ABC Film Challenge – Animation – P – Pom Poko (1994)

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Shincho Kokontei, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida, Norihei Miki, Nijiko Kiyokawa

 

Plot: A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Animation

 

Story: Pom Poko starts as we meet the racoons that have lived on farm land for years, but lose their home to the humans whose development has destroyed large amounts of their forest homes. Now the racoons must put their difference behind them to fight back against the humans to keep their homes.

This involved learning how to transform into humans to enter the human world to bring it down from the inside even though this is against their lazy nature.

 

Thoughts on Pom Poko

 

Characters – The characters we meet are different racoons, the have the elders who come up with plans to keep their lands, the young ones that are developing their skills to play the pranks on the humans. We also have the transformation master that are entering the battle in the real world as humans.

StoryThe story follows the racoons that want to keep their land from being taken over by human development. We get a bigger message about taking the land of wildlife for our own development. This works for the story because it has fun at the struggles the racoons must go through and balance this against the serious elements of the film. we do have similarities to The Watership Down too in this one.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe comedy is typical animated comedy, we get moments of slapstick as we tell of the training in the most part. The family could enjoy this one and learn important lessons too and the fantasy comes from the idea racoons can transform into humans and other creatures.

SettingsThe settings show us the countryside the racoons live in that is being destroyed by the humans and the human world the racoons enter. This keeps the settings simple but effective.

AnimationThe animation fits the typical Ghibli style which works to tell the story well.


Scene of the Movie –
Transformation training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sweet little Ghibli movie, it does send important messages about how wildlife and humans must learn to live together.

 

Overall: Sweet little animation movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Bloom (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley (Voice Talents) Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon

 

Plot: An orphan, who lives with his two cruel aunts, befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.


Tagline – Adventures this big don’t grow on trees.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Family Adventure

 

 

Story: James and the Giant Peach starts young boy James is left orphaned after his parents are killed, he is forced to live with his cruel aunts Spiker (Lumley) and Sponge (Margolyes) who treat him like a slave. When a mysterious old man gives him a bag with magic in he unleashes them by accident to great a giant peach.

The peach becomes a side show for the Aunts leaving James to clean up, until he finds a passage which takes hi into the peach which is know being lived in by a serial bugs Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Spider and Earthworm. The unlikely group head off on an adventure which takes them across the Atlantic to New York City.

 

 

Thoughts on James and the Giant Peach

 

Characters – James is an orphan from a loved family forced to live with evil aunts, he just wants to be a kid and isn’t being allowed to go out and play. His adventure takes him across the Atlantic Ocean to the place he was always due to go with his family New York city. Like a lot of the Roald Dahl books he creates an orphan that is being ill-treated looking for an escape. The different bugs each offer up different parent like advice for James, just what is needed for James in his time of need.

PerformancesPaul Terry is the real James and he is good for a child actor as are the Aunts, most of this film focuses on the voice work which shows the talent of the cast selected.

StoryThe story shows follows one boy and his adventure with bugs to escape the horrible life he has been trapped living. The story enters full levels of fantasy which is great to see, there is no covering up elements of the story, it all happened and everyone sees this. It does feel like it should be the imagination of a traumatised orphan and it should end up being this for the generic following.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure James goes on is everything a lonely boy would imagine going on. This is a family film because everyone can get a laugh of different moments in the film.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in and on the peach, we see the family dynamic on board the peach, this is the only one of its type even if you can see elements of ‘Up’ in this setting.

AnimationThe animation shown here showed us what we were getting from the director, a unique look at stop-motion.


Scene of the Movie –
Rhino in the sky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be dark at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical family adventure from the childhood author Roald Dahl that wrote wonderful books, which changed many lives, this is one that people sometimes forget.

 

Overall: Magical and wonderful movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – C – Coraline (2009)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Henry Selick (Screenplay) Neil Gaiman (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Dakoka Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr

 

Plot: An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.


Tagline – An Adventure too Weird for Words

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Animated Fantasy

 

Story: Coraline starts as we meet Coraline Jones, a young girl that moved into a new home with her over busy parents, who never find time for her, her imagination tris to run wild and once she discovers an alternative world where her parents always have time for her, she starts on this new adventure.

The longer Coraline stays in this dream world with her other parents the deeper the truth about this world will strike fear into her, as she tries desperately to return to her real parents.

 

Thoughts on Coraline

 

Characters – Coraline is a young girl that needs to let her imagination free, which her parents are not letting happen, when she gets into this new world she goes on the adventure she dreams off only to see what is the most important to her. The parents are too different sides of what Coraline is wanting, one side busy the other side always free to play. We do have the other colourful characters which help Coraline unlock the truth.

StoryThe story plays into the idea that a young child (this time a girl) imagination can run wild leaving them to get into trouble and going on an adventure to save her family. To me this felt like a Studio Ghibli story, with the fantasy elements and the young girl needing to save the day in a world which could contain nightmares. This story does contain large amounts of peril which will keep you wanting to see where things will end up going next for Coraline.

