Five feature length animated films have been chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the best examples of animation over the past year. A couple wonderful foreign films- and a surprising pair from DreamWorks Animation- head the list.
Une Vie de Chat (A Cat In Paris)- Folimage, Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol directors. When seven-year-old Zoe learns that her cat, Dino, has been using his late-night wanderings to help a kindhearted thief, the little girl embarks on a nighttime Parisian adventure that may help her come to terms with her father’s recent death.
Chico & Rita- Isle of Man Film, CinemaNX, Fernando Trueba Producciones Cinematográficas S.A., Magic Light Pictures, Javier Mariscal, Fernando Trueba directors. When Chico first sees Rita singing in a Cuban nightclub, he woos her with music and then loses her through the messiness of his own romantic life. As the events in their country’s turbulent history alter both of their lives, the attraction between them remains strong throughout the years that follow.
Kung Fu Panda 2- DreamWorks Animation, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director. Now that he is the Dragon Warrior and the leader of the Furious Five, Po continues to hone his kung fu skills. When Lord Shen, a dangerous and arrogant peacock, attempts to take control of the Valley of Peace, Po’s quest to combat Shen’s dictatorial ambitions leads him to make astonishing discoveries about his own past.
Puss In Boots- Warner Bros. Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Chris Miller director. As an orphaned kitten, young Puss in Boots suffered a devastating fall from grace engineered by his one-time friend, Humpty Dumpty, who has spent the ensuing years in prison. Puss nevertheless agrees to team up with Humpty and the beautiful Kitty Softpaws to steal three magic beans from a pair of thugs named Jack and Jill.
Rango- Nickelodeon Movies, Industrial Light & Magic, Gore Verbinski, director. When Rango the lizard finds himself stranded in the Mojave Desert, his green skin unable to camouflage him in the inhospitable brown landscape, he manages to pass himself off as a deadly gunslinger. To the desperate, drought-stricken town of Dirt, which is suffocating in the grip of its corrupt mayor, the reptilian stranger soon begins to look like a savior.
Noticeably absent from the nominees list is Disney and sub-studio powerhouse PIXAR. Their entries this year- Winnie The Pooh and Cars 2- were bounced by the pair from DreamWorks Animation. Also missing was any mention of Steven Spielberg’s motion capture The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn which has been raking in awards from all over the world. Perhaps the days of motion capture are over (we can only hope!)