Wednesday, December 31, 2008

trailers: upcoming animated films

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! This is just your friendly neighborhood reminder to be safe tonight. And if you're being super safe by staying in tonight, be on the lookout for Comedy Central to go off the air at 12:01... Today I bring you the trailers for some upcoming 2009 animated features, all of which look entertaining and artful (as opposed to the ghastly Delgo). I'm glad children's movies are becoming more mindful of fully grown children and incorporating solid storylines. As beautiful as Meet the Robinsons (based off of my favorite childhood book) was, the blatant moral almost killed me. (Did they have to repeat it in such a flashy manner so many times?) So here are the trailers and my following thoughts on them.

This film may be animated, but I don't think it's a children's movie. Director/Writer Shane Acker's post-apocalyptic narrative involving rag dolls as they try to survive is not exactly a heartwarming family affair, but I wouldn't consider most stop-motion films (sans Wallace and Gromit) to be children's movies (not that 9 is stop-motion, because it's not). The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas are freaky movies. This trailer is close to perfect, from the regretful voiceover at the beginning to the Coheed and Cambria song that matches the look of this dark parallel world. Not to mention the HAL9000 glowing red eye throughout. The only fault I have with this trailer is that it spends too much time listing the voice actors. I've said this before, and I will say it until my face turns blue -- I do not see animated films for the actors. In fact, there are very few actors that I will see anything they're in. But still, having an impressive cast will not deter me from seeing this film (that would be a silly reason to not see a movie). And remember the clever campaign; this film comes out 9.9.09.

First of all, Stephen Colbert plays the PRESIDENT? Brilliant. Seriously, that's amazing. Secondly, I don't think Seth Rogen should do any more animated films (he was also in Kung Fu Panda) because I cannot separate the distinctive gruffy voice from the actor. But he does offer up the best line in the trailer: "I think that jello gave me a fake phone number." Rogen's Bob the Blob would be the best reason for anyone over the age of 15 to see this movie because it definitely is targeted to children. My money is on the moral being comfortable in your own skin -- a la the star-bellied Sneetches -- and that everyone is special and unique... and can fight off invading aliens. Which brings me to my last point... if I were invading a planet, I would hope to say something as awesome as "I come in peace, but most of you will not survive the next twenty-four hours."

I'm not going to lie. This trailer creeped me out... before, that is, I found out it was from the mind of author Neil Gaiman. Don't get me wrong, the trailer still creeps me out (see my stop-motion comment from earlier), but I know I'll be treated to a fantastic story if I go see it. But the best thing about this movie is not the trailer but the website. It's an interactive exploration of Coraline's house! In the living room, you can find some really amazing images involving buttons, and elsewhere you can upload your own photo and "button your eyes" (button, of course, being a verb). This will certainly make for an interesting experience, especially for those select few who received The Coraline Boxes as part of their campaign (box holder #3 has the best photos). I don't think this film will make a lot of money, which is unfortunate because money equals success in Hollywood, but I think that the people who see this movie will love it.

I saved the best for last. You know you're in for a good time (of unbearable adorableness) with Pixar, and their upcoming feature is no exception. Up is about a cranky old Walter Matthau type who travels the world via a ballooned house. This is just a teaser trailer, but so much is packed into it. I don't know what's funnier -- the boy scout being denied admittance to the house, or the sound of his clanking pack as he runs to safety. Luckily for us, we don't have to wait too long for this film because it opens in May. I've noticed the annoying trend of trailers being broadcast way ahead of time (Terminator 4 and the new Star Trek film are some particularly obnoxious examples), so it's nice to know we don't have to wait a whole year and a half to enjoy this visual feast.

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