Top 20 Favorite Films (2020 Edition)

Almost ten years ago, I did a list on here of my top 20 favorite films.  It’s been a long time since those days.  So much of my life has changed.  I’m not in college anymore.  I’m not the shit-kicker I used to be.  Well, at least I’m not picking fights with idiots the way I used to.  Now I am so much more of a shit-kicker in other ways.  A full decade later, having grown as a person I thought I would come back to this topic.  Here’s the criteria for my favorite films – if you were to put this on in front of me, my super tall self would sit my ass down and watch it and enjoy it, no matter what I was doing.  These are not the films that I think are the best made, though I do think they are all of quality.  No, these are the films that are my absolute favorite to watch on any day when I am feeling the need for a good movie that I can sit and enjoy.  Enjoy.

20. The Martian
This film has come into my life recently, but man has it left its mark.  I love this movie.  Some of you might know from being continuous readers of this site that I LOVE me some smart science fiction.  With all the crap like anything JJ Abrams puts out and all the big budget films that treat smart science like a dog to take out back, having a film like this be as good as it is just makes me feel so good.  Telling the story of an astronaut who ends up trapped on Mars, and the effort to bring him home.  I love Matt Damon’s role as Mark Watney.  It was so brilliant to have him recording logs into the camera.  That way they could have him acting and showing off his personality without talking to himself.  There isn’t a single bad role in this film.  If you haven’t seen this yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

19. The Boondock Saints
Some of you who have been readers more recently may not be surprised at this pick.  After all, I’ve made no secret that I think there is a problem with the broken nature of this country, and a film about two antiheroes looking to do some vigilante justice is just up my alley.  After being put in a situation where they have to kill two Russian mobsters, the MacManus brothers get a vision from God that they need to take their justice further, thus starting their crime spree across Boston.  This film is just a joy to watch.  It’s got some hilarious dark comedy.  The action scenes are fantastic.  Willem Dafoe is a joy to watch in his role as the effeminate FBI investigator who is trying to track down the ones responsible.  The three vigilante heroes, though, are just the best.  Norman Reedus really showed off his chops here.  So did Sean Patrick Flannery.  This film is a cult classic, and for damn good reason.

18. Ratatouille
Far and away my favorite of Pixar’s creations, this is a film that is just some good soul food for me.  I’ve talked about it before, but I love to cook.  There was a running joke back when my girl and I were first living together that I was the one who made us sandwiches after sex.  It’s true.  Cooking has been a passion of mine since I was young.  So the story of Remy, a rat with a passion that is being restrained by his life as a rat is just so touching.  It helps that the main character is voiced by Patton Oswald.  Anything that guy touches is gold.  He’s naturally funny, and brings so much of his sarcastic charm to the role.  One of the reasons I love this film so much is that Brad Bird made it.  He came up in animated films, and it’s clear that they drew this film before they animated it with CG.  That level of care and the knowledge of how that sort of filmmaking works goes so far in making the world of Paris come alive.  Not a lot more to say.  It’s a feel-good movie, and that’s all it needs to be.

17. Dredd
What a criminally-underappreciated movie.  Kills me inside to think that there isn’t going to be a sequel.  This movie opened to absolutely abysmal numbers, but thankfully it has gone on to have a fantastic legacy.  One of the things holding it back was the unfortunate comparison to the Stallone film Judge Dredd.  But this film is an improvement on that hackneyed piece of shit in every way.  For starters, this movie is violent as fuck!  Add to that Karl Urban as the titular character, who never shows his face, and you have not just a fantastically violent action movie, but a fantastically violent superhero film as well.  The story goes that Dredd is taking a rookie out for her assessment.  After responding to a call, they end up in a game of cat and mouse, desperately trying to survive from a criminal warlord called Ma-Ma.  If you haven’t seen this movie and miss the days of genuinely violent action films, you have to check this out.  All the roles are pretty great as well.  I gotta give it to Karl Urban.  The level of dedication he put into his frown, and the decision to never show his face, makes the character true to the source material.

16. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
When Disney released this back in 1954, audiences weren’t sure how to feel about it.  The people who liked Disney films for being light-hearted and fun wouldn’t warm up to the haunting role of Captain Nemo, brilliantly played by James Mason.  The fans of serious stuff wouldn’t get into Kirk Douglas’ role of Ned Land, playing a song on the ship with a guitar.  However, when I first saw it, this film touched me deep inside almost immediately.  Mason’s role as Captain Nemo is just incredible.  The level of depth he brings the character, going from a man clinging to virtue, to a tortured survivor, to a brilliant scientist, and lastly to a deranged man on a question for revenge, it’s amazing he makes all those roles work.  The story is of Professor Aronnax and his companions ending up on the “submarine boat,” the Nautilus.  The journey they make and the emotional depths they are taken to is gripping.  It makes how tragic the ending is that much harder.

15. The Secret of NIMH
Some of you will know my love for 2D animation, and the absolute level of heat-break it takes me to in thinking that it’s gone from film.  Nobody understood how amazing and visually captivating this medium could be like Don Bluth.  The level of detail and the worlds that he would create was captivating.  I love each and every one of his films, but none more than the tale of Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH.  The story goes that Mrs. Brisby has to move from her home before the plow comes for the field that they live in.  However, her child is sick, and she’s out of options.  A visit to an unforeseen source gives her the information she needs.  She must go to the rose bush and seek out the wisdom of a group of rats living there.  This is a fantastic film, about science, nature, and the unknown.  It is a surprisingly smart film, especially since its targeted at children.  The animation is breath-taking, and the story is engaging.  Don’t need much more than that.

14. Spirited Away
It’s really hard to mention the great anime movies without talking about Hayao Miyazaki  This guy’s legacy of creating some of the most memorable films in the medium speaks for itself.  And make no mistake, you haven’t seen the last of Studio Ghibli’s works on this list.  You literally can’t ask for a more feel-good and warm fuzzy film than this.  Telling the story of Chihiro, who is moving to a new town, her family ends up lost in the woods and finds their way to a strange shrine and an abandoned town beyond it.  After her parents get turned to pigs, she winds up at Ubaba’s bathhouse.  She has to work there, while finding a way to save her family.  This film is cute, has a sweet story, and all the voice actors they got were on point.  I’ve said before that I only watch anime dubbed.  This film got all the right people.  If you’re ever feeling down and need a movie to watch, you can’t go wrong with this one.

13. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
My absolute favorite of the old Star Trek films.  Ah, for the days when this franchise wasn’t a giant pile of shit.  Before the days of Star Trek: Picard, which tried to make this franchise super dark and gritty.  Never mind that the original shows in the good times of the franchise had already done that.  It’s hard to watch the episode of DS9, “In the Pale Moonlight”, without feeling chills.  Some people have made the comparison with the shitty Picard sequel and this film.  After all, doesn’t this film get super political?  The whole premise is modeled after the end of the Cold War.  That’s got to be a political screed, right?  Here’s the thing – unlike Star Trek: Picard, this film takes an actually hard look at the characters with its political allegory.  Capt. Kirk is framed as a man out of time, being left behind by a changing world.  Spock is ruminating on aging and the concept of his world being an illusion.  Bones just laments that they are too old to be in the situation they are, and that they were supposed to be retired by now.  While the franchise as a whole has lost its damn mind, the best aspects of it survive in films like this.  The perfect send-off to the original crew.  At least until that other movie came around…

12. WIII: Patlabor
An anime film about two detectives trying to solve a mystery surrounding mecha, with an edge of creature horror.  It sounds like a giant clusterfuck, yet it is one of the most zen movies I’ve ever seen.  What clinches it for me is the music.  Kenji Kawai scored this film, and when I need to decompress, this is what gets me.  It’s also a neat narrative too.  The mystery is that a mysterious force is destroying giant robots called Labors.  Two detectives are investigating, and quickly realize that all is not as it seems.  After coming face to face with the creature responsible, it becomes a race against time to contain the situation before the city goes into a panic.  The science is smart, the dub work is great, and the plot is nice and zen.  It doesn’t need to be anything more.

11. Hanna
I remember when I first found this movie, a long time ago.  It was a very strange sort of film.  A young girl, raised in the middle of nowhere, trained to kill.  Her father was cold to her, and she grew up with no social graces.  Now, she takes on the next part of her mission – to find the woman responsible for killing her mother, and give her the same treatment.  This is probably the strangest spy film I’ve seen in a long time.  Saoirse Ronan plays the role of the titular Hanna with a strange kind of dark innocence.  Cate Blanchett as the villain is perfect casting.  The action scenes are brief and direct.  It feels like battles between trained combatants.  The scenes where Hanna is desperately trying to fit in with the normal family she finds is just touching, marred by how it all ends up.  The ending is definitely very tragic, but fits.  If you like a good spy film, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

10. Contact
Again, loves me some smart science fiction.  Based on a book by Carl Sagan, this film tells the story of a young astronomer, played fantastically by Jodie Foster.  She is on a mission – to get a radio that can hear out into the stars.  She wants to find the truth, and maybe, just maybe, find closure to her own pain.  This is a very mellow film.  What I love about it is just how down to earth some parts feel.  The battle against the forces of bureaucracy and personal bias, underpinning a story of faith vs. science and dogma vs exploration.  Sure, the romantic subplot could have been excised, and the bit where she meets with her father on the beach was kinda sappy, it was still a narrative that kept me going.  Now much more to say, really.  It’s a feel good smart science fiction film.  I’m okay with that.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle
I told you that Studio Ghibli would be coming back to this list.  And we’re still not done.  What baffles me is why so many people don’t like this movie.  I think it’s fantastic!  The story of a young woman who falls for a wizard named Howl and all the trouble that brings to her life is really fantastic!  The thing that really sells this movie is the voice acting.  The dub for this couldn’t have possibly been more perfect.  For starters, both the women they got for old and young Sophie.  Then you have Billy Crystal as the voice of Kalcifer, the fire demon who is quite affable.  Finally, you have Christian Bale as Howl.  It’s nice to see him be able to be the carefree wizard and also a very serious and deep character.  For whatever reason, this film is a black spot on Studio Ghibli, and for the life of me I cannot think of why.

