Top 5 Animated Films of 2016

fox and bunny having an argument

In 2015, I tracked my media consumption on a page on my blog, but then never did anything with it. Earlier in 2016, much like I adopted GoodReads to track my books, I created an account on LetterBoxd to track films, and my oh my, how much easier it is. I’m not sure why I never did your typical end of year wrap ups on my blog before, but here we are making up for it.

That being said, I wrote the post over on my animation website, AnimationComplex.com. So please head over there and give it some love. 🙂

Unfortunately, my picks were not totally in-line with the Oscar nominations, which were released this morning. We were on very similar planes regarding the film, but we definitely have our differences. And there’s one that I haven’t seen, that wasn’t nominated, that, based on performance and reviews, sounds like it should have made the cut. I also mention an animation-related documentary that was nominated for an Oscar as well! But I plan to go into the Oscars a bit more in the future, both on AnimationComplex and on the in-progress, not-yet-launched Animation Complex YouTube channel.

TCM Treasures from the Disney Vault

Sunday, the 15th of March, I had the pleasure of watching a good chunk of a special programming block on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), called Treasures from the Disney Vault. TCM’s site describes the program as follows:

Several times a year, TCM will feature a wide array of Disney classics for the entire family to enjoy, including animated shorts, feature films, live-action movies, documentaries, nature films and made-for-television movies.

This months lineup began with the 1959 classic film “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” followed by a fun featurette starring Walt himself and Darby actor Albert Sharpe, “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns” (1959). Following this was the Silly Symphony “Babes in the Woods” (1932), and the 1955 featurette “The Story of the Animated Drawing.” Then, starting at midnight, TCM screened 1944’s “The Three Caballeros,” the 2008 documentary “Walt & El Grupo,” and lastly “The Fighting Prince of Donegal” (1966). Each of these had great little intros and outros by Disney/film historian Leonard Maltin.

tcmDisneyClassics

I really do hope that–as the site implies–TCM turns this into a series. Preferably one that happens more than just “several” times a year! My one complaint about the program was that it ran so late on a Sunday night, with the final film starting at 3:30am (EST). I understand that the block needed to accommodate multiple time zones (and I don’t hold it against them or anything), but as a result, I was unable to see ‘Donegal.’ I also did not stay up to watch “Walt & El Grupo,” but seeing as how I own that on DVD I did not miss anything new.

The only other issue with the programming was one I did not even notice. Leonard Maltin tweeted the following:

Again, did not even realize this was a thing. Considering this was my first time ever even hearing about Darby O’Gill, let alone watching it, I was less bothered (read: not bothered at all) than those who grew up with it. But I can empathize with film/nostalgia buffs wanting the film presented as un-altered as possible.

I’m not going to sit here now and review each of these films. Perhaps I will in the future (in individual posts), but right now I’m more than happy (elated, actually) to simply acknowledge that this block happened–that this series exists at all. ‘Grateful’ sounds a bit over-dramatic, but that is sincerely how I feel. Very rarely do I get to see a lot of the more obscure live-action Disney films. Similarly, it is also a treat to see many of the black-and-white featurettes that were so prominent when Walt was marketing his films. Sometimes I would be lucky and one of them would pop up as a random bonus feature on a DVD, and would otherwise be non-existent, but it’s nice to see these equally entertaining spots be given a spotlight.

So thanks, TCM! Cannot wait for more.

A Missed Opportunity

I’m kind of mad at myself. And why? Because this is happening tonight:

nycSigBH6

The NYC ACM SIGGRAPH chapter is holding an event about the character design and development of Disney’s Big Hero 6. Here are the event details from the site:

Join Character Design Supervisor, Bill Schwab and Character CG Supervisor, Carlos Cabral as they share the art, process and innovation of  “Big Hero 6” an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax —and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, Bill and Carlos will share what it’s like to bring characters to life at Disney Animation.

The NYIT auditorium is a pretty cozy venue, so I should have known that it would fill up fast, especially considering that tickets were being sold in advance (which tends to not happen when NYC SIG events are held at SVA or FIT, which are a little more spacious). The thing is, I’ve known about this event for a while, before it was even being advertised. And, as usual, I hesitated to purchase my ticket. And, as usual, the event filled up quickly. I’ve been to enough of these types of talks to know what I’m missing. Heck, if I’m lucky I’ll still manage to see some form of this talk at SIGGRAPH or online featurettes. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have loved every damn minute of this.

There are so many reasons I should be attending this event. Many of my friends and classmates from SVA will be there, fellow Blue Skyers and SIG friends will be there, the presentation itself will be dope, networking, a badass write up for this sad little blog, A VIDEO FOR MY NONEXISTENT YOUTUBE CHANNEL!? And I threw it all away. Why?

Because the thought of commuting into NYC is very daunting to me. That’s literally it. I am a homebody through and through, but right now that side of me feels very passively self-destructive.

Perhaps shaming myself via the Internet will teach me to get over myself. Hell, maybe this in itself could become a video for my NONEXISTENT YouTube channel. Because this is not the first time my aversion to social situations has costed me a great opportunity and experience. Hopefully it is one of the last..