Archive for January, 2010

Yellow Submarine (1968)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on January 26, 2010 by dpallee

(l to r) John, George, Paul, Ringo and the Lord Mayor from "Yellow Submarine" 1968.

For those of you who remember this movie and tell yourself you plan to see that again some day, wait no longer. This 1968 classic from United Artists and King Features Syndicate stands the test of time as a fantastic movie with great artwork, great sountrack, good story and and enjoyable for all ages. This is one of those movies that I would pop in for the kids to watch day after day after day and still, I can find enjoyment watching this tale written and inspired by the Beatles 1966 song “Yellow Submarine” . The basic storyline begins in a make-believe land called Pepperland where the good folks who live there are attacked by the Blue Meanies, a music hating clan. A sailor named Fred (voice of Lance Percival) is sent to Liverpool, England, where he secures the help of the infamous singing group to help him regain the land from the Meanies. The pop art stylized backgrounds are impressive and when combined with the fantastic songs of the Beatles, gives the viewer a great film to experience time and time again.

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The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on January 18, 2010 by dpallee

Officer Short Shrift (l) and Milo (r) from "The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)"

My purpose of presenting this blog is to inform followers of good animated films; Movies I consider classic examples of animation or rarities from the mainstream of today’s animated fare. I feel it would not serve a full purpose if I did not occasionally present movies I consider poor samples as well, helping to alert followers to movies that I feel they probably wouldn’t enjoy (and the reason or reasons why). My first such posting for a movie I consider a bad example would have to go to The Phantom Tollbooth, released in 1970 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and produced by Chuck Jones of Bugs Bunny fame.

Being an avid Bugs Bunny fan as well as all the familiar characters from Looney Tunes, I found it surprising to find such a mediocre piece in this film. The movie is based on a 1961 children’s book by Norton Juster and combines music and live action in a story about a young boy named Milo. Milo comes home bored from school one day to find a large package in his room that contains a magical portal to another world. The premise of the story has been compared to Alice in Wonderland with numerous puns and visual plays on words. Compared to the mild (and sometimes not so mild) slapstick humor of Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck, characters like Officer Short Shrift (voice of Mel Blanc) held little humor and seemed to be played with a little too much  innocence. I would have enjoyed seeing some anticipation in the characters movements. I am not opposed to music in animated films (i.e. Cats Don’t Dance was an excellent example of an animated musical) but the tunes in the Phantom Tollbooth tried a bit too hard to mach the forced, pithy dialogue.

Allegro Non Troppo (1977)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , , on January 5, 2010 by dpallee

Evolved cola creatures move in time to 'Bolero' from "Allegro Non Troppo"

This 1977 film has been described as a parody of Disney’s Fantasia or an adult Fantasia, which pretty well sums up this 1977 Italian animated/live action film directed by Bruno Bozzetto. The aspect that can be appreciated in this film is it’s ability to tell a story without the restrictions of dialogue. The film is in Italian, however watching any of the animated pieces within this movie needs no knowledge of the language as we view six different pieces of classical music. The wet-on-wet backgrounds remind one somewhat of the colorful backgrounds in Yellow Submarine, but with a more loose, expressive approach. The use of shifting tonal effects on the main characters in ‘Bolero‘ and the synchronized movement make it one of the most enjoyable (and longest) pieces in the film. Various comparisons have been made to this film and Fantasia, such as the evolution scene in Allegro when compared to Disney’s Rite of Spring, however one can still appreciate the artwork and animation within this movie.