17 December 2020.
Let’s do these classics for the season, for the snow and the free, nothing-to-do days (once Christmas is over…).
Sadly cinemas will remain closed through mid- to late January, as will all other cultural activities. Indeed tragic for the living arts.
Animation may often be directed towards children, but so many are such brilliant works of imagination, wise and amusing that the best ones are ultimately works of art, for kids from 5 to 95….
They also have great soundtracks and the distinct voices of top stars such as Robin Williams, Holly Hunter or Samuel L. Jackson, making all the difference in defining the animated characters and giving them life.
Sorry if I‘ve missed some of your favourites – I’ve had to leave many of mine out too – there are simply too many exceptional ones, and so much talent…
LES TRIPLETTES DE BELLEVILLE
There’s a persistent old Grandma looking for her kidnapped cyclist grandson, along with her unforgettable dog Bruno, and music galore in this hectic, hilarious and very innovative 2003 tale from France.
MA VIE DE COURGETTE
Who says the Swiss can’t do animation?! This 2016 award-winning, touchingly simple story of an orphan boy coming to terms with life in an orphanage will both amuse you and move your heart.
LADY AND THE TRAMP
A superb classic of Disney‘s from 1955, this is one to watch again and again. It‘s a charming love story of two dogs from different social classes.
What a joy to watch Kipling‘s classic work brought to life in 1967 with Disney‘s verve, excitement and glorious songs. They’re all there – Balou the lazy, carefree bear, Bagheera the black panther, Shere Khan the treacherous tiger voiced by George Sanders, and the unforgettable orangutan, King Louis, voiced by Louis Prima. It’s joyous.
Those adorable penguins will win your heart and make your spirits soar – they’ll make you HAPPY! A super holiday delight, especially with Robin Williams as Ramon, the looney Latino penguin.
SPIDER-MAN : INTO THE SPIDERVERSE
If you want really cutting-edge animation for the hip youth of today, try this one – my granddaughter insisted that I include it. I have not seen it, but let’s give the younger generation their pick – apparently it’s brilliant in every way – innovative and super fun.
Japanese animation, or manga, is in a class by itself, as soulful, dreamy works of art. “Spirited Away” by master director Hayao Miyazaki is one of its finest examples, having won an Oscar in the animation category in 2001. The tale is of little Chihiro who loses her parents in an abandoned amusement park and has to work hard to get them back. The fantasy is hypnotic.
And then there is PIXAR – the EVEREST of animation studios! Here are 4 of their best:
TOY STORY (1 and 3!)
This is the ultimate fantasy of toys coming to life when their owners are away – Tom Hanks is superb as their leader, Sheriff Woody. It was Pixar’s first film in 1995, and went on through Toy Story 4. The 3rd one (2010) is the most touching and heartbreaking, as Andy their owner is now grown and going off to college…and the toys get thrown out…
Can you imagine a rat in the kitchen, and he’s a cook, to boot?!? That’s the premise of this delicious escapade about Ratatouille, the French rat who loves to cook, and all his family and cuisine entourage – crazy, lovable and hilarious.
And then Pixar decided to go down into the ocean and created a whole new, wondrous universe of fish stories…An exciting, innocent delight.
A cry for environmental responsibility and a plea to end consumer wastefulness by a lone, sweet robot, this top Pixar tale from 2008 was way ahead of its time, before ecology became fashionable and finally urgent. Check it out for gentleness and wisdom from the mouth of babes, or rather androids…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.