The Book of Life, directed by Jorge Gutierrez, is about two friends and the woman they both love. Joaquin (Channing Tatum) is the soldier who grew up in the shadow of his heroic father’s legacy, Manolo (Diego Luna) is the bullfighter who really just wants to be a musician, and Maria (Zoe Saldana) is the feisty and modern-minded young lady who captures both their hearts.
I just watched nearly all the Oscar-nominated animated shorts (and it is rare that they all appear online for public viewing somehow) except the Simpsons one and my opinion is this:
It is going to be – or it should be! – a close, close call between Adam and Dog and Paperman.
Disney’s Paperman is charming, sweet, and absolutely beautiful in black and white. It also has some truly delightful character animation – I love watching the main character’s expressions (and you can and should watch it here on Youtube). But Lee Minkyu’s Adam and Dog… made me cry. I think it just pushed all my emotional buttons, despite not being a particularly sad story: the dog that Adam befriends in the Garden of Eden, and who subsequently gets forgotten about when Eve appears, but who sticks by them when they are banished from Eden. (Adam and Dog also has really gorgeous backgrounds.)
And it reminds me that I miss my dog…
“You went to watch Frankenweenie? Isn’t that for kids?”
I found this ironic coming from a person who happens to really like Despicable Me. I haven’t seen it, and I understand that it’s a pretty decent movie, but from what I know of it, it is even more of a children’s film than Frankenweenie is.
To summarise the story: Clever and introverted Victor Frankenstein lives in a small town called New Holland (which really reminded me of the town where Edward Scissorhands lived). When his beloved Sparky dies, Victor is inconsolable. Then one day during a science lesson in school, Victor is inspired to attempt to raise his dog from the dead – and he succeeds! But some of his classmates discover this fact, and each tries to replicate his experiment, with consequences both dire and hilarious.
I think of Frankenweenie as Tim Burton’s personal pet project. He came up with the story when he was an animator at Disney, and eventually managed to get it made into a short film in 1984 – but that didn’t work out so well and Disney sacked him. Now, years and years later, they give him leave to make it a full-length animated movie, which he does with his signature style and wit. And proves that you don’t need a a film to be in full colour for it to be interesting. Frankenweenie, I give thee three and a half stars: ★★★½