How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Toy Story 4 (winner)
Of all the categories, the one where I tend to lag the most is Best Animated Feature. The only one I’ve seen that wasn’t on the nomination list is The Addams Family, which is good enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing it here over at least one of the actual nominees. As for films I probably should watch, Spies in Disguise is probably on that list as is both The LEGO Movie sequel and The Secret Life of Pets 2.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. Of the five nominees, I Lost My Body is still getting a good amount of positive press and reviews. It’s also the one of the five movies that I genuinely disliked. The main character in this is the disembodied hand (it’s not called I Lost My Hand, after all), but the person to whom that hand belongs is terrible. This is a movie that contains a great deal of truly predatory behavior, the sort of stuff that is seen in a film as “romantic” but in real life as deserving of a restraining order. Art or no, this film is filled with dangerous ideas, and not in a good way.
4. So let’s talk about Laika Studios, who tend to make interesting and fun movies. Missing Link, while not as good as ParaNorman or Kubo and the Two Strings (few things are, is still a movie with its heart in the right place. It also shows continuous improvement on their animation. It’s smoother and better than it’s ever been. So why did Missing Link tank the way it did? Too many movies of the same type, perhaps, or just mismarketed, which seems to be Laika’s issue. It’s good. In fact, it’s very good, but it’s not the best of a strong year.
3. Klaus is yet another movie that explores the origin story of Santa Claus. This one is quite a bit darker, though, and takes some liberties with the classic idea of the character. There’s a lot here to genuinely like, including the way that the film handles indigenous people with a great deal of respect. In a lesser year, Klaus would be far higher than third place. In that respect, it’s a testament to just how good the other movies on this list really are that something this good is ranked this low.
2. The makers of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World took some real risks with the third and final installment of the series. The biggest risk was that, unlike a typical trilogy, this ended in ways that were smaller and more intimate than the previous films. Sure, there’s some bombastic action and all, but the final coda is personal and quiet—and is exactly how this should have ended. Sure, this is the least of the three movies in the trilogy, but it’s still very good and I was happy to see it nominated.
1. As much as I was angry that Pixar came out with a fourth Toy Story movie, I can’t deny just how good the final installment is. As good as Toy Story 3 was, this one genuinely adds to it, and adds to the characters. It also gives a new ending for many of the characters and brings back old characters in good ways. I was skeptical, and I was wrong—this is far better than it had any right to be. That said, it needs to end here. Toy Story 5 is too many. Pixar needs to know when to quit, and this is when to quit.