Posted on 07/16/11 04:36 PM | Last edited on 07/16/11 04:36 PM
I haven't been doing much on Rotten Tomatoes in quite some time, being busy with my first year of high school and all. Now that school's out I really wanted to get back the thing that matters most to me, Movies!
I just got back from the theatres and I saw the film Winnie the Pooh and it was delightful. Being only 15, it really brought me back to my childhood and reminded me of waking up on saturday morning and watching a nice, simple cartoon, laughing with some of my favorite characters. Growing up I've gotten to be really obsessed with films, having seen over 700 films since the 12 years when I watched my first fiilm, The Lion King. My tastes are more into the older films such as Pickpocket, 1926's Mother, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Metropolis, but I still religiously go to the theatres to watch new movies almost every week (I know, its kind of wierd).
I've always loved to watch animated films. For me they have a certain sentimental value that I feel is important in an enjoyable film, but recently animated films have started to slip. There have still been great animated films in the last couple of years such as: Up, Toy Story 3, The illusionist, and How to Train Your Dragon, but overall I feel animated films have begun to lose their heart. Nowadays animated films are focussed on style, visuals and throwing in as many pop culture refrences as they can, and through this I feel they are connecting less with audiences and leaving less of an impact. Not that they aren't entertaining audiencs its just that they probably won't be remembered.
An example I have of the loss of heart in animated films is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. A good film, it was funny and entertaining. The problem with it was that I couldn't really remember much of it only a couple of weeks after I watched it. The jokes made me laugh and I still remembered a couple of my favorites, but I didn't remember most of the movies because it wasn't that involving. It didn't really have a lesson, it didn't really have emotional appeal, it didn't try to connect with people. In contrast. one of my favorite films, the Lion King, is still in my memory. I haven't seen the movie in 3 or so years (and I'm going to be the first one to run and see it during its limited re release in 3D), but it left an impact on me. The scene were Simba is mourning over his father's death brought tears to my eyes, and still would. That movie had scope, it new who was going to watching and appealed to their emotions, offering something for older audiences as well. It had moral, it had an easy to follow story that kids could understand and feel for, but not one that adults would find cliched. I think the reason that Hamlet is my favorite play is because of the immediate connection I made between it and the Lion King.
My favorite animated films are the Lion King, Iron Giant, and the Triplets of Belville. These films were simply drawn and didn't have the goal of simply inspiring awe with their visuals. They had a story, they had emotional appeal, they had jokes and they had moral and that is why I love them. Modern animated films usually don't compare. Pixar in my opinion doesn't even compare even though I like their films. Pixar's only outings in the league of the aforementioned three are Up, Toy Story and Incredibles. While many of you will disagree with these two picks of mine and argue that Finding Nemo or Toy Story should be in that list, I would respond with "I don't disagree". While I do love both FInding Nemo and Toy Story 3 (the only Pixar films I didn't like are Wall-E and Cars), I don't love them as much as their others, they also have heart and are very good. but for me they don't seem to be focussing enough on their target audiences, kids. While many would argue this allows more people to enjoy it, I feel it takes away from the enjoyment of the children (I think Toy Story 3 was way too dark for young children to enjoy thoroughly).
Now bringing all this back to why I wrote the rest, Winnie the Pooh! After being dissapointed by most animated movies recently I thought that this adaptation of Winnie the Pooh would be unfaithful to the character I grew up with; therefore, my feelings going into it were mixed, my feelings coming out on the other hand were of sheer nostalgiac joy. It was a nice, short, and very funny movie that had a lot of heart. It was innocent and enjoyable. It felt more like a longer episode of a show rather than a movie, but it was still a nice experience. It was suprisingly clever for a movie sticking to such simplicity. The film was totally self aware and had a lot of fun moments involving this self awareness. Overally, it was a charming and fun experience.
Wait a minute, you are probably wondering why a movie this simple would warrant a blog rather than a review, this film doesn't seem to compare to the likes of Lion King or any of Disney's Rennaisance films for that matter, and for that I must add another paragraph. I really needed to explain my love of animated movies before going into this as for people not to think of me as a big baby as I write this, but there was a short film that played attached to Winnie the Pooh that brought tears to my eyes. It was called the Ballad of Nessie and was about the Loch Ness moster; I don't want to say any more about the thin plot, but it was a magical experience. It was beautifully done and had more heart than any movie I've seen in years. It was beautiful and I reccomend watching the whole 1h 13m film even if it is just for this amazing 5 or so minute film. I will be truly saddened if this does not win the award for animated short.
This film is a top contender for my favorite film of the year, currently only surpassed by Tree of Life. I hope this film will inspire disney to go back to their basics and bring out more movies like it. Even if they don't, this was still a very refreshing trip to the cinema! Hope you've enjoyed reading and I'll be back soon with more blogs!