Animatedkid’s Best and Worst Animated Film list of 2015

This is the third edition of my “Best and Worst films of Year” blog series, and the same rules apply. I create a list, and summarize each film (since I already reviewed each film in detail), going from the middle of the list, and then alternate to the point where I will then discuss the worst and the best film of the year. The 8 theatrical films on the list are:

  • Strange Magic (released on January 23rd, 2015, by ) 54
  • Home (released on March 27th, 2015, by DreamWorks Animation) 64
  • Inside Out (released on June 19, 2015, by Pixar Animation) 86
  • Minions (released on July 10th, 2015, by Illumination Studios) 65
  • Shaun the Sheep (released on August 5th, 2015, by Aardman Animations) 66
  • HotelTransylvannia 2 (released on September 25th, 2015, by Sony Studios) 48
  • The Peanuts Movie (released on November 6, 2015, by 20th Century Fox) 79
  • The Good Dinosaur (released on November 25th, 2015, by Pixar Animation) 76

4th Worst  (5th place): Minions (65%)

Minions_poster

Overall Opinion:

I remember thinking that this franchise needed to end sooner or later, and Illuminations needed to find other work, since the film was not a strong film at all. The characters were not good enough to hold their own story, the jokes were not really funny, and the plot was kind of all over the place. It is almost never a good idea to make side characters the main characters of their own film.

Story:

So the story is about the Minions trying to find someone to be their evil leader, since they have failed at that all throughout history, and have gotten bored of the world they have created for themselves. Kevin, Bob, and Stuart leave their world in 1968 to go find their evil leader, and they end up with Scarlett and her husband Herb at an evil convention. They end up accomplishing the task at hand, so they are taken to Britain, where they are told that they will steal the Queen of England`s crown, or else they will be killed. After some random circumstances, the Minions end up being the rulers, after pulling the Sword in the Stone, leading to Scarlett spending the rest of the film going after them.

It seemed like they threw whatever they can in the film, and trying to fit it into a certain concept. Apparently this movie is a huge plothole to the series, since Gru stated in the first film that he created the Minions. Well, Monsters University was created off of a plothole, and I still thought it was the best of 2013, so I cannot complain there. The plot is just generally weak, and I felt like it could have tied itself together a bit better.

Characters:

The characters are nothing to brag about either. All of them are supposed to be funny (which generally should not happen in films, because you need a balance between comedic and serious). Kevin is the leader, Stuart is the music-obsessed teenager, and Bob is the cute little one. Scarlett and Herb are “funny villains” without being funny. None of the characters are engaging on their own,  but if you group the minions together, than you will get some characters who are rootable.

Music:

I said that the music in the film was very generic and not memorable, since it was the typical adventure music. If they added a bit more of a British sound (since most of the film takes place in Britain) or a 60s style sound, than the music would have stood up more, and tied in to the setting and story better.

Animation:

The animation was pretty good. While the style is not particularly a favourite of mine, I do see how it fits with the theme and setting of the film. Either way, it is not noteworthy at all anyways.

4th Best  (4th place): Shaun the Sheep (66%)

Shaun_the_Sheep_MoviePoster

Overall Opinion:

My overall opinion on this film is that I found it to be extremely boring, and I had no strong opinion towards it one way or another. I saw the good in it, but it just did not appeal to me in any sense.

Story:

The story of this film is about a bunch of sheep getting sick and tired of a farmer`s routine, so they send him in a car while he is asleep, which ends up getting into a car accident. The car rolls into the city, and the farmer suffers from amnesia through most of the film. The sheep have to get the farmer back, sot hey go into the city to get him. Because animal control is very serious in the city, they have to be disguised, and avoid them as well. The farmer remembers, and ends up appreciating his sheep more, and vice versa for the sheep.

The message about appreciating what you have is a good one, and it is not horribly executed, but it was just so boring to get through. The fact that the characters do not talk doesn`t help, but not a lot happens in this film. I could not get invested in it to dislike or like. It is mediocre.

Characters:

I remember that this was the sole exception to me not writing captions under pictures in the characters section, because they all felt lifeless, dull, flat, and uninteresting to me. There is nothing for me to even rant on, like I do to other horrible characters.

Music:

While the music was not really memorable, I appreciated that they added a British style to the score, and made it fit. The music carried through the scenes appropriately, so I cannot really complain about that. Nothing memorable, but does its job fine.

Animation:

The animation is the same as all of the other Aardman films, which means it is good, and has the same style. It was nice to look at, and the animation fit for the setting and story of the film.