8. Constantine
Oh boy.  I know so many comic book nerds who despise this movie.  It’s kind of funny and kind of frustrating at the same time.  These people need to get a life.  For my part, I just love this film.  Keanu Reeves brings the character and his brooding dark humor to life in a way that I honestly can’t think of anyone else being able to.  Tilda Swinton is a fun villain, and even Shia Lebouf isn’t bad.  Telling the story of a man trying to buy his way into Heaven after he committed suicide as a young man, this is a very grim look at the war between the two sides, and all those caught in the middle.  I can never get enough of how Keanu Reeves does brooding.  The dude really sets the standard, as far as I’m concerned.

7. The Sky Crawlers
On my initial list of best films, this one was at the top, and to be clear, I do still love it.  However, it isn’t the same love I had for it initially.  Far and away Mamoru Oshii’s best work, this film is tragic, somber, telling a narrative of a war that never ends, by design.  The film follows a squadron of fighters at a small base.  The pilots are cloned children who never age.  Their whole life is a war that is being fought between two corporations.  This war is allowing the world to have peace, believing that their peace is being fought for.  What’s more, these cloned children never really die.  If their body is killed, their mental data is taken and then reconstituted into a new clone of them.  None of the memories, but all of the skills they gained in battle.  I love what a dark and slow burn this film is.  For anime, it’s weird.  Every character has a ton of personality, and by the end it has you hoping for that way out that the main character mentions.

6. Reservoir Dogs
Far and away, Quentin Tarantino’s best work.  At least in my eyes.  Maybe not from a filmmaking standpoint.  To me, this film is the one that best exemplifies everything I love about Quentin Tarantino and the films he makes.  It’s a story about the telling of stories.  All of which is done, brilliantly, through dialogue.  The conversations in this film are just the best.  When you can have a scene with tons of dramatic tension play out entirely in dialogue, that’s brilliant!  My favorite is Mr. White and Mr. Pink, when they first get to the safe house.  Steve Buschemi owns that scenes so hard, but Harvey Keitel is pretty great too.  Telling the story of a jewelry store heist gone horribly wrong, all without ever showing a single second of what happens there and having the whole story ignore the “show don’t tell” rule in the most brilliant way imaginable.  Tarantino is a world-class writer, and it’s truly tragic that his next film will be his last.  The man wants his life’s work to be ten films long, and the next one will be it.  People have their preferences with his work, and this is mine.

5. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
It should be no surprise that a film based on my favorite anime series of all time makes this list.  This film was absolutely fantastic.  The animation is some of the best I’ve EVER seen.  You have the voice-cast from the original reprising their role.  I could listen to Steve Blum as Spike for forever.  The dude has so much cool.  The action is slick, and the plot is engrossing.  Really, this film is like a really long and really good episode of the series.  What’s more, it doesn’t take place after the series.  A lot of people thoughts it did, for a while.  It takes place towards the end, but not after it.  Just another day in the life of the chronically-broke crew of the Bebop, trying to track down a terrorist on Mars.  There’s not a whole lot to say, really.  It’s slick, it’s fun, and has some of my favorite characters.  I love this film.

4 Summer Wars
This film is such a fascinating anomaly.  The director of the Digimon movie wanted to remake the second film in the anthology (and the only one people remember), but without it being tied to the Digimon franchise.  So, studio Madhouse gave him the budget and told him to go nuts.  And I love this film so much.  Not only does it have fantastic plot about battling a program in a massive social network, but you have a touching family drama as well.  The animation on this film is impeccable.  The action has that slick Madhouse formula that only they can do.  I love every single one of the human characters who all have so much charm as this enormous family going through this crazy situation together with their own drama.  This is a fantastic movie.  As anime action movies to, it’s hard not to think this is in a class of its own.  Everyone only remembers the Digimon movie for the second major plotline, so no wonder it worked so well made into an original film away from the license.

3. Blade Runner
The original cyberpunk film that is single-handedly responsible for making the entire genre.  A movie directed by Ridley Scott at the height of his talent.  An engrossing neo-noir detective story in a futuristic world that’s grimy, run-down, and filled with uneven power relationships.  This film is a marvel.  I recently got in blue-ray with the Final Cut, and holy shit!  I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely well the visuals in this film aged, and how amazingly they convert to high definition.  The effects in all their blu-ray glory are absolutely breath-taking.  I cannot begin to imagine how much effort went into making this film look good.  It’s ironic that Harrison Ford actually hates this film because he feels like he never got to be a detective in it.  Well, his opinions of it aside, he’s great in the role of Deckard.  A blade runner who is on the trail of some rogue Replicants who have come back to Earth on a mission to stop themselves from dying.  This movie has it all.  Atmosphere, great acting, an incredible soundtrack, and that slow-burn pacing I love SO much.  The sequel was pretty good, but nothing can match up to the original.

2. Princess Mononoke
The greatest film that Studio Ghibli ever created, bar none.  When Hayao Miyazaki originally began production, this was meant to be his life’s work.  And given how this movie nearly bankrupted the whole damn studio, it’s not surprising.  Every scene of this film is a masterpiece.  It’s a 10 out of 10 movie, make no mistake.  The animation is in a class of its own.  The action is smooth and beautiful.  What’s more, here’s where all the anime dub purists will get to be super angry at me, but the dub for this is incredible.  Every role is just the best.  My two favorite roles are Billy Bob Thorton and Minnie Driver doing the roles of Jigo and Lady Eboshi, respectively.  Thorton brings a kind of dark cynicism to the role of Jigo, making him simultaneously scummy, but you can’t hate him because you see early on where his philosophy comes from.  The dude is only in it for himself, but not actively hateful.  Driver, on the other hand, makes Lady Eboshi a very enigmatic character.  She is a violent woman and has no problem killing her enemies, yet you see her softer side when you meet the lepers and have her asking Ashitaka for his help to look after the people of Iron Town.  Neil Gaiman (yes, THAT Neil Gaiman) did the ADR directing, and no dub is more faithful to the source material while making the language not stilted for an American audience.  This is a true masterpiece, and if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so.

And my favorite movie of all times is…

1. Fantasia
Those who have read this site for long enough probably saw this coming from a mile away.  This is, without any question, the greatest film that Disney has ever produced.  It will never be topped.  Sales numbers be damned, no film has as much creativity and artistic poetry like Fantasia does.  The music is beautiful.  The animation is sublime.  The visuals they have to go with each piece are perfect.  Not a single frame is wasted.  This film also nearly bankrupted Disney to make, but holy shit!  No film can make color, sound, and motion come together like this.  It makes how terrible Disney has become that much more heart-breaking, but it is what it is.  This film got me into 2D animation and classical music.  I love it from the bottom of my little black heart.

What are your favorite films?  Let me know down below.

Until next time, a quote,

“Look everyone!  This is what hatred looks like!  It’s eating me alive, and very soon it will kill me.” – Ashitaka, Princess Mononoke

Peace out,


SIONR: Disney is Remaking A Night on Bald Mountain in Live Action (CG)

I fucking hate modern Disney.  There are not words to describe how shitty they are.  I could sit here and explain in exhaustive detail all of my grievances with modern Disney, but then I’d be here for hours and you all would get REALLY bored.  Understandably so.  But what they are doing to cash in on people’s nostalgia has finally reached the point that it pisses me off beyond the pale.  I could handle them fucking over the legacy of Robin Williams with their shit-tastic version of Aladdin.  Especially since Will Smith sounds medicated in that movie.  I listened to the soundtrack, and he sounds so tired in every song he sings.  I was annoyed but just shrugged and went “whatever” when I saw their “live-action” version of The Lion King being advertised.  Sure, all the CG animals have zero personality because they have the uncanny valley level of CG detail, but whatever.

I’ve heard that they are remaking Lilo & Stitch.  Because that’s just what that filmed needed!  A fun and colorful and touching story about a girl, an alien, and finding the meaning of family.  It needed to be remade with Disney doing their now trademark diversity pandering!  Yay!  They’re remaking The Little Mermaid.  Maybe they can have Ariel be a Muslim mermaid.  Have her wearing a seaweed burka.  Diversity, after all.  And you know what, that’s all fine too.  Because after all, why would we want to have those old 2D animated films be the ones we remember?  Those aren’t the moves for “grown ups,” after all.  No, instead we have to remake them in the worst way possible, with acting that is The Last Airbender levels of bad.  Taking all the charm and whimsy the animated films had and bending them over a table without any lube.

Then I found out something utterly horrifying that has pissed me off so much – they are remaking A Night on Bald Mountain in “live-action.”  Oh boy.  Fuck you Disney!  Fuck you and your creatively-bankrupt company!  You all take the things that people love and fuck them over the ass. I loved that piece in Fantasia.  It’s my second-favorite.  My first being The Rite of Spring, telling the story of the growth of life on Earth.  A Night on Bald Mountain is a fantastic piece.  The levels of darkness, both musically and dramatically is just insane.  The demon Chernabog summoning the souls of the dead and the damned for an insane party for one night, it’s incredible.  The animation is flawless.  Absolutely flawless.  The portrayal of the dead and the damned is just so perfect.  As they rise from the graves, rising up the mountain, you can almost feel the dread the townspeople are feeling as they stay inside and hope that dawn comes soon.  It all builds and builds, culminating in the most visceral experience I have ever seen in 2D animation.  Nothing else has even come close.  Plus, at the end, there is the fantastic pairing up with Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” which has the townspeople seeking the light of Heaven to cleanse them of the darkness.  It’s perfect.

So I guess a whole bunch of suits and Disney are sitting around going…
“Hey guys, we’ve been remaking all of these classic movies and making money like gangbusters.  What else do we got?”
“How about we take that one bit from Fantasia about the demon and remake it!”
“But that’s not a whole story.  It’s a musical showing of what happened during one night.  How could we make that into a full-length movie?”
“Just have some big actors/actresses with some stupid story about killing the demon and put in some diversity shit to make people talk about how, if you don’t see it, you’re a bad person.  All of this nostalgia shit makes money anyway, so we can make this into whatever we want.  Just make sure all the advertising for the movie only shows the stuff that will play on people’s nostalgia.  We don’t want them to know that this is just a cash-grab that can make us a fuck-ton of cash.”

And then I figure that they laugh heartily and pay some Thai child to dance on top of a tank full of piranhas for their amusement.  Because Disney is pure evil, after all.

