Friday, February 17, 2017

Animated Feature Films

Kubo and the Two Strings 
Animated Feature Film - Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
Visual Effects - Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, Brad Schiff

Young Kubo is the son of a legendary samurai father and a formerly powerful mother who has been drained of all of her powers protecting him.  Kubo discovers that if he finds magical objects, he can assemble his father's suit of armor and protect himself and the town from evil forces conspiring against him.  Kubo is a wonderful animated film with excitement, a beautiful moral, and an inspiring story.  The visuals are absolutely incredible and it's a pleasure for both kids and adults.

Animated Feature Film - John Musker, Ron Clements, Osnat Shurer
Original Song - "How Far I'll Go," Music and Lyric by Lin Manuel Miranda (video below)

O-M-G it's Lin Manuel Miranda does animation.  This is the Hawaiian legend of young Moana, whose island is threatened by a depletion of food resources because of a curse that has been placed upon it by a demi-god named Maui.  Moana, the daughter of the king, realizes that if she is able to restore the stolen object that created the curse, she can heroically save her people.  Though she gets off to a rocky start with convincing the demigod to help, she stands her ground and faces all of her fears to become the woman and the queen she is meant to be.  The music and the story are amazing! It's refreshing to see a Disney heroine whose purpose has nothing to do with finding a man.  (How Far I'll Go is the Original Song nominated, and if you are seeing this on the web, you can click just below to hear it.)

My Life as a Zucchini
Animated Feature Film - Claude Barras and Max Karli

This film really touched my heart.  It is the story of little Zucchini whose mother dies, and he has to move to a group home.  On his way, he meets a kind police officer who takes a personal interest in his happiness, and who keeps in touch with little Zucchini and comes to visit on a regular basis. Eventually, Zucchini and the children at the group home become a small family, and when a young girl arrives who works her way into Zucchini's heart, their lives become permanently entwined.  What a beautiful movie.

The Red Turtle
Animated Feature Film - Michael Dudak de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
The Red Turtle begins with a man being stranded on a lonely island.  He does everything he can to build rafts to make his way back to civilization, and each time he tries, something comes along to destroy it.  We discover that a red turtle has been purposely sabotaging his efforts, and he gets angry and kills the turtle by flipping it onto its back.  By the next morning, the turtle has become a beautiful woman, with whom he shares his life and has a son, and all three of them live together joyfully on the island.  There is no dialogue in this film, it is told only through visuals.  I found it bizarre.

Animated Feature Film - Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Little rabbit Judy Hopps has a dream to become a police officer in the world where only the big, tough animals inhabit that role.  She becomes a cop, but is given humiliating tasks, with no one sharing her confidence in her abilities.  She meets a slick (some would say sly...) fox who isn't always on the up and up.  Suddenly, animals go missing, and it's going to take Judy's clever mind and quick reflexes to solve this mystery that has more sinister intention than she realizes.  While Zootopia is an adorable film, there is a powerful lesson to be learned about trust and fear and the crazy decisions people make when they are making assumptions about what harm others might do.  Sound familiar?

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