3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst is exactly what it sounds like – 3 of the best examples of either an actor, film series, genre, etc. versus 3 of the worst. It’s also an opportunity for you to have your say on my choices and whether you would have placed something ahead of my best or my worst. This week its Computer Animated Movies (which aren’t Pixar).
Seeing Despicable Me 2 this week got me thinking about how good some computer animated movies are getting now. Pixar have led the way for a long time and even though they are being caught, they still lead the pack, so it seemed logical to leave them out. It also means I get to shine the spotlight on other movies which aren’t Toy Story, The Incredibles or Monsters Inc. I doubt it would change what was in my 3 worst though. So here we go again…
3 of the Best
3 – Wreck-It Ralph
A true return to form for Disney. Their last computer animated film, Tangled, was ok but nothing particularly special. Wreck-It Ralph was a great animation with some fantastic fan service, a great story and brilliant use of animation. I think it improves if you are a video-game fan due to all the fan service but it’s still a great movie regardless of that and proof that other studios, other than Pixar, can create an immersive, incredible universe with loads of scope for future movies.
2 – How to Train your Dragon
This film shocked me. It’s not that I was expecting it to be poor, just that I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. It’s a great story, very funny and has some fantastic action. It’s not the usual, kiddy-style film and feels quite grown-up in places. Above all though, it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the upcoming sequel.
1 – Shrek
The greatest film Pixar never made. The first Shrek can not be equalled. The second Shrek comes close and there is even an argument that it could be included in one of the other spaces, but the first Shrek offered something so original and so unique. It has great characters, a very fun and engaging story and so many in-jokes and manipulation of the fairy-tale genre that it places the movie above and beyond any other that isn’t produced by Pixar.
3 of the Worst
3 – Shrek Forever After
Unfortunately, Shrek over-stretched with its sequels. The second is a great film but the quality dips hugely with the third and even further with the fourth. When a franchise begins as well and successfully as Shrek, the only place it can go is down and Shrek Forever After is low. It suffers from no real, decent story to tell and too many characters. It also focuses on the wrong characters, with Donkey, the best part of the whole franchise, getting short-changed in this movie. It’s a shame that the third and fourth tarnish the first two, fantastic movies.
2 – The Smurfs
There is very little to like about this movie. It doesn’t help that I was never a Smurf fan anyway but it just offers very little of real quality. It’s very kid-focused, which is ok in small doses but when its something as mainstream and culturally iconic as The Smurfs, there has to be more to engage an adult audience. There are plenty of examples of kids films done well for an adult audience and The Smurfs is an example of how to do this badly. The sequel looks just as bad too.
1 – Planet 51
Worse than being too kid-friendly is being too lazy. Planet 51 had some great potential and a great starting point but is just too generic. Its got some good ideas but none of them are realised properly and it focuses on the wrong parts of the story. It also feels very badly cast and never takes advantage of the great voice talent it has. Its a shame but it’s also an example of how lazy films can become when something like computer animated movies become big business.
Overall, there were a lot of movies that fit into both categories but these are the ones that stuck with me the most. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a great movie, while Over the Hedge is another example of lazy animated movies. When computer animated movies are done well, they’re fantastic but they can also be very generic and with so many being produced each year, it’s becoming harder and harder to find the really fantastic ones.