Time Out polled more than 100 experts to find the 100 best animated movies. Here's the top 10 (minus the top pick...you'll have to click through for that):
10. Fantastic Mr. Fox
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
7. The Iron Giant
5. The Incredibles
4. Toy Story
3. My Neighbor Totoro
2. Spirited Away
I'm delighted to see Fantastic Mr Fox on the list...it's an underrated effort by Wes Anderson that will continue to grow in esteem as the years pass. No Wall-E in the top 10 though? I don't know about that. It clocks in at #36, behind Chicken Run (the least of Aardman's efforts in my mind) and Up, which is maybe my least favorite Pixar film. (via @garymross)
Jim Capobianco's end credits to Andrew Stanton's "WALL-E" are essential; they are the actual ending of the film, a perfect and fantastically optimistic conclusion to a grand, if imperfect idea. Humanity's past and future evolution viewed through unspooling schools of art. Frame after frame sinks in as you smile self-consciously. It isn't supposed to be this good but there it is. This is art in its own right. Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman's song, "Down to Earth" indulges you with some incredibly thoughtful lyrics and, from the Stone Age to the Impressionists to the wonderful 8-bit pixel sprites, you are in the midst of something special.
In a NY Times op-ed piece, Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler argue that the Oscars should have a category for the design of title sequences. Hear, hear. Their pick for this year's hypothetical award:
1. "WALL-E," Susan Bradley and Jim Capobianco/Pixar. These poignant end titles, which show humans and robots flourishing on a revived Earth, offer a quick history of art, from cave paintings to van Gogh. They then proceed to retell the entire movie, this time in the pixelated style of old video games.
HD version of Presto, the short film shown before Pixar's Wall-E. The shorts shown before Pixar films seemingly have something to do with the next film in the company's pipeline. Boundin' preceded Cars (both were set in the desert Southwest), One Man Band came out before Ratatouille (the former set in Italy, the later in France, but with similar "set" design), and Lifted preceded Wall-E (both featured outer space and spaceships), but I can't figure out what Presto has to do with Up (the teaser's no help).
Life is nothing but imperfection and the computer likes perfection, so we spent probably 90% of our time putting in all of the imperfections, whether it's in the design of something or just the unconscious stuff. How the camera lens works in [a real] housing is never perfect, and we tried to put those imperfections [into the virtual camera] so that everything looks like you're in familiar [live-action] territory.
Wall-E was wonderful...best new film I've seen in a long time. With it, Andrew Stanton joins Brad Bird in Pixar's top tier of directors, with the much-heralded John Lasseter in third place. But I can see where Tyler Cowen was coming from when he stated in his short review that the film was "not recommended for children" and that "some bold genius at Pixar will be fired". Wall-E was funny, charming, and endearing but also subversive, disturbing, and dystopian. That combination that usually doesn't play well at the box office but some of my favorite films ride that fine line between comedy and disconcerting drama.
Some other thoughts and observations:
This was the first Pixar movie to include live action sequences. What, they couldn't 'toon Fred Willard?
Disney is selling all sorts of Wall-E merchandise to go along with the movie, much of which will end up in a landfill somewhere. Just like the movie. It's a full circle. Very clever, Disney.
"We wanted it to have the feeling that it had actually been filmed," says Morris. Using subtle details such as barrel distortion and lens flare, gave Wall.E the feel of the 70mm sci-fi films of the Seventies. For the first time Pixar also brought Academy Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins and special-effects don Dennis Muren onboard. "We wanted to get the nuance of a live action film, and actually put mistakes in with zooms and framing to give it a more immediate feel."
Deakins is well-known for working with the Coen Brothers on many of their films. (thx, brian)
What's been frustrating so far is simply that in many of Pixar's prior films, there's no particular reason why one or another of their characters couldn't be female rather than male -- would Ratatouille have been any less well done if he were a she? Would the rescue of the ant colony be less spectacular if Julia Louis-Dreyfus had voiced Flik against Dave Foley's Prince Atta?
Wall-E is Pixar's next movie, to be released in June 2008. A new teaser trailer is due to be released today at 8pm ET, although a French site has jumped the gun and is displaying it now (much better HD version). Does it make sense even if you don't speak French? Yes, because the movie isn't going to have any dialogue. Says director Andrew Stanton: "I'm basically making R2-D2: The Movie". At least it's not in Aramaic. And talkies are overrated anyway, right?
Pixar has also launched a promotional web site for the film. The site was formerly just a placeholder but is now faux-corporate brochureware for Buy n Large, maker of the Wall-E robot. The site is full of ridiculous corporate-speak like "by visiting the Buy n Large web site you instantaneously relinquish all claims against the Buy n Large corporation and any of its vendors or strategic partners." Check out the Nanc-E under Robotics/Robot Models for a chuckle. (thx, david)