I can’t believe that Disney is doing this.  It isn’t enough that they took this franchise and turned it into a fucking Kinect game?!  It isn’t enough that they have made cash-grab after cash-grab of all their old 2D films, and every last one of them has fucking sucked?!  Without a single exception!  They are all nothing but trash!  That isn’t enough?  Now you have to take one of the hallmarks of animation and turn it into another piece of shit, all so you can make a quick several hundred million dollars to satisfy your investors?!  Oh how I wish Chernabog were real, so he could turn you and all your board of directors into pig demons.  It would be fitting, after all.  Then he could put you in front of a pile of money and tell you to worship it.  Would be fitting, given what you all do.

How people can stomach modern Disney is beyond me.  They pander to diversity because it sells.  The moment it doesn’t, they will kick it out the door like a $10 whore.  It’s why you don’t see gay characters in their big-budget movies, after all.  Because then they wouldn’t be able to sell their films big in China.  Although, I guess they won’t have to worry about that with this live-action trash.  You can’t have ghosts in films that go to China either.  So hey, go big with the gay pandering in this movie.  Oh wait, that would be hard because the premise is about a demon having a giant party.  Associating that with gay people would send the wrong message to the far-left community you are trying to pander to.

Ah, what the Hell.  Just fuck over the entire storyline.  In order to make this have a 90 minute runtime, you’re already gonna have to do that anyway, so might as well go big.  Make Chernabog a person of color transgender pansexual.  They aren’t having a party with all the damned and the souls of the dead that they summoned to them with their presence.  They just wanted to give all the dead POCs a place to gather where they feel included.  The villain can be Christian white nationalist groups!  Maybe they are having a straight pride parade!  Yeah, that’s a great angle.  It’s not like Disney or whatever two-bit director they will get for this shit actually cares about the story they are adapting anyway, so why not?  I’d kind of prefer that you all just go the distance with fucking the story over.  Then I don’t have to feel like you are shitting on one of my favorite movies.

But you can guarantee that I’m not giving Disney money to see this trash.  Not a fucking chance.  Disney and their live-action butt-rape of this bit from one of my favorite films can suck a dick.  Can suck all the dicks.  Fuck Disney.  Fuck these live-action movies.  They all suck.  They will always suck.  The critics who say nice things about them are paid shills.  The audience who likes them is Americans who we already know are dumb as dirt.  Fuck this.  Can these people please stop raping what I love?

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s very simple – if you stop going to bad movies, they’ll stop making bad movies.” – Jay Sherman

Peace out,


The “It’s For Kids” Argument

A long time ago, I found myself getting really mad at some conservative hipster whose name I don’t really remember.  Gavin something or other.  He made this video for a Canadian conservative platform called Rebel Media about how video games are for children and for children only and adults need to stop playing them and instead do “useful” things like build a table or something.  No joke, he said we need to learn construction and do that instead.  Yeah, because adults sitting in a room yelling about a sports game on TV is now less of a waste of time to some people.  I may hate sports, but I don’t go around saying that those who watch it for viewing pleasure are immature and need to be doing something else with their time.

Found myself getting into an argument with Liana K on Twitter about Rey in the new Star Wars films.  I genuinely did work to be mature and argue the points she was making.  I didn’t just rage at her.  That’s not how I go.  See, I genuinely do believe that Rey is a Mary Sue.  There’s no way to argue against that.  She has no personality, is amazing at everything, and never grows throughout the length of the films.  Yeah, a Mary Sue.  Liana tried to postulate that the men in the original films are just as bad since they are good at stuff without you ever seeing them get better.  My argument was that you don’t see Han training as a pilot, but the films take time to address the fact that he is a good pilot, and in the original film you have Obi-Wan talking to him where he can brag about his skills.  That’s smart.  It helps set up his role in the film.  We do see Luke training, but here’s the thing – he starts out from the bottom.  At first he is an imbecile who can’t even make rocks levitate properly.  But over the course of three films, we see his character go from a rank amateur, to a student that takes on an enemy way above his weight class, to a Jedi knight who is able to face his darkness and succeed.

However, I get on Twitter this morning and I see her making these really long posts saying that the whole thing was just an endeavor to prove a point – that people care too much about films that are “FOR KIDS.”  Huh.  You know, Liana, I would agree with you on one thing – the new films are for kids.  That’s it.  They are glossy, child-friendly films.  But you know something, the original films aren’t.  They are timeless.  Telling a very good story about the hero’s journey in space.  We have characters that we grow to like overcoming the odds and becoming different people by the end.  I know it’s easy to look at the Ewoks and think that all of these movies were just made for kids, but that’s simply not the case.

This argument that something is “just for kids” as a reason why we shouldn’t care about it is interesting to me.  I would argue that if the idea is that we should have no problem with films that talk down to people and treat you like you’re stupid, we have really lost our way as a society.  The “it’s for kids so who cares if it sucks?” argument.  Maybe I was a precocious little shit as a kid.  See, I grew up watching films like Fantasia and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The former being a marvel of animation that had complex imagery and tackling various things in a beautiful way, set with classical music; and the latter being an amazing film about a driven man and his quest to destroy the violence of mankind.  Was that too complicated for me?  No.  I loved and still love both films.  They are, what’s that word again?  Oh, timeless.  They are just as good now as they are then.  Just like how The Nightmare Before Christmas is a timeless fairy-tale about a man who was unsatisfied with life and learns what matters.

Timeless films stand on their merit because we’re still watching them now.  We are able to enjoy them now from a different perspective.  We aren’t the little children who watched them and was awed by them then.  Now we are adults who can see that there were some great ideas in there, or we can marvel at the craftsmanship of them.  Who is going to be doing that with The Force Awakens?  How about Rogue One?  I definitely know no one will with The Last Jedi.  This idea that we should just let bad movies go unaddressed because it’s for kids really seems not only patronizing, but insulting to kids.  Why is it I should just be cool with the idea that we should feed kids crappy entertainment?  I’m aware there is a ton of crap made for kids, but shouldn’t we aspire to have them grow up appreciating better things?

I know if I ever had a kid, the first thing I would show them from the evil corporate monolith that is Disney is my second-favorite film of all time – Fantasia.  I want them to see the wonder of 2D animation set to classical music with narratives and visuals that don’t talk down to them.  I’ll show them Don Bluth’s masterpiece The Secret of NIMH, telling a very mature story about a mother who goes to insane lengths to save her child, constantly pushing past her own fear and finding a power in herself that saves her family.  I’ll show them FLCL, which tells a story about a kid growing up and feeling very alone, only to be shown how to live a full life.  The timeless stories that stand tall now, just like they did then.

But hey, maybe I’m alone in all this.  Maybe parents just want to put their kids in front of a screen and have their attention be taken up for almost three hours.  No joke, that’s how long the new Star Wars film is.  As for me, Groj-forbid I ever become a parent, I intend to introduce my kid to books first, because I’d rather see them sitting and reading for hours on end instead of being in front of a screen.

To Liana, your little test just showed me how you see the world.  Not a lot of respect being gained for you right about now.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s junk food.  Brightly-colored junk food for the mind.  And I hate how it talks down to kids while offering nothing of value in return.” – Nostalgia Critic

Peace out,


SIONR: Remakes and Reboots

I recently saw the remake to Poltergeist at the behest of a friend who said that we could smuggle in booze and get some laughs.  Because something had to be funny, right?  Wrong.  There was nothing funny.  It was boring.  It was a bad movie.  One of the worst that I’ve seen in a while.  It was a total waste of time.  Wondering why I never did a review?  That’s simple – I walked out.  My friend and I finally got too bored to be there, so we walked out and asked for our money back just before the third act.  It wouldn’t be fair to do a review of a movie where I didn’t even get to the end of it.  This is something that I have been seeing a lot lately.

There are countless remakes and reboot films that are being made.  And here’s something that almost ALL of them, with the unfathomably-rare exception, have in common – they all suck.  No joke, they are shit.  Absolute shit.  Total fucking garbage that spits in the face of the films that they are so uncreatively attempting to cash in on.  Remember the fear and disturbing imagery from the original Nightmare on Elm Street?  Well, don’t you worry!  They will recreate that with shitty CG and cardboard characters (save Freddy, who I will give credit.  Jackie Earl Hailey was trying his best to make that role good, but he was given nothing to work with) that leave you feeling like you are watching cutouts die in gruesome ways.  Did you like the campy and goofy horror of Evil Dead?  Well don’t you worry!  We’ll turn it into gore porn and then make it not even the tiniest bit frightening.

One of my favorite movies of all time is getting a remake.  It is The Secret of NIMH.  Originally one of the greatest animated films of all time, from director Don Bluth.  Now, it is going to be a mixture of CG and live action.  Here’s something else – it’s gonna suck.  That’s a fact.  How on Earth can you possibly make that good?  Unless the set designs for the film mix some brilliant live action environments that have really clever use of props, this is going to be a CG mess with some crappy live-action integration.  It’s gonna suck.  That’s a fact.  Not to mention, I can’t think of anyone who can capture the terror and courage of Mrs. Brisby the way that Don Bluth’s film did.  Yeah, it’s gonna suck.  That is infuriating enough, but just today, I found out that it gets worse.

Remember the film in the 90’s called Jumanji?  It was a classic Robin Williams movie, combining brilliant practical effects with laughable CG and some fantastic acting.  The film was made by Robin Williams’ character, and it’s part of the reason that I love it as much as I do.  It’s a classic piece of cheesy kid’s film, with some fun effects and memorable characters.  Guess what Hollywood, in all their wisdom, is doing?  Remaking it, of course!  Because let’s shit on the legacy that Robin Williams left with a film that is so OBVIOUSLY going to be cash-grab that is drowning in CG!  It’ll be like Jurassic World!  Only minus even half of the lacking creativity in that film.  This is so annoying!  Why does Hollywood have to take good movies and then ruin their legacy by having a shitty remake?!

Oh, and you remember The Crow?  That absolutely awesome movie starring Brandon Lee, who tragically died in the making of it?  Who died before he clearly could have become an awesome action star?  That movie?  I think you know where this is going.  Hollywood is remaking it!  Let’s just shit on the immortal legacy of someone who gave their life to create a work of timeless art.  Let’s just shit on that!  That’s totally cool, right?  One of the greatest and darkest superhero movies of all time, let’s just turn that into CG-filled schlock.  Hey, maybe you can get the guy who directed Daredevil to make it!  Is Brett Ratner doing anything these days?  Yeah, let’s just take a giant fucking dump on classic films.  It’ll fill seats in movie theaters, after all!

