What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 2003

(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

After the controversy at the 75th Academy Awards, it seemed all anyone could talk about was Andy Serkis and the eligibility of his portrayal of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films.  His motion capture performance wasn’t nominated either for Best Supporting Actor or Best Voice Performance, and there was considerable debate over whether the acting or the animation branch (or both) would bend and give him the nomination.  What the speculators didn’t count on was the arrival of Pixar’s latest film, one which would go on to be regarded as a game-changer in the industry on account of its depth and storytelling.

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Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Two Towers is my favorite film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  While most people either preferred the pitch-perfect styling of the first film, or the epic conclusion of the third, for me I thought the middle chapter stood out in an interesting way.  I feel like a lot of the film’s success owed itself to how writer/director Peter Jackson was able to take a book in which little happens and craft it into a satisfying story arc which fit perfectly into the trilogy but also stood alone as a unique accomplishment.  He took the handful of major events in the story and fleshed them out, allowing him to focus much more on character and drama and less on sticking to the detail of the text, and it really showed off his (and his team’s) writing skills.  I had high hopes that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film of Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy would follow in the footsteps of The Two Towers, and while it’s definitely an excellent film, it lacks the creativity and emotion of his previous middle movie.

The Desolation of Smaug picks up right where An Unexpected Journey left off.  Continue reading

What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 2002

(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

The arrival of Dreamworks Animation on the scene with the success of Shrek, which won both the inaugural Best Animated Feature award and the Best Voice Performance award at the 74th Oscars, was a turning point for the animated industry.  No longer was animation the solely linked to Disney, and the result was an expansion of animation and a greater variety of voice roles for famous actors.  However, all of that would be overshadowed in 2002 by one single performance.  Andy Serkis’s portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was energizing for the industry and immediately led to calls for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in the film, in spite of the fact that the performance used a combination of animation and motion capture instead of the actor actually appearing in the film.  It was a foregone conclusion for many that he would automatically receive a nomination in the Best Voice Performance category.

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Trailer Tuesday: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

I’ve always felt like the second full trailer is always the hardest one for a film to pull off.  Teaser trailers are pretty easy, offering just a glimpse to get people talking, while the first full trailer is generally full of entirely new footage that will excite audiences.  But the second trailer often reuses much of the footage from the first trailer, hitting the same story beats as its predecessor with little new to add.  Often a second trailer will feature a few, specific revelations, trying to keep interest in the film high and promote continued discussion.  We saw the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a while back, and now we’re presented with the second.  Take a look below and read on for my thoughts:

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Friday Favorites: Favorite Absurdity – The Muppets

Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.

There’s an exchange in the preshow for Muppet*Vision 3-D at Disney World that goes a little something like this:

Sam the Eagle: Will you stop this foolishness?

Gonzo the Great: What kind of foolishness would you like to see?

To me, that statement is the essence of the Muppets.  And with that in mind, here’s today’s Friday Favorite, presented without context:

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Trailer Tuesday: The Lone Ranger

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

During my movie marathon a couple weeks ago, I saw a trailer for The Lone Ranger (out tomorrow) before my showing of Man of Steel.  There’s nothing unusual about this, and I fully expected it, but what I didn’t expect was this unusual take on a trailer instead of something more typical.  Take a look, and then read on for my thoughts:

Instead of a standard trailer we instead got a behind-the-scenes look at the film.   Continue reading