All right, let's run through this one quick and dirty.
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Wind Rises
Like all who dwell in a screener-less world, I've been unable to see Ernest and Celestine. I'm not quite sure why they didn't try for at least a NY/LA release, to give lightning a chance to strike.
The Croods was grueling enough to sit through that I found myself ready to join dws' "Junk this category" brigade. That this tiresome thing actually got decent reviews makes you wonder just how bad the average animated film is, these days.
Despicable Me 2 isn't exactly leagues better, but at least it's light on its feet, and doesn't offer heavy moral lessons.
The Wind Rises is the clear class of the field. It's uneven -- there were times in the second hour where I wasn't quite sure what plot I was following -- and even much of the best of it has hints of 40s melodrama. But it's thematically rich, visually imaginative, and grown-up in a way American animators don't seem willing to even try. Plus it has a wonderful score for which I'd bump most of this year's music nominees.
But of course it won't win -- voters did their duty by the great Miyazaki a decade back, and now they're in a Disney frame of mind. I think Frozen is probably better than Brave and Rango, but not close to the PIXAR winners of recent vintage. However, it's a commercial phenomenon, and has the girl-power thing going; I don't see how it can miss.
On to next year, and LEGO.
For the films of 2013
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