Time escaped me yet again for doing full length reviews for the animated films that came out this fall, but fear not! I have some solid bite sized reviews for the fall 2016 animated films lineup, and for the most part they were really fun and engaging! If they didn’t offer anything groundbreaking in storytelling they came through in visuals and pure entertainment. But which one shined through the most? Lets take a look!
Storks | September 23rd 2016 | Warner Brother Animation
Directors: Nicholas Stoller & Doug Sweetland | Box Office: $176.9 million
90 Minutes | Rated PG
I think I was one of the few people excited about this film. While it wasn’t anything super new (typical story of a character doing something to serves his own needs then has a change of heart by the end of the journey), it was thoroughly enjoyable. I found myself laughing at loud multiple times at the face paced humor (that was most likely improvised half the time) and it gave off the slapstick feeling of classic Looney Tunes or Animaniacs. It’s not without it’s faults, could’ve done without the try hard pigeon character and the Family Guy tendency to run a subpar joke into the ground, but it’s quirks and charm make up for it. Their baby character design is probably my favorite that I’ve seen in a while and the life montage at the end genuinely got me choked up. Overall I enjoyed it and look forward to Warner Brother’s future animated films (The Lego Batman Movie)!
Rotten Tomatoes: 63% (6/10 average)
Miss Hokusai | October 13th 2016 (Limited) | Production I.G
Director: Keiichi Hara | Box Office: $222,670 (US)
93 Minutes | Rated PG-13
Miss Hokusai is an adaptation of the manga Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura from the 1980s about Katsushika Oi, a brilliant painter/production artist and the daughter to the famous Ukiyo-e (a popular art style from the Edo period) artist Katsushika Hokusai. O-Ei herself was great to watch interact with the largely male cast. She’s blunt, confident, and has a no nonsense air about her except when it comes to O-Nao, her blind and ill younger sister, where O-Ei’s warmth and kindness shines through. Unfortunately her story felt disjointed and a little forced. Things just kinda happened around her with little to no growth. I wish I liked this movie more, but it ultimately suffered from the same issues I had with Only Yesterday. Both feel better suited for television or to stay as serialized manga. But at least there was a super cute Shiba Inu that served as an adorable marker for the passage of time as it grows older.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% (7.4/10 average)
Trolls | November 4th 2016 | DreamWorks Animation
Directors: Mike Mitchell & Walt Dohrn | Box Office: $292.6
100 Minutes | Rated PG
I was not super excited for this film as I viewed it as an excuse to reboot a 90’s toy franchise. And while I don’t think I’m wrong, I was pleasantly surprised with how fun the film was. It was PAINFULLY predictable and Poppy didn’t feature any noticeable character arc/growth. However I’m glad they spent a lot of time on the Bergen Prince Gristle Jr and his scullery maid Bridget, they stole the show and I want animated shorts of them. I also wish they had more original music for the film you had Justin Timberlake as the Executive Producer for music.. How are there only TWO original songs and a bunch of awkwardly inserted cover songs? What shined through the most for me were the character and environment designs. It was truly a felt scrapbook come to life and I’m okay with that.
Side note: I prefer mine and my roommate’s plot twist of Branch being part Bergen or the idea of the Trolls transforming into Bergens if they lose their happiness.. BUT THAT’S JUST ME.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75% (6.2/10 average)
Moana | November 23rd 2016 | Disney Animation
Directors: John Musker & Ron Clements | Box Office: $104.7 million
113 Minutes | Rated PG
Disney has done many a Princess film, but I don’t think this is a Princess film (just like how technically Pocahontas and Mulan aren’t true princess flicks but are under the Disney Princess franchise umbrella). I went in to this knowing it’d be good, but damn, I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful it’d be. It’s been a bit since I’ve cried during a Disney movie within the first 2 songs (Tarzan holds the record for that intro song!), and I proceeded to tear up whenever a certain character popped up later on. While I know Disney changed quite a bit from Maui’s myth while creating a compelling story (Hercules’ original mythology comes to mind), it was nice to see the care and research they did to pay tribute to the Polynesian culture and mythology with the creation of The Oceanic Trust. I don’t know the nuances of Polynesian culture but the film has sparked my curiosity. There’s also a great Medium post on the film with a Polynesian viewer perspective. Overall I loved it. Solid heroine’s journey. Just go see it. Now excuse me while I go buy the artbook, soundtrack, all the things, etc.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (8/10 average)
*Rotten Tomatoes ratings and box office numbers from Box Office Mojo are current as of November 30th 2016.
With only one more animated film to be released in 2016 (Sing!), I think it’s pretty safe to say I can make a Top 5 List for our end of year wrap up posts. So stay tuned for that in December!
Did you see any of this year’s fall animated films? What’s your favorite? Let me know below or tweet @teriarchibbles.
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