FantasyThe fantasy elements being used in this movie are wonderful to see, as it uses moments and worlds that could easily grace a horror film.

SettingsThe film does take place in and around the one house which shows how the mind can create an adventure that only a little girl could uncover.

AnimationThe animation used looks wonderful and plays into the fantasy elements of the film that are going on through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Searching for parents.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too dark for a kids film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that knows how to keep the story interesting and keeps us guessing until we get to the end.

 

Overall: Animation must watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – The Black Cauldron (1985)

Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich

Writer: David Jonas, Vance Gerry, Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Al Wilson, Roy Morita, Peter Young, Art Stevens, Joe Hale (Screenplay) Lloyd Alexander (Novel)

Starring: (voice talents) Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Arthur Malet, John Byner

 

Plot: A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.


Tagline – Magic twelve years in the making. Magic that will live forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Fantasy Animation

 

Story: The Black Cauldron starts as we meet young pig farmer Taran, who has been getting trained to take over the care of Hen Wen a pig that is the only creature on Earth that knows the location of the Black Cauldron, the place where the evil Horned King can regain his power.

When the King learns that Hen Wen knows the locations he goes in search of the pig, which leads Taran to go on an adventure across the fantasy world to stop the Horned King regaining his power and bringing a new era of terror across the land.

 

Thoughts on The Black Cauldron

 

Characters – Taran is the traditional Disney reluctantly hero, he was a small pig farmer that goes on an adventure to fulfil his destiny by stopping the evil and bringing together a group off unlikely characters. Eilonwy is the princess that joins the adventure, her care free attitude helps along the way and makes for a strong character than we think. The Horned King is the ruler trying to gain his power to take over the land and will do anything to make sure he has this power. These characters are the by the book for this genre and don’t becoming anything overly memorable.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely hero that goes on an adventure to hopeful save the fantasy world from an evil ruler. This does follow the idea of bringing unlikely friends together on the adventure and does become very dark for a Disney movie, but does follow the whole traditional ideas we have come to know.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/HorrorThe action goes hand in hand with the adventure as we see how the characters must work together to win and battles with the use of the fantasy world, there are elements of horror too because of certain chase sequences and events that happen around the Cauldron.

SettingsThe settings take us on the adventure fantasy world that you could see in any of these movies, which is fine for me.

AnimationThe time this movie was made, you would think this is good high standard for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too dark for a Disney animation.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fantasy adventure that follows everything you need it to, but will be too dark for the younger audience.

 

Overall: Very dark animation from the Disney brand.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – A – Atlantis: Milo’s Return (2003)

Director: Victor Cook, Toby Shelton, Tad Stones

Writer: Thomas Hart, Henry Gilroy, Kevin Hopps, Tad Stones, Steve Englehart, Marty Isenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) James Arnold Taylor, Cree Summer, John Mahoney, Jacqueline Obradors, Don Novello, Corey Burton

 

Plot: Milo and Kida reunite with their friends to investigate strange occurances around the world that seem to have links to the secrets of Atlantis.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disney’s Bad Spell

 

Story: Atlantis: Milo’s Return starts as we see Atlantis has continued to grow after the event of the first film Queen Kida has bough peace to the land with Milo still lives here. The life does seem calm until a new threat comes to the land, one that Milo and Kida must investigate.

When they learn that they are facing a monster from the deep unlike anything they have seen before the Kraken that has powers of mind control, the battle to save Atlantis is on again.

 

Thoughts on Atlantis: Milo’s Return

 

Characters – Milo is still the adventurer at heart, returning from Atlantis to explore for other Atlantean weapons which are being used around the world. Kida is now the Queen of Atlantis she wants to see the world and protect it from the ancient powers that her ancestors created which are being used in the real world.

StoryThe story brings Milo and his friends into the real world to locate ancient Atlantean weapons that are being used in the real world. the story is designed to be a pilot to a potential television show and you can see this because the film is split into 20 odd minute adventures from different parts of the world, this is weak from Disney because the first film did have a fan base, this will only disappoint them.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure takes our characters to new location which should be an adventure to enjoy, the problem is that we don’t spend enough time here in each place, the fantasy shows how ancient idea could being new ideas to treasure hunting but mostly feels like a Scooby Doo episode and the sci-fi shows us the new world that came from ancient powers created modern technology.

SettingsThe settings take us to new locations which does against what we are expecting with a film about Atlantis.

AnimationThe animation quality isn’t on the levels of the Disney movie either which disappoints us throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
The Kraken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just not interesting for what we knew from Atlantis itself.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel to the weak Disney movie in the first place, this is sadly just like the pilot to the television show it wants to be.

 

Overall: Poor sequel Disney

Rating