As some of you may recall I was doing reviews for animated films this year. While KandyKandy was on a break during the first half of the year, I was still going to the theaters to check out all the animated films. Some were surprisingly delightful while others left me asking “Why though?”. I have some mini reviews on these films that came out between April until end of August to get everybody up to speed.
April and the Extraordinary World | March 25th 2016 (Limited) | Arte France
Directors: Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci | Box Office: $495,147 (US)
106 Minutes | Rated PG
This was one of those unexpected treasures that I didn’t see coming this year. It was whimsical and charming, but it felt familiar in a sense like the feeling when I get when I watch a Studio Ghibli film. It took me by surprise how instantaneously it captured my imagination and had me caring for these characters. especially Darwin who is probably my favorite sarcastic talking cat since Jiji of Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s a shame this film only had a limited release.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (7.8/10 average)
Ratchet & Clank | April 29th 2016 | Rainmaker Entertainment
Director: Kevin Munroe | Box Office: $12.1 Million
94 Minutes | Rated PG
This film is based on the popular 90’s video game of the same title. I’ve never played it so I’m unfamilar with the franchise and characters, but like most video game adapted films, it probably should’ve stayed a game. It had potential but the pacing, meandering plot and horrendous amount of technology based jokes (cell phones/hashtags/social media/etc) felt out of place in a sci-fi adventure story. To sum it up, just play the original games.
Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (4.1/10 average)
The Angry Birds Movie | May 20th 2016 | Rovio Animation
Directors: Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly | Box Office: $346.4 Million
97 Minutes | Rated PG
This is one of those films that probably should’ve come out 2-3 years ago when it’d be a little more relevant. That being said it was extremely hard trying to connect with any of these characters but especially the main character because he was such an asshole. Why would I root for him when he’s a jerk to everyone else? The film also suffers from an overuse of popular modern music and an “all star cast” for no reason. On the plus side the animation was beautiful so it looked really nice. It’s just too bad that I just didn’t care what happened to these birds. Maybe they’ll fix that problem in the sequel?
Rotten Tomatoes: 43% (4.9/10 average)
Finding Dory | June 17th 2016 | Pixar Animation
Director: Andrew Stanton | Box Office: $950.5 Million
101 Minutes | Rated PG
This is probably the first of a few Pixar/Disney sequels that adults feel like they have to borrow someone’s kid as an excuse to go see this film (dude, just go by yourself. It’s OK to enjoy animation). I enjoyed this movie but it’s not my favorite by Pixar. It felt like it was missing something to make it not just a rehashing of the original. Don’t get me wrong the new characters were a great addition to the franchise especially Frank, but you can only rely on “cuddle parties” so much. However similar to how Inside Out got people/kids talking about emotions Finding Dory has brought up an interesting discussion topic regarding mental health/disabilities so kudos on that aspect.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (7.7/10 average)
Secret Life of Pets | July 8th 2016 | Illumination Entertainment
Directors: Chris Renaud & Yarrow Cheney | Box Office: $789 Million
90 Minutes | Rated PG
I was hoping so badly that this film would be good and I think it fulfilled that hope. It’s not great but it was a nice departure from their cash cow brand of those fart joke yellow pills. The casting was well suited and didn’t feel forced but I wish more time was spent exploring the pets’ personalities in their homes. Because once they left their daily routine lives it pretty much became about the main character’s butting heads, getting lost then trying to find their way home through team work aka Toy Story but with dogs. Regardless of that, it still gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in the end. I think Illumination is heading in the right direction if they can keep improving on their films like this.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% (6.3/10 average)
Ice Age: Collision Course | July 22nd 2016 | Blue Sky Studios
Directors: Mike Thurmeier | Box Office: $397.3 Million
94 Minutes | Rated PG
This is another film that had me going, “but… why?”, and I know what the answer is. This is Blue Sky’s Minions. It makes money so they can work on other projects like The Peanuts Movie, which I’m okay with but at least be more creative so that each Ice Age installment is introducing a female version of one of the lead characters so they can be paired up/have kids.
Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3.9/10 average)
The Little Prince | August 5th 2016 (Limited) | One Animation Studios
Director: Mark Osborne | Box Office: $97.6 Million
108 Minutes | Rated PG
I’d be waiting for this film since late last year and man, this had a turbulent time getting to North American audiences until Netflix swooped in to distribute it after Paramount Pictures initially pulled out back in April. While I had some issues with the overall storytelling towards the end, the characters were captivating and like-able enough to look past the hiccups. The casting was pretty spot on; always down for more Jeff Bridges in voiceover roles (Prince Lir from The Last Unicorn anyone? Hah)! Even though the film seemed to run a little long I wished their were more paper craft style animated scenes.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% (7.3/10 average)
Sausage Party | August 12th 2016 | Nitrogen Studios
Directors: Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan | Box Office: $113.5 Million
88 Minutes | Rated R
This movie is SO stupid but in a good way. Like you know what you’re getting in to when you go to a movie called Sausage Party and it delivered that. As an adult that LOVES animation, I appreciate that this was made for a “mature audience”. What I kind of hate is the fact that things have to be overtly sexual littered with pointless F-bombs for something to be considered adult. However it did have a good amount of witty albeit shocking jokes, but the ratio of lazy/racist jokes was a little too high for my tastes (aka you can tell it was written by a bunch of white dudes). That, and coupled with the controversy of how terrible the working conditions were for the animators, makes me not want to support this studio despite the movie being more entertaining than a good chunk of animated films that came out this year. Pretty much.. just wait for it to come out on Netflix/Red Box.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82% (6.7/10 average)
Kubo And The Two Strings | August 19th 2016 | Laika Entertainment
Director: Travis Knight | Box Office: $49.2 Million
102 Minutes | Rated PG
This is probably one of my favorite films of the year and it’s a shame that it’s been under performing at the theaters. This movie had me tearing up multiple times but has a fun cheeky sense of humor while maintaining that fantastical charm that’s present in all Laika films. The story is pretty straight forward and plays out like a typical hero’s journey but it’s the characters that keep you engaged. I always appreciate that Laika doesn’t talk down to it’s audience and isn’t afraid to be a little creepy when the plot allows for it. My one complaint is the white washing of the cast. The few Asian voice actors they utilized were side characters that had maybe 5 mins of screen time. I legit thought the Moon King was voiced by Randall Duk Kim, but it was wasn’t. The thing that is truly impressive is how Laika manages to bring this magic to us every few years with only a $60 million budget. So while Kubo hasn’t brought in as much as their previous films, they’re on their way to breaking even. Go see this film in theaters if you can!
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% (8.3/10 average)
*Box office numbers were pulled from Box Office Mojo as of September 13th 2016
Have you seen any of this year’s animated films? What’s your favorite? Let me know below or tweet @teriarchibbles.
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