3rd Worst  (6th place): Home (64%)

Home_(2015_film)_poster

Overall Opinion:

My overall thought of the film is that the concept was good, and that there was some heart, but the execution was not good, and made it hard to get invested in almost every aspect of the film. The message kind of gets lost with the incessant humor, and the sloppy storytelling that needed to be tighter.

Story:

So there are these alien creatures called Boos, which go from planet to planer to hide from the Gorg, and they relocate the natives to another area. Oh is a lover, and all of the other Boos dislike him. Tip is looking for her mother, and this causes the two of them to bump into one another. Oh earlier sent a text to everyone in the entire universe to his party, which causes his alien society to have a warrant for his arrest. Tip blames his people for her mother being missing, so they hate one another at first. After a bunch of circumstances, they become the best of friends.

The relationship between the two main characters are kind of strong, but it had a lot more potential to be better, but it was downplayed by lackluster humor, and unnecessary filler. When it comes to a different setting, or an unusual premise, there needs to be a lot of explanation (whether it is verbal or visual), and this film had neither. This also makes the aliens a lot weaker as entities in the film, since we have nothing to base our opinions on them.

Characters:

The characters are not strong whatsoever in this film. There are really only two characters you need to pay attention to. Oh is the alien that is an outcast, who we are forced to root for because of that fact only, and Tip is an immigrant (which was neat for DreamWorks to make that known in a film) who is a tough girl, but that is all we know. The side characters are not even worth discussing.

Music:

They literally have Rihanna sing in every song of the film, and they cashed off on her too much for my liking. The score was nothing noteworthy as well. I literally do not remember any of the songs or the content relating to the songs, but I recognize her voice.

Animation:

I pretty much liked the alien designs, and was not gravitating to the human designs. I know it is supposed to be boxy and clunky, but to each their own I guess. The colors and backgrounds were the biggest standouts to me in the animation department.

3rd Best  (3rd place): The Good Dinosaur (76%)

The_Good_Dinosaur_poster

Overall Opinion:

My overall opinion on it was that it was a pretty great film, though there were some parts that dragged and got boring. It is most certainly not the best film of this year, but it is leaps better than the ones ranked lower than it. There are little flaws with this one.

Story:

The story of this film consists of a dinosaur farming family, and they have to earn their mud print on a food holder, which all but Arlo does. He lets his cowardice get to him every single time, and it frustrates his father, who tries to force him to do what he told him to do. This leads to his father’s death, and Arlo blames the little kid named Spot for it. A few days later, Arlo runs after Spot to kill him, but they end up falling in a river, and washed away to a far place. They both have to make it back home, which they of course bond and become close.

I like the story, even though it is predictable, and falls under the typical Pixar “buddy buddy” film. The premise of “what if the asteroid never hit Earth” was very cool, and I wished they expanded on the different dinosaur world a bit more. The relationship between Spot and Arlo was very well-done, and you felt for them as characters. It is just that things get  bit boring and slow for me in the middle.

Characters:

The characters are not the strongest, but are good enough. Arlo’s siblings are the jerky, a bit selfish, but loving older siblings, while his mother and father are the typical parents. I could not find much to say about Spot, but it makes sense, since he is a wild animal who barely speaks. He is very jumpy and resourceful, which leads to some great moments. Arlo is the typical misunderstood and weak hero, but I could not help but root for him. They portrayed him as having faults and flaws that he had to work through. The voice acting did help as well.

Music:

When it comes to the score, it is the typical adventure, dinosaur-ish music that you have heard in many other films that involves dinosaurs. Sometimes, receiving the expected is not a bad thing, I guess. You won’t find yourself remembering the score a day later.

Animation:

I liked that they did not stick with the typical animation for dinosaurs in the film, and found it very refreshing how realistic they tended to look. The backgrounds were pretty astonishing to me to look at. It was a combination of the colors, the details, texture, and movement. I never expected to be impressed with the animation as much as I was when watching the film.

2nd Worst  (7th place): Strange Magic (54%)

Strange_Magic_poster

Overall Opinion:

I know many would have put either this or Home as the worst film, and I thought I would have been putting them as the worst, but I just couldn’t. Wow…. I almost forgot how much I loathed this film, but it is a mess. The characters are beyond flat, the songs are so unorganized and add little to nothing, and there is little to nothing to enjoy about in the film.

