding adults of important messages, and most importantly while never loosing the imagination or the fun to reach all ages. I hope Ponyo will be the one to finally to make a good buck in America and would only be called predujice against Asian culture if it doesn’t get at least gets nominated this year.



UP Review

Posted in 5 Stars, Animation, Comedy, New Movie, Review, Uncategorized on June 2, 2009 by russellsreviews

What’s starting to become the norm, every summer Pixar releases a new movie with a trailer for their next one. This year’s big release is UP, a story of the adventures an old man and a young boyscout floating in a house by thousands of balloons. I have to admit just by seeing the trailers I wasn’t as up for it as pixar past greats. The movie looked like it would be good, but not as iconic. However, I was wrong. UP is just as memorable as Finding Nemo, Cars,Toy Story, and Monster’s Inc. In fact, UP actually pulls at your heart strings more than any of those films.

Pixar’s movies have always been full of fun, energy, and soul for all ages, but this one really will make you laugh and cry young or old. Up has a shockingly mature story. Carl as a child wanted nothing more than to be like his idol Charles Muntz and dream to one day explore the place Muntz always wrote about, Paradise Falls.. One day while playing around in the neighborhood he meets Ellie, a talkative fellow adventurer . Through a brilliant montage you then see the two grow up together, fall deeper in love, get married, and show them  grow old together. When the day comes  when Karl finally saves enough money to take Ellie Paradise Falls, he rushes home only find Ellie has passed away. The montage of their happy days together just before was so powerful and moving that you care more about her death, and feel Karl’s pain more than majority of movies where they take the whole film to develop . Years later when Karl wraps  i up in daily life and even starts to calling the house they built as Ellie, you completely understand the state of mind he is in.

One day when Karl is basically forced to move out of this very important house, he decides to attach thousands of balloons to the roof and take the house with him, only he makes one mistake and accidently brings along a local boyscout. The boyscout Russell throughout Karl’s journey to escape to paradise falls gives him a much needed boost and reminds him of how he used to be. On their quest they meet up with Karl and Ellie’s childhood idol, crazy birds, and even hilarious ”talking” dogs. One of the such dogs, Dug, befriends the group and helps them along the way. All of these characters provide great fun and humor, but really makes UP stand out and put it up their with the elite is how the story of how Karl dealt with loosing his soul mate through the whole movie.

All Pixar movies have funny characters and a great life lesson, but this lesson is mostly for the adults and will make even the hardest heart melt. With most movies nowadays being either too kiddy, or too dark, its refreshing to see a movie like this especially in the summer. Pixar still has it and I don’t think any other move company in animation or live action can match the heart and soul they routinely put out. Leaving the theater after seeing UP will leave your heart will feeling twice as big and have a new found love for dogs.