Animated

[6.0] Writer/director Dean DeBlois wraps up the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy with a mostly satisfying finale. In this third film, young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his comrades discover a second, rare Night Fury dragon — and it’s a female. Hiccup’s dragon Toothless naturally falls in love with the new Fury, but when a nasty dragon-napper sets his targets on the two lovers, …

[6.0] From a technical and artistic point of view, this may be the finest animated film ever made. But it’s also dull. I dislike how the three floating fat ladies (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) steal the show, while the prince and princess are given all the personality of tree stumps. Fortunately, artistry goes a long way. Sleeping Beauty is Disney’s most exquisite work. I love …

[6.5] Producer Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) wrangled together animation companies from around the world to assemble Heavy Metal, a string of six animated shorts based on the popular adult fantasy magazine. The stories are tied together by a loose framing device involving an ominous green orb that destroys everything it encounters. My personal favorite sequences are “B-17”, which depicts a zombie attack aboard a WWII bomber …

[7.0] The world’s first animated feature film holds up pretty well, even if feminism has rendered its heroine somewhat outdated. Snow White herself is a little annoying, not only because she sits around waiting for her “prince to come”, but also because Adriana Caselotti’s voice is so darned squeaky. But I enjoy the darker aspects of the film, including Snow White’s fear-induced flight through the …

[6.0] Disney Animation puts a science-fiction twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story. The mix of 2D and 3D animation is interesting, especially when you stop to marvel at an animator’s mastery of perspective when 2D characters are seen running through 3D environments while the ‘camera’ moves all around them. The overall design of Treasure Planet is incoherent, though — you never see two of …

[5.0] There was definitely potential. A dark Disney movie based on Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, about a farm boy’s brave attempt to stop a demonic king from conquering the land with his army of skeletal warriors? Sign me up! Unfortunately, Disney wasn’t willing to go the full mile with PG content (even the current dvd is edited for violence). It didn’t help that their …

[5.5] Don Bluth’s films (The Land Before Time, The Secret of NIMH) tend to be too mature for children and too immature for adults. Consider All Dogs Go to Heaven, where one moment you have cutsey critters singing a cringe-worthy song about sharing, and then you have a dog literally escaping hell to say goodbye to the little orphan girl he betrayed. At least All …

[6.5] This Disney flick may be a minor effort in comparison to the company’s more perrenial classics, but there’s a dated, folksy charm about this all-animal take on the classic Robin Hood legend. The simple story is populated with fairly memorable, endearing characters and a couple of catchy tunes. It’s one of the only Disney movies where even the bit parts shine, from the narrating …

[6.0] Shane Acker’s computer-animated post-apocalyptic fantasy is visually interesting, but the characters are bland and the story is wobbly. The movie is a tonal quagmire, trying to balance its dark and dreary subject matter with a kid-friendly PG-13 rating. The plot starts off unimpressively, presenting the aftermath of a future conflict between humans and machines, and surprise, surprise — we lost. The more interesting concept …

[7.0] Pixar has an uncanny way of dressing up an old familiar formula and making it seem brand new. Cars is a story about life in the fast lane (literally and figuratively), and the dangers of forgetting to smell the flowers and cherish all the little things. It could so easily have been cloying and cheap, but Pixar puts so much genuine emotion and sincerity …

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