Story:

The story is based off of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where there are love triangle/squares, and a love potion involved. Long story short, Marian catches her fiance Ronald cheat on her during their wedding day, and her heart completely turns dark. I get what they were doing with this, but the execution was so forced and painful to deal with. This is unlike her sister Dawn, who falls in love with any man she sees, but her best friend Sunny, who is helplessly in love with her. Him and Ronald want the love potion to themselves, but when it hits Dawn, she ends up falling in love with the evil Bog King (whose heart is toughened by a past heartbreak).

We all know what happens. Bog King and Mariane end up falling in love because of how guarded they are, blah, blah, blah. The reason why this was not dead last is because you can tell that there was some heart and creativity put into this film. Certain plot points are added so late into the film (the main plot point), and other unneeded ones are given too much focus, so it makes the story incredibly sloppy and hard to adapt to.

Characters:

Ugh, I really do not want to go over every single character, since they all suffer from the same thing. They all have very boring and flat personalities, whose execution is very contrived and hard to like. Marianne was overly cheery in the first 10 minutes, and overly aggressive and determined to be badass for the rest of the movie, Roland is not even an entertaining asshole, Sunny tries to be too funny to even care about his unrequited love, Dawn is overly lovesick, who ends up being turned into a plot point, and that is it really.

Music:

HOLY CRAP, I would have NEVER expected the music of a film to affect every other aspect of a film so negatively like it does in this film. They sing every 2 minutes (sometimes every minute) for about 3/4 of the film, and the songs are not even originals, but poorly executed cover songs. How am I supposed to invest in characters when they are singing pop cover songs to fit into the movie? Do we even know the world of the movie takes place in the modern world? What the heck. It pisses me off even MORE when they ruin songs that I listen to every single day.

Animation:

The animation is the only good thing about this film. It is easily one of the prettiest films in the year, and they really made the light fairy and dark fairy worlds have their own character to it. There were so many textures, and the designs of the backgrounds and humans were really appealing. Too bad that they did not put all of the effort into the other categories of the film.

2nd Best (2nd place): The Peanuts Movie (79%)

Peanuts_2015

Overall Opinion:

My opinion of this film remained the same as it was a few days ago when I published this review. I liked the simplicity and innocent features that were in the film, and made us relate back to our own childhoods.

Story:

The story pretty much consists of a new girl nicknamed The Little Red Haired Girl moving to the neighborhood, and Charlie grows a huge crush on. Knowing that he is seen as a failure, he has to overcome his faults to have the courage to speak to her, and to show her that he is someone. Normal school activities get in the way, and he finally befriends her at the end of the school year.

I know the description sounds ever shallow, thin, and non-appealing, but it is the execution that makes it stand out. You really get to settle in the setting, characters, and they really capture what is is like to be a child. Little scenarios that seemed so huge back in those days were captured, like a test, or a school dance, getting a sticker for good behavior, etc.

Characters:

I liked how they handled Charlie and the other characters in the film. While I am not that familiar with the franchise, I do have some slight memories of how the overall characters behaved, and they captured the spirit of the characters perfectly. Charlie actually had to grow as a character, and it is nice to see how a child has to learn a message or lesson. Snoopy is a great enough side character, and the Little Red Haired Girl is a decent enough plot device.

Music:

Like I said in the review, the music was the same that was used in the previous editions of the franchise. The piano and classic music that was used in the movie was used in the shows and specials, which definitely tied into some nostalgia in me as well, since I remember the music more than the stories of the franchise.

Animation:

I LOVE the animation in this film. The fact that they kept the characters flat (like in the specials), but innovated them by making it CGI was such an artistic pleasure to see, and I support it 100%. Seeing the texture of the hair and clothes on these characters were so interesting to me, and it helped me invest more into the film. This is a good mix of realism and cartoonish styles.

Worst  (8th place): Hotel Transylvannia 2 (48%)

Hotel_Transylvania_2_poster

Overall Opinion:

“My opinion right after the film is that I suffered through a lot worse this year.” -Anii654, December 15th, 2015. Apparently, that was complete bullshit, and I do not even know why I wrote that. This film is truly horrid. The story is more than flat and one dimensional, but it is not suited for a normal length film. The characters are so easy to get annoyed by, a bunch of random pop songs come by, and everything is thrown to the side for cheap humor that fails. Unlike the other films above, there is nothing that keeps me from groaning at the mention of the film.