That’s the truth behind this.  These films are being made to cash in on nostalgia.  And it makes me sick.  Movies that stand the test of time should be left alone.  But Hollywood can’t do that.  They have to fuck it up, because there’s money to made!  Because if good and original ideas can’t be put into films, at least we can make a cash-grab and get people in theaters, right?  Wasting money that could potentially go to something truly creative?  No?  Okay.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way.  That’s totally possible.  I am something of a pretentious pseudo-intellectual who over-analyzes things.  But it just seems downright disrespectful to spit on the legacy of great actors and great films to make a stupid cash-grab that is almost-guaranteed to suck.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way.  There have to be more of you out there.  And we have to make our voices heard.  It’s time that we demanded some new stuff!  Honestly, the comic book films were fun, but now it’s getting kind of old.  These remake and reboot cash-grabs are no better.  They’re remaking Gremlins, after all.  A film that was praised for its brilliant practical effects, they’re going to turn it into a CG filled clusterfuck.

The great works of fiction stand the test of time based on their own merits.  But Hollywood seems to disagree.  They legitimately seem to believe – remember that awesome movie that you still love?  We can make it even better!  Here’s hoping that they learn their lesson before they ruin anymore of my childhood favorite.  Though, that’s not a stretch.  Disney already ruined my favorite of their films, Fantasia, with a shitty Kinect game.  So yeah, all hope is lost.  Forever.

Until next time, a quote,

“You killed her!”  – Peter Shepherd, Jumanji

Peace out,


Lucien’s First Take: Fantasia: Music Evolved

For those of you who don’t know, my favorite Disney film is also my second favorite film of all time.  It was my favorite film up until I saw The Sky Crawlers and 5 Centimeters Per Second, which are now tied for the top slot.  This was the first Disney film that I ever saw.  It was what got me so in love with music.  I LOVE that film.  It has such resonance with me that if you sit my ass in front of a TV and put that on, I’m just fine.  For real, I’m set.  If you want to talk to me, I can do that, except when Rite of Spring, Nutcracker and A Night on Bald Mountain are playing.  Seriously, you shut the fuck up when those come on.

I remember seeing the trailers for the sequel, Fantasia 2000, and I was like – oh fuck yeah!  It looked amazing!  And aside from the TERRIBLE cameo openings to some of the skits (which were PAINFUL to watch), it was everything I wanted and then some.  For real, the scenes with Pines of Rome, Rhapsody in Blue and The Firebird, you can shut the fuck up.  I’m busy.

I wrote an entire post about what I would love to see in a third movie.  I would have loved it if they got Studio Ghibli to put their talents into a part of the film, using some music from famous Japanese composers.  I can think of a couple off the top of my head who would be nice for that.  Pixar could have created something of theirs to add in.  With a third film, and all these studios they have, they could have let the animation BREATHE a little!  I can see it all in my head, and it looks awesome!  You know what I can’t see?  You know the thing that I never saw when I thought of a new venture into the world of Fantasia – a fucking video game for the fucking Kinect!  Seriously, what the fuck?!

Here’s a preview to this game that I can already tell you is going to be a giant piece of shit –

Seriously, what the fuck is that?!  Disney, I’m going to try and contain the bottomless depths of my rage and actually talk to you for a moment – what in the HELL were you thinking?!  What on Earth compelled you to make a game about Fantasia?  What compelled you to make it for the Kinect?!  Have you seen the Kinect’s track record?!  That thing is worse than were you unaware of Sonic Free Riders and Star Wars Kinect?  Has nobody told you about how much nobody likes the Kinect?  The latest version of the Xbox One (a system I never mean to own) doesn’t come with it.  Microsoft finally decided to stop trying to get the public to like this piece of crap.

But you know, I could actually forgive all that.  I could actually be willing to give this trash a chance, until you make it clear – this thing will have modern music!  WHAT?!  No!  Modern music?!  Modern popular garbage?!  With words?!  Did you all just forget what Fantasia was supposed to represent?!  Did you all just forget why people were such fans of the film in the first place?  I literally don’t understand how you could possibly believe that this was a good idea.

But you know, I think that I know where this came from.  Just like all other terrible decisions of exploitation on video games, it came from you seeing a chance to make a cheap buck.  After all, if we’ve learned anything from the video games that you are behind over the last 10 or so years, it’s that you don’t care about them and are trying to pander to kids.  Well, nice work, Disney, you branched out.  Instead of pandering to kids, you are now trying to pander to brainless teenagers.  Well isn’t that special.

If only Walt could see you now – a greedy, money-grubbing company that butt-fucks all of your past successes.  It’s not enough to just let a good idea lie.  No, you have to exploit it, because it can still make you money.  For as bad as the intros and one of the skits in Fantasia 2000 (the one with the flamingos) are, I could still see a TON of heart put into that.  Heart that is CLEARLY not in this piece of shit!  This is pandering at its worse, and laziness at its best.

See, I think I’ve figured out what Disney does now, having become a giant and totally evil megacorporation that is trying to take over all entertainment.  See, here’s how it works, and I learned this from when I saw the sequels to Aladdin and The Lion King – you take franchises that already have established fan bases and you decide that you want more money.  Since you seem to be out of people with fresh ideas, you think – hey, let’s just keep going with these ones!  Because the people are dumb and they’ll watch it.  So again and again and again, you take the things we loved as children and decide to chew them up and once you can’t squeeze any more money out of them, you throw their mangled corpses out on to the floor.  That’s how evil you are.  Let’s remember – you decided to buy Lucasarts and then kill them, destroying Star Wars 1313 too.  I shouldn’t expect much.

And now, you’ve gone and shit on one of my favorite movies of all time.  Fuck you, Disney.  Fuck. You.

Initial Verdict
0 out of 10

Peace out,


Top 15 Worlds I Want to See in Kingdom Hearts III

With E3 just around the corner, it’s safe to say that Square Enix has a lot of fans with some pretty high expectations.  With the trailer for Final Fantasy XV, it got people talking about the company, and not in a way where we made fun of their consistent blunders in this last console generation.  Another thing that was debuted was a teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts III.  That got ALL of my friends talking, and hoping.  XV might be Tetsuya Nomura’s magnum opus, but he has promised that he is going to be putting all of his attention in to KHIII now that it is done.  So, we are all waiting eagerly to see the woefully late next chapter of the franchise.  With that in mind, I thought that I would do a list of the worlds that I want to see.  I couldn’t limit this to 10, because with the next console generation, the potential for exploring worlds just got so much better!  Now, Disney may own the Marvel and Star Wars licenses, but I tell you now – those universes will NOT be in this list.  Universes that are based around real people are terrible.  Just look at the Pirates of the Caribbean one from KHII.  Let’s get started.

Deep Jungle15. Deep Jungle
A world that I have been dying to go back to with a new console generation.  Know why – the tree surfing!  In the first Kingdom Hearts, it was cool, but the idea was limited due to the hardware.  Now, we can actually make the dream of surfing the trees come true!  And it could be done within the universe of Tarzan.  Anyone remember the old TV series that was based on the film?  That is a very nice segway to jump in to the Kingdom Hearts universe.  But for real, all I want is to become a sick tree-surfer and be able to explore the jungle again, in a way that I couldn’t before.

Disney Castle14. Disney Castle
A level that I was actually very fond in KHII.  It was kind of nice to see Donald, Goofy and Mickey’s crib.  Getting to meet some of their people was a bonus.  That’s something I’d like to expand on in a sequel.  For real, there is a lot of potential to get some of their chums from the more-obscure Disney films and make them all a lot more rounded as characters.  If there was one thing that was kind of a bummer, it’s that you never see very deep into Donald and Goofy’s lives and personalities.  With how they run the emotional gamut on some characters, it’s kind of a shame that we don’t get to see more into them.  I also wouldn’t be against heading back to Timeless River for a few. One of the most under-appreciated gems in the second game.

Wonderland13. Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
Let me head off the worry by saying I’m not talking about the god-awful Tim Burton version.  I’m talking about the animated version that was the original game.  However, I want to be a little more ambitious.  With all the forced Disney sequels, something that was always got my attention was – why no Alice in Wonderland sequel?  There was a sequel book just waiting to be talked about.  It just seemed strange to me.  However, that’s where the magic behind Kingdom Hearts comes in.  As we saw in these games, they are able to go out of the bounds of the stories that the films they are representing.  But the chance to go back and see some of the characters that we missed out on from the film sounds like just what the doctor ordered, doesn’t it?

Robin Hood12. English Countryside
Robin Hood
Ever since I have been playing Kingdom Hearts and seeing the Disney worlds come to life, I have been DYING to see one of my favorite Disney characters and the world he lives in come to life.  The Robin Hood from the film was classy, charming and cute.  The look of a fox fit him so well, and he always had this fun attitude that was just fun to watch.  Not to mention – Prince John.  For real, the Prince is one of the most hilarious comedic villains, alongside his sidekick, Hiss.  There is a lot of potential for some Heartless or Organization XIII shenanigans.  But yeah, that aside, I want to get Robin Hood on my team and see what kind of overdrives I can get with that sword of his.

Pride Lands11. The Pride Lands
The Lion King
I have been hearing that one of the angles that they are going to be focusing on in the third game in the Kingdom Hearts franchise is the fact that the main characters have been at this for a long time, to acknowledge the aging of the voice actors who are doing the main roles.  That’s a clever way to not have to cover their aged voices.  With that in mind, there is potential to go back to the Pride Lands.  With all the terrible Disney sequels, there were some diamonds in the rough.  One of them was The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.  While the first film pretty much told the story of Hamlet, this one decided to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet.  And, it nearly was a pretty good film.  For real, the animation wasn’t as good and the plot wasn’t as fully developed as it could have been, but there is still potential to continue that story well.

Nightmare Before Christmas10. More Holiday Worlds
Nightmare Before Christmas
My favorite side-character in the Kingdom Hearts franchise is, without a doubt, Jack Skellington.  They got the guy from the films to do the voice-work (not Danny Elfman, who did the singing.  The other guy), and it was always fun to listen to.  Something I’d like to see is to let the creators of Kingdom Hearts have a crack at representing some of other holiday worlds.  There was a game made that had Jack exploring the other holiday worlds, and that was surprisingly creative and fun.  You could take a page or two out of that book, or totally strike out on your own and see what you can come up with.  Still, the potential is there.  Just putting that out there.

