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Dream-time for cartoon lovers - II

By Nabila Habib | Last Updated: Thursday, July 9, 2009 - 14:57
Nabila Habib
Between the vines

Coming from short TV series to full length animation movies, the list worth watching contains these selected few which have entertained children and adults alike with their timeless appeal and thrilling break-neck pace.

Packing in a world of entertainment value into a few hours requires a keen imagination and a taste for the witty and hilarious. More like translating a series of Garfield comic strips into a film, packing in a rib-tickling punch line after every few minutes; it costs innumerable inputs from a whole bunch of dedicated experts and experienced geniuses.

When any single adjective is lacking, the result is the kind of dragging disaster that we got in the form of ‘Roadside Romeo’ – the Indian attempt at full length animation movie. I am not undermining Bollywood’s valiant effort, for I have to admit that looking at the way Bollywood has evolved, there is a lot of hope that Indian film Industry will be able to churn out a truly entertaining animation movie by the end of a decade!

Since Pixar rules this genre, nearly all movies produced by Pixar Animations are worth watching. Interestingly, all six movies that Pixar produced have been in the nomination list, and four have also bagged Annie awards. Annie Awards are exclusive for animated stuff, while Oscar also has a separate category for animation.

Revealing the plotlines of animation movies would be like reciting ridiculously outrageous stories, but a hint would do well to spark the curiosity of those who have missed these till now.

In reverse chronological order, the latest gem of an animation is ‘Ratatouille’. A rat who has a highly developed and refined taste for food manages to get his dream-job - that of a chef – inside the chef’s hat of his best friend Louise! The movie won the Oscar and Annie Award of 2007. Even if one does not have a taste for animation flicks, watching the movie would surely develop an urge to taste exquisite delicacies and those who already have a discerning tongue might even turn into gourmets!

‘Happy Feet’ is another Oscar winner. The movie is a moving tale of a unique penguin, who can’t keep his feet firmly planted in ice – in infancy because he found the ice ‘cold’ and in his youth because he was an innate dancer with a purpose. Touted as one of the best animation attempts to bring environmental awareness to the world, the film has a deep didactic value that sinks in without the slightest hint of preaching. If environment does not interest you, then the highly interesting love life of penguins will surely do!

‘Chicken Little’ the protagonist of the film by the same name, is an adorable and an exceptionally ‘well-rounded’ character, as far as characters in animation movies go. The fun flick is a hilarious and new-age take on the Jataka story of the chickened character of a, well, chicken, who feels that the sky is falling on his head and unintentionally becomes the perpetrator of a fast-spreading panic that the world is about to end. For those who have a sense of humour, this provides no end of opportunities to literally ROTFL!

I miss the superheroes of my childhood who were much more intelligent than the Chinese Pokemon things of now and the Powerpuff girls. ‘The Incredibles’ was a surprisingly fresh breath of air. The film is about a superhero ‘family’ that lives in hiding since ‘superheroship’ has gone out of vogue. It tells what happens in the life of a frustrated superhero, who has to earn his living doing a mundane 8 to 5 job. And when an infant superhero is angry, what happens to the one holding it – find out! The Oscar judges were so impressed that they awarded the movie Oscar for Best Animation.

The same year ‘Shark Tale’ was nominated for the Oscar, but lost to ‘The Incredibles’. However, the film is no loser, rather a winner in its own right. The underwater world of deep seas is tyrannised by the great whites – Sharks. When a wannabe little fish is mistaken for a ‘Shark-slayer’, he can do nothing but save the reef from the terror of the family of sharks that resembles more an Italian Mafioso family than a shoal. And introduced through it all is a ‘vegetarian’ shark!

‘Finding Nemo’ is an outright fun-riot for children and for those who love children. A baby fish out on an educational trip with its classmates to explore the sea, gets lost and is caught by a diving dentist. The film is all about his single father’s odyssey through seas to the dentist’s aquarium. The tale is full of adventure and incidental knowledge about fishes.

Then there are two sets of sequels that deserve honourable mention: ‘Shrek’ and ‘Ice Age’. Their respective series, together making up six movies, provide excellent intelligent entertainment.

‘Shrek 1, 2 and 3’ are movies that have grown with the kids, who might have grown up watching them. Predictably, ‘Shrek 3’ is not for little kids, for it has ample supply of funny subtleties that only a grown up kid or an adult would understand.

‘Ice Age’ stands alone for its breathtakingly superb animation and for having the best animated character of all time – the prehistoric squirrel! The squirrel’s love for acorns can only be realized by us humans if we watch ‘Ice Age’. Similarly, we will sympathise with a mammoth left with only a single female to choose for his life partner. Watch the film to find out if they end up leading another boring ‘married’ life.

So, Potatoes, happy couching!

First Published: Thursday, July 9, 2009 - 14:57

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