Story:

The plot of the film consists of Mavis and Johnny having a kid named Dennis, who grows up for the first 5 years of his life having doubts of becoming a vampire. Mavis’ father Dracula desperately needs him to be a vampire, and puts him through very single scenario to scare the fangs out of him. Mavis is considering moving, because everything around Dennis is too dangerous, but all of this is blown away abruptly when Dennis grows fans at his fifth birthday party.

The plot is way too simple, and when they could have decided to make a scene emotional or contain a minimal amount of depth, they rip it away with either a joke, or abruptly moving on. Dracula finding ways to make Dennis a vampire can get episodic as well. I just did not care, and found myself groaning more than usual.

Characters:

I disliked pretty much everyone in this film, and found them hard to enjoy or even care about. All of them are flat, one-note, and do not offer much to care for, because they are either filler characters that take up wasted time (Dracula’s friends, Johnny and Mavis at times), and even when Dracula and his father learn their lesson, it is extremely contrived, and the damage has been done.

Music:

The songs in the film are horrible pop songs that are not needed, and added to keep the “modern” feeling in the film. There is no reason why there is modern music over vampire-themed music other than to be trendy and to capitalize off of commercialism.

Animation:

Like I said earlier, I get it that the animation is supposed to be cartoony, but it is just not my taste. Everything was decently done I guess. It is not my style, but even the animation fits for a short, with the fast pace ad the rigid movements.

Best  (1st place): Inside Out (86%)

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

Overall Opinion:

I remember being shocked with how shocked I was with this film. Usually, creativity and reality does not really line up. There were so many connections to different parts of the human body that they used for a creative purpose in the film.

Story:

The story starts with Riley being born, and the 5 emotions of sadness, joy, anger, disgust, and fear being created in her head. They handle the memories, and the goal is to make Riley the best Riley she could be. Things take a turn for the worse when the family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, and Riley was not getting the support she needed. This caused her to go to a bad place, and the emotions have to react to all of this, especially when Joy and Sadness left Headquarters and had to find their way back.

What really connected me to the film is the same thing that connected me to The Peanuts Movie; I remember being a child going through these things; it was real, and it was connected with creativity. I did not think Peanuts was that creative, but this film was. I liked how it connected to the start of puberty.

Characters:

The characters are not the best, but I think with the concept that this film had, it would be very tough to accomplish, whether it was developing the main human, or the emotions. The emotions fill their roles very well, and I do like how Joy had to learn the lesson that she is not the only emotion that matters. Riley has some personality as well, though she is used as an object more than a character in the film.

Music:

If there was one minor nitpick that I had with the film was the music, because there was absolutely nothing memorable about it. I do not know whether it was intentional or not, but I was not used to it, since Pixar is known for their strong scores.

Animation:

While the animation is typical for Pixar, I liked that color was more of a focus than any specific texture or design of the animation. The human designs, and even the designs of the emotions were decent, but they were not really important, if that makes sense.

Overall List

  • 8. Hotel Transylvannia 2
  • 7. Strange Magic
  • 6. Home
  • 5. Minions
  • 4. Shaun the Sheep
  • 3. The Good Dinosaur
  • 2. The Peanuts Movie
  • 1. Inside Out

Well, I was not overly impressed with the films this year, but the good ones were really good. So, if I had to rank the last 3 years of my blog, I will say that 2013 is worse, than 2015 in the middle, and 2014 being the best year. I had a bit more positive thoughts about the films in 2014 than I did this year, and I think this is the first year where my #1 is the majority’s choice for #1. I will try to get back to the Sunday schedules with the remaining DisneyToons films. If things get back to schedule, than I will continue with reviewing the Pixar canon up to Monsters University. This year was definitely not a good one for the blog, since I was very inconsistent, but I am starting to get back on track. I hope you all have fun and safe New Years and 2016.

 

 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Animatedkid’s Best and Worst Animated Film list of 2015

  1. Good list! I’ve finally seen Shaun the Sheep Movie and my opinion of it differs greatly from yours. I think it’s an amazingly well-made and hilarious film! It’s great how much they could do without dialogue!

    And I haven’t seen HT2 yet, but I can’t imagine it being worse than Home.

    1. Thanks. I had a feeling that people would disagree on Shaun the Sheep, and while it is a nice enough film, it was very hard for me to focus on the film. Aardman films are generally not my favorites anyways, so maybe that impacted my viewing.

      Home at least touched my heart a few times, and made me laugh approximately once. Hotel Transylvannia 2 did nothing but make me growl. Maybe Home being the only film I did not have to cram in during the last 2 months impacted its ranking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s