Posts Tagged ‘Cartoon’

Planet 51

It’s not often that you watch a cartoon that is just so cool that you don’t care about the sickly sweet kiddie friendly plot, or the message that the producers tried to shoehorn into it about how we’re all the same underneath the different colour skin and how we can all live together in peace and love and rainbows and puppies and all that other crap.  (There are “puppies” in this film, but they’re cool and we’ll get to them later)  Planet 51 manages all this, and it’s just great.

The film revolves around some kind of plot in which the human astronaut lands and becomes the alien.  Something that was done before in Monsters Inc.  But that’s all besides the point.  The point of Planet 51 is to be a complete mockery of “the Ameican Way of Life” in the fifties, and, all the cool big budget horror/sci-fi films that have happened since then.

There’s even a scene in which the citizen’s patrol are being instructed on how to deal with the Alien invasion through a series of instruction manuals, two of which were attacked by sea monsters and attack by a 50 foot woman.  Planet 51 is even better than Monsters Vs. Aliens. (and i loved that film more than I should probably ever admit).

Cartoons really have to overachieve to reach 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale, and while Planet 51 often had me going all Keanu Reeve’s “whoa, that was cool!”  it never had me going “wow, that was fucking dodgy”.  There isn’t really a dodgiest moment, but rather dodgiest characters, and the award is shared.  Both characters are “puppies”.  There’s the alien dog from whichever alien movie had a dog infested with an alien (I think it was Alien 3 but feel free to correct me in the comments), complete with acidic urine and a tongue that was basically a face hugger.  The second dodgiest character was Rover, an unmanned probe that had the personality of a dog.  It was basically Wall-E, but with more personality.  The meeting of the two of them, complete with butt-sniffing had me falling off my chair.

Planet 51 got a gigantic 5 alien smileys.  It rocked.  I just wish I had’ve found it sooner so I would have more time to appreciate it.  As it is, I suspect that each time you watch it there are going to be additional alien movie cliches that you pick up.

The film’s script is alright.  In general, it’s not fantastic and is suitable for kiddies.  however, it does contain some real gems.  “Your daily dose of Chuck” is one of them, but the real winner in the most memorable quote is “The whole planet is full of alien life and you send back pictures of rocks.”  I’m sure this is what happened with the Mars Rover.  The sent the thing there to get interesting pictures of the rocks, so that’s what it sent back.

Normally, this is where I have final comments.  But there is something that needs to be added.  Planet 41 has the best use of “The Macarena” I’ve ever scene.  It starts playing when the aliens drop Chuck’s ipod and all of them fall to the ground holding their ears in agony (think Mars Attacks style, without the exploding heads) until someone shoots the device.   It’s even referred to as a “Heinous weapon” and if that wasn’t sufficient as a cruel sadistic device.  Stop the Madness indeed.

Planet 51 didn’t get nearly as much hype as it deserved, but fortunately, I managed to watch it before it descended into obscurity.  You should too.

Hoodwinked

Hoodwinked is a musical, film-noiresque detective story version of Little Red Riding Hood.  If that doesn’t immediately make you run out and buy it, and it should, you may be on the wrong site.  But, if you need more convincing, read on.

Hoodwinked starts off by showing the end of the story, which turns out to be the middle of the story, but you only find that out later. The main players in this musical drama, Red, Granny, The Wolf and Kirk all get detained by Flippers, the police investigator,  and each is interviewed. During this process, you can piece the entire story together if you pay attention, but to get all the subtleties you will need to watch it more than once.

The interviews start, and you’re still convinced that this is a Disney cartoon made by a small budget studio. Then the singing starts. The first song is a crayon version of Julie Andrews in sound of music.  You’re still fairly sure what you’ve gotten yourself into, and that’ll be the last time you question whether this movie is dodgy.  After this, the musical numbers include a yodelling goat, a singing bunny and The “Schnitzel on a Stick Song” You have to see, well, hear  them to truly appreciate the full extent of the dodginess.

Vignettes abound, including homages to the great dodgy movies XXX and The Matrix.  There is also a group of singing porcupines dressed as The Village People, which is really just icing on top of the goodies. Ultimately, the mystery is resolved and the story ends happily for everyone that you care about, despite the fact that Kirk ends up in “Der Happy Yodelers”, but it makes him happy, even though yodelling has been outlawed by the Geneva Convention as a cruel and unusual punishment.

Cartoons don’t normally qualify for more than a 4 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale as a certain level of dodginess is expected. Hoodwinked, however, manages a well deserved 5. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment that pushes this movie up to the maximum rating. The schnitzel song and yodelling goat, the “battle of the iron cage gladiators” champion granny as well as the squirrel after being fed caffeine could compete for that privilege. However, the Broadway-esque musical number in which the Bunny’s plan is revealed, complete with choreography by the evil henchman, including Jazz Hands, pushes it over the edge.

I bought this one having only watched the trailer, and my faith was well rewarded. Every time I watch it I find something to appreciate, and it isn’t always something new. Even the musical numbers grow on you after a while, and for that, this one gets a 5 Mutant Smileys for rewatchability.

The most memorable quote was almost a tough choice, with gems like “Oh good, More singing” and “Use the hood Red, Use the hood.” But it wasn’t even close once the bunny started dishing out commands. “Keith, darnit change your name.. Please.. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, you know, oh watch out for Keith.” We all know the importance of scary henchman names, and this spells it out in flashing neon letters.

You won’t get the  slick, polished visual smorgasboard that you experience in the newer Pixar films, given that Hoodwinked had a far smaller budget. However, the script carries this one, and the animation is more than watchable, making this one a must buy for everyone.

Ooh Shiny
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