The Great Mouse Detective9. London
The Great Mouse Detective
One of the things that I have wanted all my life is to get to work with Sherlock Holmes.  With this universe, I could get to work with someone who fits that bill perfectly.  Basil of Baker Street is an awesome character.  Cocky, charming, kind of a dick but his heart is in the right place, he is so fun to watch.  Now, we could team up with him and become mouse-sized.  Something that sounds fun is if we could actually examine crime scenes and solve a mystery with the man himself.  That would be so cool!  Think detective mode in the Arkham games, but here.  Yeah, that would be fun.  Now, there is one major issue – the fact that the person who did the voice of Rattigan, the flawless Vincent Pryce, is dead.  Where’s Troy Baker.  He’s the premiere voice-actor, who REALLY came into his own last year with three amazing performances.  I think he could make this role work.

Rescuers Down Under8. Down Under
The Rescuers Down Under
Speaking of Disney sequels that get little attention, this is one of the few where the sequel beats the shit out of the original.  The Rescuers was a very basic and kind of dull movie.  The sequel, however, was better in EVERY conceivable way.  The visuals were amazing, the characters were more fun.  Everything worked better.  Something that nobody has talked about is how the world of tiny mice could be kind of awesome to play through.  Getting to deal with all the problems that they have to, the potential is just dripping for how good it could be.  But all that is aside.  The thing that I absolutely MUST have is a scene where I am on the back of that giant eagle, fighting the Heartless.  With PS4 visuals, good-god!  The potential for that is incredible!  If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend you do.  When you do, I have the feeling that you’ll be with me on this.

100 Acre Wood7. 100 Acre Wood
Winnie the Pooh
Now, before you say that we’ve been there and done that, there is still more potential.  It all comes down to how unbridled the potential with the next console generation has on a game like Kingdom Hearts.  What’s more, and this will sound kind of dumb, but I kind of want to see the gang in the book again.  Talking about the idea of focusing on the amount of time that the heroes have been at this, I think it would be kind of cool if this time the focus was on growing up, like the end of the original Winnie the Pooh film, where Pooh and Christopher Robin were talking about what it means to grow up.  That could actually work, maybe as a referendum to how Sora is having to accept that he isn’t the young boy he started as.  It would is kind of sad to grow up.  That could be a poignant thing to talk about.

Emperor's New Groove6. Inca Empire
Emperor’s New Groove
I got a confession to make – this world being in this game is conditional.  I have but one condition – we absolutely MUST have Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton reprising their roles as Yzma and Kronk.  For real, they MADE that movie, and they would be hilarious here, with the right writers.  Granted, the world is neat to look at and the Emperor is fun, but for me, it all comes down to those two characters and getting to see them again.  What could be even more fun is if Yzma fucks with Sora by turning him in to various animals.  There is a lot of comedic potential with that various potions.  But yeah, all of this is contingent on those two voice actors coming back to reprise their roles.

The Grid5. The Grid
Tron: Legacy
The movie that this universe is based on is a boring waste of cinematic time.  That said, this universe has SO much potential.  I’m kind of tired of the Olympus Coliseum as the place where all the duels happen.  This world has SO much cool potential.  Especially if we could get Daft Punk to do the score for it in Kingdom Hearts III.  The arena in this game could be so fun to fight people in.  With the digital effects of the PS4, I can just imagine the awe of how cool it would be.  That said, there is one thing that I am waiting for above all others in this world – the light-cycle duels!  For real, I wants!  It would be kind of cool if we could have them outside of the arena, too.  Like in the trailer for the film, where the duel is happening outside of the city.  That would be awesome.

The Forest4. The Forest
One of the characters who we get to meet as a summon but never got to see their world was Bambi.  Something that always kind of bummed me, given how gorgeous the universe of Bambi is.  For real, watch that film, it’s amazing!  They capture what nature would look like so well that it’s kind of stunning.  Part of me really wants to go there and fight the Heartless in an amazing forestscape.  I can just imagine the scene where it is night and the wind is blowing the trees.  There is so much potential for beautiful imagery, especially on the PS4. Whereas with other worlds, I want to see a certain character or play a certain aspect, with this one, I just want to visuals.  I’m imagining a kind of Journey-esque visual experience.

Toy Story3. Toyland
Toy Story
Another aspect of Disney that I REALLY want to see incorporated into the Kingdom Hearts is the Pixar films.  If they could get Nightmare Before Christmas into these games, then they could get these ones.  There are a lot of fun choices to go with, but of them all, the one I really want to see is Toy Story.  For real, seeing the toy versions of Sora, Goofy and Donald would just be so much fun.  Not to mention, I can see some very good puns made about the marketing of the games when he sees Kingdom Hearts merchandise around Andy’s room.  Still, the aspect that appeals to me the most is the world of Sid’s bedroom.  For real, some of those toys are creepy as fuck, and getting to see them up close, is terrifying.  Not to mention, a battle with Sid himself, yeah, I’m down with that.

Fantasia2. One of the Fantasia or Fantasia 2000 worlds
One of the crowning jewels of Kingdom Hearts II was the level Timeless River.  The way they made the animation look in the old fashion was flawless.  Something people didn’t really see that I did was how they also made Sora look old-fashioned.  Not just with his clothes.  His eyes were in the old style of Japanese animation.  Think the original Astro Boy.  The point of me saying this is that these games have shown that they can be incredibly creative.  I would LOVE to see some of that creativity applied to something like a Fantasia segment.  But, and I cannot stress this enough, it would have to be done without ANY dialogue!  For real, it would have to be an experience of music and facial animation.  I am debating if we would even have combat.  Or, if we did, make it part of the musical number.  That would be pretty smart.  Maybe make it an interlude into a character’s mind.  I don’t know how you’d make it work, but I’m sure that one could.

And the world that I want to see most is…

Atlantis1. Atlantis
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
I do NOT get how this game has avoided the Kingdom Hearts universe for so long!  Kida is a Disney princess!  For real, this just baffles me.  Sure, the plot of the film might have been dumb, but the world is awesome!  Not to mention, we can work with the plot.  Square Enix has shown that they are good at finding another angle to look at a universe in.  More in the first game than the second, but still!  I want to explore Atlantis.  Go down and see the depths.  See the crystal chamber.  There are a thousand and one ways to see this world and get to fight the Heartless in it.  Another thing that this next generation can do is to make the Heartless look more intimidating.  But the best perk – I want to fly one of the flying fish!  Those things are awesome, and I want to peruse Atlantis in one!  Gimme!

So, what worlds do you want to see in Kingdom Hearts III?  Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’ll always be with you.  Right here.  You don’t have to go anywhere.  Just stay here, and you can see me anytime you want.”  -Sora, Kingdom Hearts II

Peace out,


Fantasia 3?

Now, I have talked to death about why I like this movie, so I have been thinking about a future this film could potentially have.  I didn’t so much like the second, but honestly, I want to put a few things in context.  This film had such an impact on me, that whatever potential future it may have is very intriguing to me, and I like to think about it.  Originally, the idea had been that this would be a forever-growing experience when the first Fantasia came out.  Of course, since it took a metric ton of money to make, such a fate didn’t come to pass.  There was a sequel, and we’ll be talking about that, but it never stuck to the formula of each showing of the film being different.  All of this said, where do I think a sequel should go?

To answer that, I first, like I said, need to put a few things on context.  So far as I can remember, Fantasia was the first Disney film that I have seen.  For all of you who want to make the argument that Disney is an evil corporation – you won’t hear me arguing.  But the fact is that it doesn’t matter.  For most of us, we grew up with Disney.  It took our childhoods to new heights, and we love it for that.  But Fantasia was the first piece of Disney work that I saw, and from that day on, it formed a lot of my loves and passions.

The first is a passion for music.  I LOVE music.  Good music can not only intrigue the mind, but amaze the soul.  I am not a religious man, but if I was, music would be my god.  The best things in life are brought to us by music that makes us think and makes us feel.  Classical music is especially good for both.

It is interesting that Disney’s fourth film decided to do something that was entirely different from any of the ones previously, and almost all of the ones since – make an emotional film without words or story.  Just pure expression, and each piece of expression having pure emotion.  Another difference is that this movie wasn’t made for children.  This was an animated film for adults.  Of course, a kid like me could (and did) get something out of it, if they are of a certain mindset.

What I love most about Fantasia is the fact that it was allowed to run with the abolute free expression.  This film, you could tell, was about showing you into the minds and hearts of the animators.  Each segment was perfect, and I mean perfect.  My favorites are The Rite of Spring and The Nutcracker.  I love nature, and I love dinosaurs.  To this day I orgasm to the sound of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.  I was such a nerd for it when I was younger, and I still am.  But The Nutcracker suite was also great, showing the changing seasons, along with a fantastical element, but also merging in the absolute natural, like the bit with the fish.  I love stuff like that.

You’re probably wondering what I thought about the sequel.  Now that I have some more time to articulate, I think I will tell you.  Fantasia 2000 made my heart soar.  The ads for it looked awesome, and I was totally stoked when my cousin bought it on DVD.  I must have gone there to see it I don’t know how many times.  But, with that said, I both love and hate this movie.  The bits that I love are many.  And let me say, when this film hits a high note, it REALLY hits a high note.  When it got stuff right, it got it VERY right.

Pines of Rome, with the flying whales, was incredible.  I don’t share Nostalgia Critic’s belief that it should have been the finishing piece, but it was still awesome.  And there was Rhapsody in Blue, by George Gershwin.  I loved that pieces.  It combined a Hirschfeld style of animation with one of the classic pieces of big-bang American jazz.  As a matter of fact, this was one of the first pieces of American jazz.  The version of A Steadfast Tin Soldier was pretty good.  I actually didn’t like their Noah’s Arc story, mostly because, as a non-religious person, I find the story ludicous and the topic boring.  Not to mention it highlights what an asshole God is.  But then it finishes on a major high-note.

I loved The Firebird suite.  This was a story of life, death, and rebirth.  The animation was nothing short of incredible.  It was some of Disney’s finest, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  The high-note ending was beautiful.  It even had some subtle animation right at the end of it that just made me feel so much more in-tune with it – the grass blowing in the wind.  So subtle, yet so beautiful.  Simple touches like that just make me feel so much for things like that.

