The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards airs on VH1 live Thursday, January 12th. The show will be hosted by Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer and feature Fitz and the Tantrums as the Awars’ house band. As a member of the Broadcast Film Critics I am profiling the nominees in the major categories. Today: Best Animated Feature.
While I was not as charmed as other critics were with Arthur Christmas the film’s inclusion among the nominees is not as repellant as at least one nominee in the Best Documentary category. Arthur Christmas is a slight, occasionally charming animated trifle with a better premise than a full length story. The idea of Santa’s doofusy son making sure that one kid doesn’t get left out of Christmas is very sweet, even as the film muddies the premise in execution.
No one expected much, other than major box office returns, from Kung Fu Panda 2. What a joyous surprise then that the makers of Kung Fu Panda 2 actually crafted a story that capitalized and improved upon the original. The comedy of Kung Fu Panda 2 is broader and more imaginative and the animation has more dimension, skill and beauty than the great looking original.
I could copy and paste what I said about Kung Fu Panda 2 into this space and it would be equally true. Puss in Boots isn’t directly a sequel of Shrek, it is more accurately described as a spinoff, but it carried the same burden as a sequel; the burden of low expectations based on the audience belief that the film only exists to capitalize financially on the original. Puss in Boots takes a character from the Shrek universe and fleshes him out into his own full length story while building a bright and fun universe for him to exist in all his own. Antonio Banderas’s lively, witty voice work is matched beat for comic beat by co-stars Zach Galifianakis and Salma Hayek and the trio helps to create a completely fun family movie.
Rango is as much a brilliantly funny animated film as it is a work of art. Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp teamed up with Nickelodeon to create one of the most wildly artistic and imaginative movies of 2011. Not only is Rango beautiful but the story is a terrific combination of humor and old school Hollywood homage that draws influence from classic westerns and the legendary noir mystery Chinatown. Rango is remarkable.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Adventures of Tintin but, as in the case of Arthur Christmas, I don’t object to it being nominated here. Even a non-fan like me has to admit that there are moments when The Adventures of Tintin becomes the movie that Steven Speilberg intended; a giddy, rollicking adventure for the whole family. Where I felt the movie dragged far too often while dealing in explanations of its story many of my colleagues were quite understandably won over by Steven Speilberg’s first attempt at motion capture animation.
The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards airs Thursday, January 12th live on VH1. Vote for your favorite Animated Feature at VH1.com