BEST ANIMATED FLICKS OF 2012
by George Beremov
Not sure if you have noticed, but over the past ten years animated movies turned out to be generally better than most live-action films, and for that reason alone, this lovable genre deserves a bit more credit and attention. When speaking of animations, there was some tough competition last year – early spring brought us the colorful and cute The Lorax, which was good, but rather forgettable. A month later, Aardman Animations set the bar really high with the awesomely adventurous stop-motion feature, Pirates! Band of Misfits. Summer gave us a couple of sequels such as Madagascar 3 and Ice Age 4, as well as Pixar’s latest, Brave. Fall and winter also delivered, thanks to the highly enjoyable and beautifully-animated Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians, both presented in 3D. Also, with flicks like ParaNorman, Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania, we can easily state that in 2012, animation went horror… in a kiddy sort of way, of course. After this short introduction, it’s time to find out which one of these ended up being the five best animated flicks past year had to offer.
Rating: 8.25 stars out of 10
Paying homage to such timeless classics as Pet Sematary and Godzilla, Tim Burton’s Frankenstein-inspired stop-motion horror spoof, Frankenweenie, is crafted with big love, care, and passion, and that shows through the lively, superbly-written and designed characters, and darkly stunning black-and-white visuals. Although bizarre, and typically grim and Gothic in tone and look, this film embraces its delightful weirdness to the fullest, and has a truly endearing story that will melt your heart, as well as great humor that will make you smile and cheer.
2. Wreck-It Ralph
Rating: 8.00 stars out of 10
What makes this gem of an animation as complex as it is, is the fact that it manages to be visually breathtaking, without compromising on both, the plot and character development. Dealing with classic arcade video games we all loved, and grew up with, its unique story brings back precious memories from our childhood, Wreck-it Ralph may be lively and playful, but it’s not all about fun and games, as it has a softer and emotional side that teaches it’s okay to be different, as well as a powerful moral message for children and young adults.
Rating: 8.00 stars out of 10
Slightly scary for little kids, but great fun for the older ones (as well as adults) seeking for something different, and even softly chilling, ParaNorman may lack the creativity, complexity and slickness of Henry Selick’s claymation masterpiece Coraline, but it’s nevertheless an inventive, incredibly well-crafted and marvellously-animated stop motion feature, with smart script, dark sense of humor, likable protagonist, truly unique visual approach, impressive attention to detail, and last but not least, a climax with surprising emotional depth.
4. Rise of the Guardians
Rating: 7.75 stars out of 10
Energetic, lively, imaginative, full of fresh ideas, and definitely worth-seeing in 3D, Rise of the Guardians not only astounds with its vivid, colorful, and richly-crafted animation, but also has heart-warming morality and ‘magicality’, that will win you over. David Lindsay-Abaire’s cleverly-adapted script mixes up mythological and fantasy elements with huge amount of wit and juvenile innocence, in order to provide us with a truly engaging storyline, with never a dull moment, that is as kind-hearted and affecting, as it’s action-packed.
5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Rating: 7.50 stars out of 10
This movie displays enough originality and creativity to save itself from being ‘you typical pirate affair’, and delivers many clever jokes for the adults as well as some silly but funny slapstick for the youngsters. What makes Pirates! Band of Misfits even more enjoyable is the adventurous nature of it, the superbly colorful characters, and last but not least, the ingeniously hilarious, yet inventive action scenes it proudly boasts. Clay animation is extremely difficult to execute, so both directors deserve credit for the remarkable job they’ve here.