Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I’ve seen the five nominations for Best Animated Feature for 2018, and while I haven’t seen any outside of these nominations, I can guarantee that there’s room for improvement. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies would have been an interesting option. I forgot that Early Man was an actual thing, and based on the response, I’m probably the better for it, which is about the same with Smallfoot. The Grinch was evidently quite the disappointment as well, and I’m not touching Hotel Transylvania 3.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. I’m not going to pull punches here: I hated Mirai. I’m very much in the minority on that in the sense that the average review of the film is at least moderately positive. I disliked all of these characters, the plot, and most especially the message. Mirai purports itself to be a film about the joys of family, and it’s completely joyless. Everything that happens in this family involves tremendous amounts of whining and argument. I couldn’t wait to be away from them. I’d pick any of the movies mentioned above sight unseen over this.
4. I was tremendously disappointed with Ralph Breaks the Internet for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that it absolutely doesn’t come close to living up to the pure joy of the original film. Sure, there’s some effort to progress the characters, but only Ralph and Vanellope really matter to this film. It tries very hard to recapture the original magic, but falls short, even if there are some nice moments in it. And honestly, Ralph Wrecks the Internet wasn’t on the table for some reason?
3. I was disappointed in Incredibles 2 as well, but for different reasons. I knew I wouldn’t like this as much as I did the first film, since the first film is literally my favorite animated movie. But I’m disappointed in how many of the characters were used. It’s nice to see Helen as a featured character, but it’s so hackneyed to make Bob a hapless stay-at-home parent. Did we need an animated Mr. Mom? And did we need for Jack-Jack to be, well, a Jack-Jack of all trades, a little deus ex machina in diapers? Pixar should be better than this lazy.
2. One of these days, Wes Anderson needs to win an Oscar. He will someday, almost certainly for a screenplay, but I love that he stays true to his ethos in all things. Isle of Dogs was accused of some elements of racism, which I can see on the surface, but not once the film itself is really seen and experienced. Anderson is really all about his vision, and in a lot of ways, Isle of Dogs is the premier example of his visual style. In a lesser year, this is an easy win. One of these days, he’ll do something this good in a year where someone else doesn’t.
1. There’s only one right choice for Best Animated Feature for 2018, and that’s the movie that won: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This is not just the best animated movie of its year; it’s potentially the best superhero movie not just of its year but of its decade. That says a lot about this movie in a decade that contained the vast majority of the MCU. The characters are great, the visual style is as close to an animated comic book as possible, and it’s smart an inventive. Admittedly, it might be a problem for people with epilepsy at the end, but everything else here is damn near perfect. It’s the right choice and always will be.