All of that said, there were parts I didn’t like.  The Carnival of the Animals number, for one.  It wasn’t terribly bad, but didn’t belong in a Fantasia movie.  It was cute, cuddly, and fun.  Not something that I want to see in a movie that should be this serious.  Then there were the celebrity cameos, which were almost all totally painful.  In the original, it banked on there being one narrator, and his role was brief.  Just to tell you what was coming next, and to have a cool intro for it.  That’s it.  That was all that was needed.  This movie had some celebrity cameos that just made me gag.  There were a couple that added class, like Angela Lansbury, but for the most part, it was junk, pure junk.

So, I’ve kind of rambled for a while, but I wanted to put into context all of this, so when I say my bit about what I could and really would like to see in the third film, you would get where I am coming from.  That said, what do I want to see in a third part of this tale?

I am just going to say what I want to see most because it just is really important to me, and I hope it is to you.  If any sequel films don’t have a Hayao Miyazaki style animation section, I will kill somebody.  No joke.  This man has brought the anime genre into the public eye in a way nobody thought possible.  And this would be a place where all of his talent could shine.  Not only that, but I can think of at least for great pieces of Japanese classical music that would go so well.  It could be a testament not only to a great man’s style of work, but also to a great nation and the music that it has created.  I can’t stress enough how much I would want to see this in a film.

Next up, I want to see more of old-school American jazz.  That was a fun addition.  Gershwin would be awesome.  or Afro-American Symphony.  Either of those would be just great, and there are a lot of animation formulas that could bring them to life.  I would really hope they will run with it.

I could also see them running with a segment, or even the entirety of Gustav Holst’s The Planet’s suite.  Seeing their interpretations of several parts sounds incredibly fun.

Another thing – have the opening section, which is supposed to be abstract, be abstract.  They were trying to do that in Fantasia 2000, and failed.  Miserably.  It was almost annoying how bad that section was, for me.  In the first film, the level of abstract was very clear, and it left you thinking, and pondering.

Next up, NO CELEBRITY CAMEOS!  I cannot stress to you enough how annoying this was.  I don’t know how they got those people into that gig in Fantasia 2000, but it was beyond annoying.  It was painful.  Just have one narrator, maybe like Morgan Freeman or something, and keep it simple.

That’s my take.  I loved these films, even though the second had problems.  I loved them both, and I hope they keep the franchise going, because we need more visual poetry.  America’s art community is getting more and more dead.  We need stuff like this.

Until next time, a quote,

“Walt Disney described the art of animation as a voyage of discovery, into the realms of color, sound, and motion.”  -Angela Lansbury, Fantasia 2000 

Peace out,


Top 10 Pieces of Choir Music in Film

There’s a really cool cliche that has come into the fold of modern cinema.  It is something that I love very much.  Whenever a film is trying to make something epic, they add a choir to it.  But I have also found additions of it that are quiet and beautiful poetry.  Here is my list paying homage to some of the best scenes, either epic or quiet and beautiful that had a bit of choral touch to them.  I hope you enjoy.  Links to each song will be on the title of it.

10. Flight to the Ford
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
This was a piece that was a nice mix of quiet and epic.  And I actually really love that.  The scene in which it happens is when Arwen comes and takes Frodo to Rivendell after he is stabbed by the Nazgul.  The introduction of her is beautiful, not to mention that she has one of the most badass lines ever – “if you want him, come and claim him!”  Arwen is a pretty cool character in the first film.  This was a series that had a lot of choir numbers, but this one in-particular comes to mind.  A really cool note is that all of this song is in Elvish.  Most choir numbers are just made up language, but here, it is in the actual language of that Elves.  That’s kind of cool.  In any case, a cool scene, with a badass line.  What more can you ask for?

9. The Battle
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
This was just a pure epic scene, but the setup was brilliant.  It really had a great introduction to this song.  It’s kind of a pity that the sequels have all been kind of boring.  This was a very good film.  The scene where this song plays is where the army of the now-fallen Aslan have gathered on the field of battle, ready to finally settle things with the Witch Queen of Narnia.  It was so epic.  One cool addition that wasn’t on the soundtrack was that the song suddenly cuts off right before the two armies collide and you can only hear a heart beating.  That’s pretty sweet.  This isn’t in an actual language, but that’s okay.  The scene carries more weight than the song could have.  But it was most definitely a very nice addition to it.  This was a cool battle, if one likes the old-school epic where people are charging over open field and beating the shit out of one-another.

8. The Great Migration
The Land Before Time
This is on the totally opposite spectrum of what this song was trying to capture with it’s style and tone.  It is very quiet, very subdued.  The choir here is soft, adding to this scene by making a very mysterious and whimsical atmosphere that was made to make you think.  This song was played right at the beginning of the film.  It shows this world that Don Bluth made.  It’s kind of ironic that he became such an awful filmmaker after being such a brilliant one.  This song very subtley added so much to this movie.  I bet most people don’t think about it, but it is part of the reason this is such a great film.  Each aspect was just perfect.  One of the most beautiful and tragic of films, this was a great opening to it.  I seriously recommend you check it out, if you ever have the time.

7. King of Pride Rock
The Lion King
This was a number which was featured at several parts of the film.  The one that I like most was the bit that accompanies the scene where Simba takes his rightful place as the King of Pride Rock.  It was so beautiful and tragic.  The choir may have just been making up words, but you know what, I don’t care.  This was beautiful.  This film was kind of ironic in a lot of ways.  For one – Mufasa was kind of a dick.  Think about it – the hyenas didn’t want power, they wanted food.  If he hadn’t of banished them to a wasteland, they wouldn’t have stood with Scar.  Nice little irony that Disney put in there.  In any case, this was a nice piece that has a large build-up and then explodes open in a kind of joy.  It starts with tragedy, and leads to joy.  That’s pretty nice.  But all in all, still a good movie.  If you have a chance, listen to the song Be Prepared.  There are two people who are singing that.  It is amazing how you can’t tell when one ends and the other begins.

6. The Final Decision we all Must Take
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance
This was an powerfully epic number to this film.  This piece was featured as one of many great choral pieces during the final battle sequence of the film.  Well, the final prolongued battle sequence.  It is when the pilot who has stolen Unit Two realizes that she isn’t going to be able to beat the Angel she is fighting with her Eva without letting go of all restraint.  So she used a backdoor code in the Eva to unlock it’s “true form,” thus enabling her to fight ten times better than before.  However, it is not enough.  Then Unit Zero joins the fight, and the to team up to unleash one last attack against the Angel before finally failing.  In the end, it falls to Unit One to beat this monster.  This song adds a lot of epic awesomeness to it.  Add to that – it’s in English, so you know what they are saying.  It’s amazing.  Another part of one of my favorite movies.

5. Angel of Doom
Evangelion 1.0: You are (Not) Alone
This was a perfect song for this piece.  It captured every element of the scene that it was in perfectly.  It captured the hopelessly tragic situation that the main characters find themselves in.  It captures the ugliness of the battle they are fighting.  It also captures the triumph of Shinji overcoming his own weakness to protect the person he cares about.  It is featured in the last battle sequence of the film, where Shinji is trying to destroy an Angel.  He is using a powerful energy rifle to hit it, but the first shot missed.  Now he has only one more chance to destroy it, because the Angel has already blasted them with an energy weapon that nearly leveled a mountain.  He knows that if he misses again, it’s all over.  Humanity is doomed.  The Angels will merge with Lilith, the creator of all life, and will destroy the Earth.  This song was incredibly powerful, and actually sucked you further into this part of this film.  Like the previous selection, this one is also in English, so you can understand it.  But like the last one also, you don’t care.  The action is too entrancing.  Seriously, this was a good reinventing of this film series.  For sure.

4. Ave Maria
I know I’ve praised this movie to death, but this scene was such a perfect merger with the sequence that came before.  The final number was a mix of Modest Mussorgski’s “A Night on Bald Mountain,” and Franz Schubert’s immortal classic “Ave Maria.”  After the incredibly raw and powerful scene that had come before it, this was such a perfect merger.  Ave Maria here is used to show the people of the town below Bald Mountain going off into the woods.  What they are going to do, you don’t know.  It is a song showing the coming of dawn after the devilish beast Chernabog had been beaten, for a time.  This is not epic, but calm.  The soothing gentle tones of the choir here were so beautiful and so harmonious that it just makes this scene so great.  The visuals in it were also amazing.  The pieces of ruin that are littering the landscape and the fact that all you can see of the people are robed figures with lights, walking in a line to an unknown destination.  It’s beautiful, quiet, and mellow.  Everything a good scene in a film should be.  It was a great way to close out an amazing film.

3. Whispering Winds
The Land Before Time
I didn’t want to include the same film twice, but in this case, I kind of found it unavoidable.  This song was so beautiful and so tragic that I cry even when I hear it.  Something about Don Bluth in the 80’s was that a lot of his movies were UNBELIEVABLY tragic.  This film was no exception.  If you look at the cover to your right, you’ll see a happy bunch of dinosaurs, but the truth of the matter was that this film had a lot of horribly sad moments.  The one this song features, along with the scenes it features afterwards was no exception.  Littlefoot’s mother dying was so beautiful and heart-breaking.  Then the scenes following where he is alone.  There is one where he think a shadow on a wall is his mother and goes joyfully running over, just to find out it is his own reflection.  It makes you cry buckets!  The choir here is also mellow, like in the other pieces, but it really is great because it adds to the tragic animation and the tragic tone.  You want to feel so bad for this kid.  He is alone in the world, totally and completely alone.  There is one part of this song that is uplifting, where a little pterodactyl is finding a cherry.  He sees how sad Littlefoot is, and tries to cheer him up.  It fails, and it just is so sad!  This was a great song, and the only reason it isn’t on the top of this is, well we’ll get to that.

2. Requiem
Death Note
Now, this is from a TV show, but I am making an exception here because this scene was amazing!  It really was.  The visuals were great, the song is incredible.  It is just one word, but that word captures everything about it.  I think that the lead-in to this scene was what made it even better.  It shows Light and L having an actually very emotional sequence between them.  It is hinted very strongly in this scene that L had a great deal of respect for Light, seeing him as his equal, but also hinted at there being a deeper connection, that perhaps L was romantically attracted to Light.  If you watch the episode this came from, you’ll see.  Disagree if you will, but I caught a glimpse of it.  In any case, this song plays when L is killed by Rem.  He looks over to Light, who had orchestrated this dead, and there is this moment between them.  No words are spoken, they are just together, looking at one-another.  L is dying and he realizes the truth – Light is Kira.  It was a great scene from a really good show.  If you are ever going to get into anime, this is one I would definitely check out!

