Pirates!: Band of Misfits
Here is a case where the right five movies were probably nominated, although it will surprise no one that I have a few suggestions. It’s Such a Beautiful Day is not the sort of film that would normally earn a nomination, particularly since the animation looks like something anyone could do, but I like the film as a project. I’ve seen both The Lorax and Hotel Transylvania, and don’t think either of them belong on this list. I haven’t seen Rise of the Guardians or Ice Age: Continental Drift, but also haven’t heard much about either, so I can’t comment.
Weeding through the Nominees
4: Winner Brave almost certainly won based on its reputation, because it certainly didn’t deserve it. Oh, it does some things right. Giving us a female hero character that is fully capable of going her own direction is a good thing, and the film doesn’t specifically make her overly masculine to get her there. But the story itself isn’t that interesting. I had trouble really caring about most of the characters. Further, the comic relief characters of Merida’s brothers really don’t work for me at all. Without them, I’m not sure we lose much.
3: Frankenweenie is good, but it suffers from being so obviously a Tim Burton movie that it can’t move out of the shadow of its creator. I like it when kids’ movies go a little darker or at least attempt to do something that isn’t all peaches and cream, but Frankenweenie does this only on the surface. There are great homages to classic horror movies here, and this is a film I’d happily watch again. But it’s too insubstantial to really be taken that seriously, and so I don’t end up taking it that seriously.
2: This may be the closest race I’ve done in two years of this feature. It’s at least the closest race I’ve done here in a very long time. By the narrowest of margins, I’m putting ParaNorman here. ParaNorman does everything Frankenweenie wanted to do, but does it better, more, and more substantially. This is a film that goes very dark, but tells a great story really well and gives us great characters to cheer for. It also throws in a wonderful little social joke at the end that would’ve been the focus of a lesser film. It’s a great film in every aspect.
1: I’m giving it to Wreck-It Ralph for a number of reasons, though. First is that the game industry was my home for 12 years, and I admit to a certain amount of nostalgia. But that’s a minor thing. Far more important is that Wreck-It Ralph does everything that Brave wanted to do with its female characters and does it more seamlessly. Vanellope has the exact qualities that Merida does…but instead of making that the focus of the film, it’s simply presented as a natural part of the story, as something unremarkable. That and Ralph really is a wonderful character.