Genre Index
Newest Reviews

The Batman Pages

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)



Chicken Run

Despicable Me

Fantasia 2000


The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Illusionist

The Iron Giant

Kung-Fu Panda

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Lord of the Rings

Mary and Max


101 Dalmatians

Metropolis (2001)

Monsters University

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind


The Prince of Egypt

The Princess and the Frog

Princess Mononoke



The Secret of the Kells

The Secret World of Arrietty

Song of the Sea

The Spectacular Spider-Man

The Tale of Princess Kaguya



Titan A. E.

Toy Story 3



The Wind Rises

This is how the introduction to this page used to read:

Like all branches of film, animation is a compromized artform because the resources necessary to produce animated features are held almost exclusively by large conglomerates. Disney is the crown prince of these, but Disney-wannabes are becoming legion. Because the reigns of animation are in the hands of corporations, animated features tend to pander to the audience, they speak down to the audience, they attempt to be homogeneous enough to attract the largest possible demographic. Oh, and animation bears an additional burden, also courtesy Disney: they are perceived as children's entertainment. This is unfortunate, but every so often, a film comes along that obeys all the rules imposed by the corportate overlords, yet nevertheless manages to make the cut as art.

As is the case with many areas of film, things have changed dramatically since I first uploaded my web site. The pace of change in the information age can be dizzying, don't you think?

In any event, Disney isn't at the top of the food chain anymore and hasn't been for a while. The seeds of their destruction were evident even when I first wrote that old intro. Just look at the review for The Hunchback of Notre Dame if you want to see some of what went wrong at the House of Mouse. I predict that the same malaise will strangle Dreamworks' animated features, too, if they don't move beyond the formula they stumbled upon in Shrek.

But in spite of all that, animation is still a going concern.

The line between live action and animation continues to blur as special effects technologies advance. Disney closed its 2-D animation studio in a fit of corporate myopia, only to watch Hayao Miyazaki walk off with the Best Animated Feature award for his 2-D feature, Spirited Away. There are three dominant animation studios in the world right now: Pixar continues an almost unprecedented creative flowering, while Miyazaki's Ghibli Studio matches them film for film. And in the UK, Aardman continues to make wonderful handmade films. At this writing, there are two stop-motion features in theaters: Aardman's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride. Burton looks as if he wants to join the club with the big three, but the demand for live-action films is keeping him otherwise occupied. A wildcard is Sylvain Chomet, whose (2-D) Triplets of Belleville was an Oscar nominee and an unexpected delight.

Sergei Eisenstein thought that Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the greatest film ever made. He saw in it infinite possibilities for cinematic expression, promises made but rarely kept in the decades since. The interesting thing about the decline and fall of Disney's animation studio is that the stranglehold Disney's formula has had on the art of animation has finally been broken. We are finally seeing a REAL diversity of styles in animated film. We are beginning to see a REAL diversity of subject matters. We are finally seeing filmmakers begin to probe the awesome possibilities of animation. It's about damned time, too...