Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chico & Rita (2011)

Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Animated Feature

The other unusual Animated Feature selection was Chico & Rita. The nomination itself was less surprising (it was predicted based on earlier buzz), but the film itself is probably the worst of the line-up (I haven't seen Kung Fu Panda 2 yet, nor will I adventure too soon). It's a predictable, superficial "love story", so poorly constructed that it creates no emotional connection with the audience.

The film itself feels like an excuse to just to play the music - which is fine, but it could've been much more had they put some effort into the story. The animation is ok, though often enough it looked like a computer game to me. And who would've thought I'll live to see an animated woman's full frontal (breasts, pubic hair, everything) in an Oscar nominated animation film?! And in competition with something like Puss in Boots. :))

My rating for the film: 4.5/10. Too often it fails.

A Cat in Paris (2011)

In Paris, a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar's aide must come to the rescue of Zoe, the little girl it lives with, after she falls into a gangster's clutches. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Animated Feature

The big surprise of this category was the nomination of A Cat in Paris - it was obvious to everyone that Animated Feature was going to have a weak line-up, judging by the finalists, but this 60-something minutes French animation somehow managed to beat Cars 2, Rio, The Adventures of Tintin and Arthur Christmas for that 5th nomination. And it was a surprise.

After seeing it, I can definitely admit it has some qualities: the animation feels special, a reinterpretation of the traditional way of doing the job, and the story, the main idea is quite interesting and dynamic. The problem is that in the end it all feels under-cooked: the film is too short for its own good and focuses more on style than on dialogue or memorable events. That being said, one could make a very interesting live-action film adaptation of it.

My rating for the film: 6/10. And of course I tend to like a bit more anything with cats in it (even animated ones).