And the best piece of choir music in a film is –

1. The One-Winged Angel
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Now, a lot of you will lose respect for me because I put a really, really badass action sequence above a tragic moment like Littlefoot’s mother dying or something like that, but honestly, this was so cool!  Sephiroth is a great character.  I really wish they would remake Final Fantasy VII because it could use it.  The thing about this song and the scene that it’s in is that it is one of the few saving graces of what was an otherwise boring movie.  But this song saves a lot of it.  The battle it is in is very cool.  The animation is gorgeous.  But it is so lifeless aside from that.  It reminds me a lot of the previous Final Fantasy film that that respect.  The original game, FFVII was basically telling the story of why Sephiroth is the ultimate badass ever.  The moment you fight him, you’re dead.  It’s just established.  And this version of the song recaptured that in a really cool way.  Of course, this film wasn’t that great, but this song was amazing.  The harmonies are perfect, the fight that goes with it is just as epic, and it is just cool.  If you see the film for no other reason, see it for this fight.  It’s freakin’ awesome!

So, what should I tackle next?

Until next time, a quote,

“I will never be, a memory.”  -Sephiroth, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Peace out,


Lucien’s Top 20 Films (Part 2)

Alright, so, here is the second part of my favorite films.  This is my top ten films that I love, all leading to number one.  I hope you enjoy.  Great film is something that everybody should enjoy, not just story buffs like me.  Anyway, enough random chatter.  Here we go.

10. Reservoir Dogs
This is the movie that reminds us why Quentin Tarantino is a master of dialogue.  Every piece of dialogue in this film was just awesome.  This film tells the story of a jewelry store heist gone wrong.  Here’s the kicker – you never see a single moment of the heist.  You see the before, the after, but you never see this heist which becomes a complete and total disaster.  It is all told through dialogue, and man is it awesome!  This was such an awesome film!  It is one of Steve Buschemi’s best, and it kills me that he is so underappreciated as an actor.  Every person in this film was at their best, and given that this was a pretty low-budget film, that’s pretty impressive.  This is a film that has been rather forgotten in the world of cinematic mastery, but it shouldn’t be.  This film should be a lesson to all up-coming filmmakers as to how they should do dialogue.  Every single moment of this film is great.  I would put everything that Tarantino has directed (not produced.  Hostel was not Tarantino’s fault!  That was Eli Roth’s abomination, he just produced it) on here, but this is the film I will put as my favorite of his.  A close second is Inglorious Basterds.

Leon the Professional9. Leon the Professional
Probably the most mature film that I have ever seen, this movie looks at what it means to be a human being, starring two of the most amazing people I have ever seen in film – Jean Reno and Natalie Portman.  Reno is Leon, an incredibly skilled and principled hitman for the mob.  Portman plays a young girl whose family is brutally murdered by a corrupt cop, who just happens to be played by a brilliant Gary Oldman.  Leon rescues the girl when her family is being murdered, and the two begin a sad and sometimes cruel relationship that is sometimes paternal and sometimes darkly romantic as the girl learns the way of Leon and they both find something in themselves that they never had before.  This is a cold movie, yet it is so emotionally beautiful, due in large part from Leon and his young charge and their relationship that grows.  It all culminates into a beautifully tragic story that is hard to look away from.

Ghost Dog8. Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
Never heard of this?  That’s not surprising.  Neither had I, when a friend recommended it to me.  Man, what an odd movie.  It stars Forrest Whittaker as Ghost Dog, a hitman for an Italian crime syndicate.  He is a firm believer in the ways of the Samurai, with the Hagakure (a book that lays out the Samurai code) being his guiding light.  However, he lives in a world where his values system has little place.  When both him and the man in the syndicate he works for, who he believes he owes his life to, are in targeted, he is forced to face down the reality that he may be a man out of time.  This is probably the coldest movie about a hitman I’ve ever seen.  Most movies like this would be filled with action.  But the action in this film is almost brutally-brief, as Ghost Dog is a master assassin.  The cultural elements and the existential moments in this film are great, and Whittaker really takes the cake for his cryptic performance.  If you ever want to see the story about a man out of time, I recommend it.

7. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Similar to how Fantasia was my the first animated film by Disney that I saw, this movie was the first life-action Disney film that I saw.  And I love this film to death.  For what they had to work with, they did an amazing job.  Granted, it doesn’t follow the book particularly closely, but I don’t really care about that.  Each role in this film was amazing.  James Mason made for a haunting Captain Nemo.  Paul Lukas did a good job as Professor Arounax.  Kirk Douglas was awesome as Ned Land.  And the atmosphere of this film was great.  Arounax and his companions are trapped on board the Nautilus with Nemo’s crew, and you learn not only about Nemo and the demons at work within him, but also about these characters and who they are, and what they find in themselves on this journey.  And say what you want about the special effects, but the giant squid battle was awesome.  For the budget that these people had, they did an amazing job.  All in all, this is a classic adventure film and I will remember it fondly for the rest of my life.

Princess Mononoke6. Princess Mononoke
This is most definitely the legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s best work.  This movie was meant to be his magnum opus.  He poured a TON of money into it, and once all was said and done, it’s clear that it was money well-spent.  The film tells the story of a young man named Ashitaka.  He is a prince of a tribe that has been outcast from their home, driven into a very remote region of Japan.  When a boar god that had become a demon tries to attack his village, Ashitaka goes to battle.  He is touched by the creature, thus giving him a curse.  It will slowly consume his body and soul, then kill him.  His only hope is to leave his village and seek out the legendary Forest Spirit and beg for him to cure the curse.  The story that follows is probably the most subtle environmental message ever.  It doesn’t hammer “man bad, nature good!” in your face like the film Avatar does.  Here, they show both man and nature as having valid points, with neither side appearing truly good or truly evil.  Even the villain can be hard to really hate, as you come to understand why he is doing what he is.  This film is gorgeous.  The dub is flawless.  It is one of the greatest anime films of all time, from one of the greatest directors of all time.

5. Inception
I truly believe that Chris Nolan is the greatest director living today.  This film was visual poetry of a different kind.  It combined two things that I just think are so cool – psychological thrill with hardcore action.  And the pseudo-science atmosphere that this movie had was amazing.  It told the story of a man named Cobb trying to get home to his children.  After being suspected of killing his wife, he is now on the run.  With one last job, he believes he will be able to get home to his family.  That’s the premise.  Every actor was perfectly cast.  The action was inspiring, the dialogue was amazing, and the story was so complicated that you really had to pay attention.  That’s the best thing about this film – how incredibly complicated it was.  I remember going to see it in theaters and seeing these girls walk out going “I didn’t get it.”  The moment those blonde bimbos spoke, I knew I was going to love this film.  This film and the depth it goes into makes me realize that Christopher Nolan may be one of the best directors in history.  He can make anything as filled with special effects as he wants, but can still make the story amazing.  Definitely check this film out.  It’s worth it, for sure.

4. Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance
This is the second of a series of remakes of the famous series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.  This series tells a science-fiction version of the biblical apocalypse.  While the first film was great, this one is epic.  Really epic.  It is so incredibly powerful in the visuals and story-telling, while keeping very true to the depressing atmosphere of the original.  It picks up where the first film left off.  Shinji is still fighting to destroy the Angels and keep humanity safe.  It brings Asuka into the film series, which is cool, along with a new character who wasn’t in the series.  It is a female pilot who is kind of an Eva junkie, needing to pilot.  I don’t want to say too much, because like Spirited Away, this is a film you have to experience, but really, this is so incredibly powerful.  Every single aspect was incredibly done.  The ugliness of Shinji’s position, the ugliness of the people around him, and the sadness of just how little humanity has left to cling to, it is all captured very well in this movie.  This is not an uplifting movie, and it shouldn’t be.  Truly a wonderful remake of a classic masterpiece.

Cloud Atlas3. Cloud Atlas
When I heard that they were making a film adaptation of this book, my first thought was – how on EARTH can they possibly do this without making it a total fuck-up?  The book this film was based on is one of the most complicated books that I have ever read.  The idea that a film could be made out of this and not be a complete disaster was inconceivable to me.  Yet against all odds, they made a film that was a damn-good adaptation.  The best that has ever been done!  This film is not only the best book-to-film of all time, but one of my favorite films of all time.  The beautiful cinematography, the interconnected nature of the stories and the beautiful thoughts about character were just wonderful.  A lot of people got on this film for this and that, but in my eyes, given what they had to work with, the Wachowski’s did an amazing job and should be proud of doing right by a book that I thought would have been impossible to adapt.

2. Fantasia
So, I’ve already talked a LOT about this movie, so I won’t go into too much detail.  This was an amazing film, though.  It is easily the best animated film that Disney ever came out with.  It combined beautiful music with visual poetry.  The concept was amazing, and the delivery of it in this film was incredible.  Since I have talked so much about it, you all might be wondering what I thought of the sequel, Fantasia 2000.  I really liked a lot of parts of it.  The Pines of Rome skit with the flying whales was good.  The Rhapsody in Blue skit paying homage to Al Hirschfeld was really cool, since I love jazz.  I liked their musical portrayal of the story “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”  And the last skit of The Firebird with the Goddess of Nature was beautiful.  But where it did well, it also did horribly.  The celebrity appearances were painful.  And several numbers just didn’t fit.  But the original was the absolute best.  It was beautiful and mystical, combining the best and worst aspects of both films.  See it, if you want to go into a realm of music and art.

After all these great movies, many of you will know what my #1 pick is…well, two movies.  I honestly couldn’t choose between them.  They are both that good.

1a. The Sky Crawlers
I think this is a genuinely perfect movie.  Each scene in this animated film was perfect.  It wasn’t the most visually compelling, but I think this movie had all the animated visuals match up just right.  Each scene was done just right.  Nothing was in the wrong place, and nothing was overdone.  The film tells the story of a group of children who are eternally-young clones.  They fight a fake war in order for the world that is at peace to believe their peace is being fought for something.  It is a thematically unpleasant story about the idea that there is no innocence of youth, and that people who are being stuck in a situation where they should lose their humanity still retain it.  It also questions the pointlessness of war, and the idea that war never truly ends, that humanity needs it.  This was a hard film to watch in a lot of ways, but at the same time, you couldn’t look away.  I don’t think any other film has taken a concept this different and treated it so seriously.  I think it was amazing, and I hope all of you enjoy it as well.

1b. 5 Centimeters Per Second
This movie is incredible.  Nothing less.  I could go on for a million years about how glorious the animation is.  It is spectacular.  Miyazaki hasn’t made anything that has come close like this movie has.  Not to me, anyway.  Yeah, I don’t care what you think, this movie is the best.  I love every single moment of this film, from the subtle opening, the heart-breaking moments.  This film examines love.  It looks at the pain of love that can never be (which I cry at every time), the love that pain of not being able to tell the person who you love how you feel.  I can relate so much to that.  This film REALLY doesn’t pull punches with how hard love and admitting love can be.  Every single moment of it is a visual masterpiece that you have to see to believe.  I love this movie, with every part of me.  It makes me cry, and not just tears of sadness, for my fiancee who died, but also tears of joy, remembering the great moments that her and I had together.  I love this movie, and it is tied with The Sky Crawlers at my #1.

Well, that’s my list.  Great film is another area of story that I hope always remains good, but if people like Michael Bay have anything to say about it, it is going right down the shitter.

Until next time, a quote,

“I don’t care what happens to everyone.  I don’t even care about the world.  Just give her back!  Give Rei back to me!”  -Shinji Ikari, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance

Peace out,


Top 10 Visually Arresting Animated Films

One of the greatest things that shows the character of an animated film is how well the animation is done.  A film that has a good story can be totally ruined by bad animation.  As such, here is a list that is paying homage to some of the most visually stimulating animated films that have ever been developed.

10. Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)
Now, this film needs to be a little bit discussed here.  The fact is that while this film was as visually gorgeous as it gets, it suffers from something that all filmmakers need to think about – god-awful plot.  This film succumbs to the same thing that James Cameron’s film Avatar does.  Let me be clear that the visuals in this movie are among the best that I have ever seen.  However, it is so low on this list, on the verge of not being on it at all, because of the fact that this movie couldn’t have possibly had a stupider and more insulting plot.  Really, this film is the same kind of model that I put Avatar on.  It has something that you love to see, but the plot is so stupid that you hate it without realizing it.  But the visuals have earned it a place on this list, despite the thematic problems.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
There are going to be a few Miyazaki films on here.  I figured I should say that up front.  Miyazaki is a very interesting kind of filmmaker.  He combines some incredibly hand-drawn effects with very cool characters, very cool voice-actors, and a lot of interesting plots.  This film is no different.  There are a couple of scenes in-particular that I want to point out that gives this a place on my list.  The first is when Grandma Sophie (played by the brilliant and ancient british Actress, Jean Simmons) is surveying the house, after she comes to work for Howl as his cleaning lady.  The place is such a god-awful mess, and she is horrified by it.  She sees that she is going to be in Hell, and the visual is gorgeous.  The next is that scene of the town being destroyed by airships, late in the film.  This scene gave a lot of respect to what an actual bombing would be like, and the visuals were second to none!  This was a truly great, and kind of unappreciated film in the world of Miayazaki lovers, who almost lambasted it.

8. WALL-E (2008)
This was an amazing film.  The themes in this movie were incredible.  The over-dependence that society has on technology, the will to do the right thing over what is easy, and the idea of social classes that fall in love.  This was an all-around great movie.  The visuals in this film was absolutely incredible!  The scene about flying through space was one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever seen in any film, not just in an animated one.  But then there was the scene with the city that WALL-E created out of trash, that was also gorgeous, and tragic at the same time.  This film had some of the greatest visuals that I have ever seen in a film, and I didn’t want to put it so low.  The problem is, the really great scenes that are in this film, are few and far between.  The story is great, and everything else is great, but the great visuals only are sometimes.

7. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
This film was the directoral debut of the now-fallen Don Bluth.  It was a film that is heralded by the lovers of animated film as one of the greatest creations ever to greet the screen.  This film is unique among kids animated films because of how seriously it takes its audience.  The angles and dark visuals that are almost throughout the entire movie are enough to get it on this list, but I thought it was worth mentioning that this film actuall treats grown-ups like grown-ups, and doesn’t treats the kids like they are total idiots.  Pixar I think took a lesson or two from this film.  But back to the visuals, this film had a lot of them.  The scene where the medallion comes alive, for one.  Then there was the endless series of them when Mrs. Brisby goes into the thorn bush looking for the Rats of NIMH.  Really, this film had a lot of great elements, and it is one of the things that makes the fall of Don Bluth so tragic.  Really, this is kind of heart-breaking, when you look at all of the work after 1990.  But still, a great film, from a once-brilliant filmmaker.

6. Finding Nemo (2003)
A lot of animation buffs are going to give me hell for putting this above WALL-E, but I think it has definitely deserved its place here, not for story elements, but for the consistency of great visuals.  This film used the scheme it had to work with in a way that few others have.  Even Avatar didn’t use the visual elements it had this well.  The scene when Nemo is at the first day of school, sailing over the reef, is one of the most beautiful pieces of animation that has ever been done.  When one thinks about it, there isn’t a single scene that isn’t well-done in this movie.  Each scene makes the most of what it has to work with, from the deep in the ocean scene, to the scene where Marlin is talking with Dory after he believes his son is dead.  The shadows in that scene were absolutely perfect.  This was a perfect movie, in a lot of ways.  Each voice-actor was perfect, especially Ellen Degeneres, who showed in this film that not only does she have the potential to act, and be funny, but she can do it like nobody else.

5. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
I know that I am going to catch a lot of crap from a lot of my atheist friends, since I am openly an atheist and openly treat religion like the joke that it is, but honestly, I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite.  Since I choose to look at the Bible as a piece of mythological fiction, I can look at the stories that it tells much the same way.  So, with that in mind, I am able to watch this film from that point of view.  And I have never seen a film with such gorgeous visual actually make a piece of fiction that so many people take literally almost respectable. But it was the visuals in this movie that I had to talk about.  They are nothing short of incredible!  Combining the wonder of hand-drawn animation with digital effects made some of the visuals in this movie absolute arresting.  And the characters were welld-done too.  It actually made me enjoy a biblical story, which almost no other pieces of biblical-cinema have done.  It has most assuredly earned its place on this list, and regardless of whether or not you believe the Bible to be a bunch of mythological BS or not, it is worth seeing.

4. Evangelion 1.0: You are (Not) Alone (2007)
This is a remake of one of the best anime series of all time.  It is the first in what is to become a series of four animated films.  I feel that I should mention that the sequel to this one is my favorite of the films (to date), I just don’t think Evangelion 2.0 has the same amount of visual poetry that this movie had.  It had the single-greatest piece of hand-drawn animation that I have ever seen.  The entire battle scene with the Sixth Angel was incredible, but it was the scene where the Angel seems to just get really pissed, and the shoots and energy beam that destroys a mountain!  For real, it coats the mountain in energy, that you can see brutalizes the surface, and nearly destroys all the people fighting on it.  This entire scene, from when the battle begins, to when Shinji is forcing open the cockpit of Rei’s unit, was incredible.  I loved this film, and although I loved the sequel more, this one had the visuals that stuck with me.  Check it out, if you are a lover of the series, or if you have never seen it before.

3. Bambi (1942)
Now, I get if you don’t know why such a cutesy movie as Bambi is on this list.  Actually, scratch that, you’re an idiot if you don’t know why this movie is on the list.  This movie is on this list for one reason, and one reason only – the nature animation.  The visual effects showing nature in this movie are incredible.  In every sense of the word.  There wasn’t a single segment of this movie that wasn’t perfectly drawn and shown exactly as it should have been.  This is one of the few 2D animated films that I have seen that really made me believe that I was in nature.  But with this film, I did believe that.  Part of the power of this film didn’t come from what the characters were saying, but from the setup of the scenes and how they played out with the background images.  While this isn’t a movie I watch a lot, because there is only so much cuteness that I can sit through, this is most definitely one of Disney’s finest.

2. Spirited Away (2001)
This is a film that doesn’t do all its animation by hand, but you know what, who cares?!  This film was incredible, absolutely incredible.  This is another film where ever scene, even some of the really dark ones really perfect.  The detail in these scenes was great, along with how they were shot.  The scene with the train going down the flooded world, with no dialogue of any kind, showed us a world of incredible fantasy, and wonderful depth.  The dialogue of this movie was also brilliant, employing a bunch of people most of us hardly knew about.  This film captured the fantastic nature of the world that it was in, along with the human elements.  Plus, the themes were also really good.  Chihiro and her relationship with Haku, the quest to get her parents back to normal, especially considering that they are going to be slaughtered in the not-too-distant future, there are a lot of fun elements to work with.  This is a good film, and it lacks true greatness for one reason – no villian.  It had a lot of antagonists, but no true villian.  A pity, but that’s okay.

And the #1 greatest visually appealing animated film that I have ever seen is!!!

1. Fantasia (1940)
Sorry, I know this has beeen on the top of a lot of lists.  I realize that I have pretty much talked this movie to death by now, but really, what else could it have been.  This film did something that no movie before it, or really since, has done – it took the experience of going to a concert hall and listening to beautiful music, and gave it the respect that it deserved.  Each and every segment of Fantasia was visual poetry.  From the chaotic opening of “Toccota and Fugue,” to the closing horror that is “A Night on Bald Mountain,” mixed with the musical genius, and perfect foil, “Ave Maria,” by Franz Schubert.  But my favorite number, and I know that I am going to sound like a total dork right now, was “The Rite of Spring,” by Igor Stravinsky.  This was just such an amazing piece because, and here is why you are going to think I’m a dork – I love dinosaurs.  Sorry, but I do!  They are so cool, and in this bit, they actually gave them some really majesty.  I think I should mention that while I wasn’t a huge fan of Fantasia 2000, I did kind of like some bits, like “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Pines of Rome,” and “The Firebird,” the rest was not to my liking.  If you haven’t seen this movie, I implore you, please do.

Great animation is something I have a very deep love for.  Really, this is an area that I believe great film is made.  Of course, most people I meet don’t agree.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe you should just try smiling!”  -Shinji Ikari, Evangelion 1.0: You are (Not) Alone

Peace out,