Sunday, September 16, 2012
15 Animated Films That Criterion Should Covet Part 1
To help Criterion overcome this horrible act of not including animation in, I've decided to share what I think are the top fifteen animated films that the company should release. Now, this is my opinion and there are tons more animated films I could have put on here, but let's start the countdown.
15. The Illusionist (2010)- The reason: Criterion seems to be in love with Jacques Tati, the French director of films like Mon Oncle (1958) and M. Hulot's Holiday (1953). It would seem strange not to have this film in the collection because it's an homage to the great auteur himself. The different gestures that he make is identical to the ones Tati made in his films. The film's even based on an unfinished script that Tati himself wrote as a project for him and his daughter to work on. The film is directed by Sylvain Chomet, who's known for his mostly silent animated masterpieces. Since Tati was a mostly silent comedian, this film works in honoring the genius behind the man. Package: A DVD with a beautiful cover of a man pulling something out of his hat for the young girl, and on the back cover, it's revealed that he had pulled out a bunny much to the delight of the girl.
14. Fritz The Cat (1971)- The reason: This was the first animated film to get an X rating, which was the equivalent of the NC-17 rating nowadays. Why? Well, I don't have the words for it since I'm not allowed to see this one at all. Seriously, this is why Criterion would want to get this on DVD because this film isn't a sweet kid's film,but it's a gritty film only for adults to enjoy. That way, no kid would be able to pick it up unless their babysitter accidentally got this for them. The director Ralph Balkaski was known for making controversial animated films that sometimes were adored but other times were hated by the general adult audience. Happily, this film was well received for it was a liberating experience away from the usual kid friendly crowd that this film grew to be a 1970s classic. The package: A literal box set with the original book by R.L. Crumb (whose life was chronicled in Crumb, #533 in the Criterion catalog), and a cover of Fritz doing it with each of his lady friends. Again, this is not for kids. Let me repeat that: Fritz The Cat is not for kids!
13. The Tale Of The Fox (1941)- The reason: It's one of the first animated films ever made, it's in French, and the character is a bleep. Sorry, but Criterion certainly loves films with those kind of characters. Let me explain to you what the fox for whom we are supposed to root for does in the film: he literally tries to and eventually succeeds in tricking/killing others in a brutal way, gets chased for his crime, and for outsmarting the lion king and all of his soldiers, he gets knighted as a minister. What a good role model he certainly is. At least, this was the first/most remembered film of stop motion pioneer, Ladislas Starevich who helped inspire Terry Gilliam for some reason. Good for him for he certainly knows how to turn a horrifying character into a memorable one. The package: A two disc set with Starevich's other animated films, including The Night Before Christmas (1913) and the 1937 German version of the same film above.
12. The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) - The reason: This movie is awesome. Period. Oh, you may not like the adaption of the very popular book by Norman Juster at all, but you can't deny the fact that Chuck Jones' criminally underrated version has a lot of heart and imagination. Plus, movies and books are different mediums. A book allows you to go all over the place in your imagination while a movie allows you to take a vacation away from reality. To make this vacation not bore the living daylights out of you, a movie needs to change the source material a lot. Chuck Jones must have known this for the film does explore the same terrain but has its own creativity and charm involved. And what's even more sadder than that his only feature film ever made is being constantly overlooked is that the only DVD copy out there is a disc with no special features to explain the history of it. What a pity for such a great film. The package: What's more wonderful than this movie? Chuck Jones himself. Just release his five most famous shorts along with the 2009 documentary Chuck Jones: Memories Of Childhood, and fans of his will be pleased with it.