Tiny Toon Adventures

When it comes to animation, I don't just limit myself to just unhealthy marathons of television shows. Let's not forget unhealthy marathons of movies, too. I didn't plan it this way, but for some reason, I've been putting the weighty dramas and action-packed thrillers on the back burner lately, and letting animated films rise to the top of the queue.

A Cat in Paris (2010)

This is a French movie, but I streamed it through Netflix, and the only way to do that was with an English dub. I'd probably have preferred French with English subtitles, but this movie was so visually stunning, it just about made up for any issues I may have had with the vocal performances. The movie mostly follows the titular cat, who spends its days with a little girl and her mother (who is the chief of police), and its nights with an agile thief. The two stories converge when a gang of mobsters arrives. The gang is attempting to steal a valuable statue, and when they threaten both the girl and the thief, the two team up to evade capture. The script may be a bit slight, but its minimal nature helps shift the storytelling to the animation, which is gorgeous.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

Even if I'm not a fan of the punctuation in that title, I am a big fan of Aardman Animation films. After the Wallace and Gromit series and Chicken Run, how could I possibly pass this one up? It's in the same style as those earlier works - a silly, clever adventure story. A band of terribly inept pirates wants fame (infamy, really) and glory, but they're constantly outshone by the more rock star type of scallywag. They attempt to win a pirating contest by robbing Charles Darwin, but when Darwin figures out that the pirate captain's parrot is really the world's last living dodo, the pirates aren't the only ones to hatch a sneaky scheme or two. Toss in a belligerent, snide, pirate-hating Queen Victoria, and you've got a pretty fun movie. Not as memorable as earlier Aardman works, perhaps, but still an amiable way to pass an evening.

Despicable Me (2010)

Well, I just finished saying that I had no desire to see Despicable Me 2 until I saw the first one, and that I was in no hurry to do so. Then whoops, it wound up being top of the list for movie night with Kyle. I wasn't expecting much from it; the marketing material made it look fair-to-middling. And that's basically what it was. Steve Carell voices a villain named Gru who aspires to be feared throughout the world, but is thwarted by other villains out-performing him. In his bid to steal the moon, he concocts a ruse where he adopts three orphan girls. It's no surprise that he winds up genuinely caring for them, and the villain becomes a hero in his new role as supportive parent. It's a cute movie. Unlike the two above, there's less for adults to latch onto, but I can certainly see why kids adored it. The only thing that bugged me about it involved Gru's little gibberish-spouting minions. I didn't dislike them, but there was a clear, desperate, Gretchen Weiners attempt to make "fetch" happen. You'll practically hear the little "cha-ching!" noise out loud when you see how aggressively the movie pushed the minions as something so awesome - and here's the key - so merchandise-friendly. So while I liked the movie, I still have no desire to seek out the sequel. I'll happily leave this franchise to the younger generation.

I wasn't alone in enjoying these movies; both A Cat in Paris and The Pirates! Band of Misfits were nominated for Academy Awards, while Despicable Me got a Golden Globe nomination. It raises a head-scratching question. For some reason, animation is still routinely considered to only include kids in the target audience; every time I bring up watching an animated show or movie, I have to preface it with something along the lines of "But it's not a kids' movie..." But despite Despicable Me's kid-friendly focus, I think it's high time to put this preconception to bed. We're in an era that includes Bob's Burgers and The Secret World of Arietty and A Cat in Paris - cartoons have officially grown up.

A Cat in Paris: B+
The Pirates! Band of Misfits: B
Despicable Me: B-


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime