The Animation Mania

Anastasia!

That was the name of the girl who opened the door. Of course, Mickey and Donald and Tom and Jerry have always been there, but Anastasia was the one who made me fall in love with Animation movies. She still remains my first love. 🙂

anastasiafinal_fantasy

Then I saw something drastically different. It completely bowled me over. I was surprised beyond imagination that someone can do something like that in an animation movies. The movie was Final Fantasy:The spirits within. Although the movie was a flop, I consider it a classic. *All classics are flop*

I was so fascinated by the world of animation that there was a time when I was on the verge of taking up a 1.5 years animation course. I had the forms. I just had to fill them but then something else happened and I drifted away. The Animation industry had not turned into the huge Goliath which it is now. I was not sure whether it could accommodate me. Its funny how we are asked to take decisions of our life at an age when we don’t have the experience to take them. Anyways…

Over the last few years we have seen a huge boom in the industry which has swelled to $100 billion+ market. Earlier, the only well established animation studio used to be Walt Disney Animation Studio which gave us some masterpieces like The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Tarzan, Alladin, The Little Mermaid and so many others, but in the past decade there has been a boom in the Animation market.

the jungle bookbeauty and the beastthe lion kingtarzanAladdinThe_Little_Mermaid

There is Dreamworks, which has been busy churning hits one after another. Antz was the first Dreamwork movie I saw. I still think that the huge shoe scene was the best one in the movie. Shrek has been the most successful series of the studio with a total gross of $2 billion+ right now. I believe that “The donkey” has played a huge part in the success. Then there is Madagascar(another big success), Kung Fu Panda, Wallace and Gromit:The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Flushed Away, Bee Movie, Shark Tale and the recently released Monsters vs Aliens(the first movie to be directly created in the 3D format).

antzshrekmadagascarKung Fu Pandawallace and GromitFlushed Awaybee movieshark talemonster vs alien

Pixar is one studio which stands apart from the rest, largely because of the kind of movies they have churned out. Each movie is not just to entertain but it sets a benchmark in animation. And the best part is that the benchmark goes higher and higher with each release. The studio started with Toy Story in 1995 and followed up with incredible movies like A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E and the latest Up. Impressive! Isn’t it? Walt Disney bought Pixar in 2006.

toy storya-bugs-lifeMonster Incfinding nemoThe IncrediblesCarsRatatouilleWall Eup

There are other studios like Blue Sky which gave us Ice Age and Horton hears a Who!, Animal Logic which came up with Happy Feet(and which has produced special effects in the biggest Hollywood blockbusters), Image Movers Digital(again bought by Disney) which gave us The Polar Express, Monster House and Beowulf.

ice-agehorton_hears_a_whoHappy feetThe Polar expressMonster houseBeowulf

Besides all the Big Budget Animation movies, there have been some others which don’t have the “cutting edge” technology, but have been equally mesmerising. Spirited Away(This movie holds the record of the highest grossing movie in Japan), Persepolis(the story of a small girl set during the Iranian Revolution), Corpse Bride and Animatrix(9 short stories set in the fictional world of The Matrix), to name a few. After all, the story matters!

spirited awaypersepoliscorpse_brideAnimatrix

I believe that animation movies are the epitome of Human creativity and imagination. They bring so many things to life and they will always make you smile. You can see fish dancing in water with mermaids, you can see a rat preparing an exiquisite dish in a restaurant, you can see cars talk to each other, you can see people flying on magic carpets, an Ogre falling in love with a princess, you can see the place where all the monsters are kept…the list is endless because human imagination is endless. Its a proof that we have in us to make beautiful things.

Animation Movies are a never ending love for me. I don’t understand people who don’t like them(although I haven’t met any such person). 🙂

What about all of you? Have you seen all the movies I have listed here? Did I miss a very good movie?

And now I leave you with the images from the movie which started it all.

Best Hollywood Movie Series

I have not done any filmy post from a long time now and I am having a headache in my stomach because of that. I saw “The Mummy” and “Singh is Kinnnnnng” but didn’t feel like writing a review for either of them. Both of them gave me a terrible headache. I have been watching a lot of Hollywood Movies lately and as the sequel fever is catching up with Bollywood movies too, I wonder if we will ever get a “Maine Phir pyar kiya” of a “Dilwale Dulhaniya phir le jayenge” ? I would really do anything to see what happened to Raj and Simran.

Putting an end to all the wishful thinking, here is the list of my all time favourite Hollywood Series. Its a very personal list and don’t be disheartened if I have not included one of your favourites. 🙂

10. Back to the Future

Back to the future was released in 1985 and it went ahead to become the highest grosser that year. It was followed by its sequel in 1989 and the last movie of the trilogy released in 1990. The Sequels were not as successful as the first movie, but I enjoyed all the three movies thoroughly.

The movie revolves around the concept of time travel. In a time machine invented by Dr. Brown, Marty travels back to 1955 where he meets his parents when they were teenagers. He interferes with their first meeting. Now he has to make sure that his parents fall in love so that he is born otherwise he would be erased from the future.

The movie was funny and engrossing. In the sequel, Marty goes to the future to deal with his children who are grown up and directionless.

The movie has a 95% tomatometer rating and is at the 10th position in AFI’s Top ten Science Fiction movies of all times.

9. X Men

This series consisted of three superhero movies based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name. Each movie outgrossed the last movie and each sequel was more expensive than the previous. Hugh Jackman was a relatively unknown actor when the series changed his fortunes overnight. He plays the lead character of Wolverine who is drawn into the conflict between two groups of mutants. One group is headed by Professor Xavier who runs a school for mutants where they are coached to understand and control their powers. The other group is headed by Magneto, the evil mutant who wants to destroy mankind before they destroy him.

And all those who are thinking that the fun is over, hold your bad breath, because X Men Origins series are on their way starting with Wolverine and Magneto next year.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean

The first part of this trilogy was first released in 2003 and its success was completely unexpected. Walt Disney revealed after its unexpected success that a trilogy was on the way. The second movie in the series – Dead Man’s Chest, was an instant success and broke box office records all over the world.

The first movie was based on a theme park ride in Disneyland and people were expecting it to be a big flop but Johnny Depp(who played Captain Jack Sparrow) completely turned the tables. The name of Captain Sparrow will always remain synonymous with the movie. The movie follows the journey of Captain Jack Sparrow and a blacksmith Will Turner(played by Orlando Bloom) as they rescue Elizabeth ( played by Keira Knightley) who is kidnapped by the cursed crew of the ghost ship named Black Pearl.

7. Spiderman

This three movie series of the Marvel Comic superhero directed by Sam Raimi changed the fortunes of Tobey Maguire. The series was immensely successful and the third movie broke the opening box office records in 29 countries. All the three movies grossed more than 800 million dollars each at the box office.

The rights of the motion picture on Spiderman were purchased in 1985 but the first movie came up in 2002. The rights moved through many hands before they ended up in the lap of Sony Entertainment. How the movie finally saw the light of the day after a wait of 17 years is another interesting story which you can read here.

The bad news is that even after the success of all the three movies, there are no indications of a fourth part.

6. Shrek

This series consist of a total of eight projects out of which three have been already released. The series is based on a picture book of the same name by William Steig. The movie follows the unusual story of an ogre who is sent by Lord Farquaad to rescue princess Fiona who is locked in a tower guarded by a dragon. Shrek rescues the princess with the help of a talking donkey. The most hilarious part of the movie is the love story of the donkey and the dragon(who is a female by the way). And yes, who can forget the adorable puss in boots?

The movie dazzled with brilliant animation and a unique storyline. The third part of the series was panned by the critics saying that it was a normal movie trying to be an animation, but I liked it nevertheless. The movie boasts of so many unforgettable characters like the frog king, Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother and so many fairy tale creatures.

5. Batman

Batman movies have been there since a long time but the series being mentioned here is the reboot series directed by Christopher Nolan which started with Batman Begins in 2005 and exploded the screens with The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight holds the record of the fastest film to reach the 400 million mark. It did that in just 18 days. Christian Bale does full justice to the role of Batman in both the series and infact when the wears the Batsuit, you have a feeling that no one else could have done it better.

In Dark Knight, Heath Ledger as The Joker gave another dimension to the villain in Cinema, which is hard to equal. Its a pity that he passed away without seeing his own success.

And yes, before you ask, there is no sign of a sequel announcement.

4. Star Wars

Star Wars was conceived by George Lucas in 1970 which finally went on to become a six film series. The first three movies came in 1977, 1980 and 1983. The story takes place in a fictional galaxy consisting of super developed planets interacting with each other. “Force” is an energy form which can be harnessed by those who have the ability. The creatures who can harness the force for good are called Jedi and there is an academy to train them. But there is a dark side too which consist of those who misuse the Force. The are called the Sith. The first three movies follow the story of Luke Skywalker who is the son of the Dark Lord called Darth Vader.

The next three movies came in 1999, 2002 and 2005 which followed the story of Anakin Skywalker who is trained to become a Jedi since childhood but finally turns towards the dark Force to become Darth Wader. The series were immensely successful and had spawned a plethora of franchise.

3. Harry Potter

No, its not a series of 7 movies. Its 8. The last book(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) is been split into two movies. So, three more to go!!! 🙂 Rowling sold the film rights for the first four movies to Warner Bros in 1999 for a reported 1 million pounds. She also insisted for keeping the primary cast as British and allowing casting of Irish actors as well. Steven Spielberg was supposed to direct the first movie but somehow that didn’t worked out. Apparently, Speilberg wanted the movie to be an animated series!!!!

All the five movies of the series released so far have been tremendous success and the next one ( Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) is slated to be released on July 17, 2009. Generally movies based on popular books divide the fans over the faithful creation of the movie adaptations and this series was no different. This is one reason I haven’t read the books yet. I don’t want to fall out of love with the movies.

2. Matrix

This series comprised of three movies in the science-fiction genre which were directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The first movie in the series came out in 1999 and I was verbally abused by my friends for choosing to watch Mann over this movie. I consider it the biggest mistake of my life.

All the three movies were critically acclaimed and successful but there are debates over the last movie of the series. The second movie( The Matrix Reloaded) is the highest grosser out of the three and set benchmarks as far action sequences were concerned. The series also inspired a new religious movement called Matrixism or “The path of one” by a group in 2004.

Personally, I don’t remember the number of times I have seen the movie. For days, I observed everything around me very minutely and was quite sure that we are living in a Matrix. Such was the influence of the movie on me. I used to think that the Matrix is mocking us by showing us this movie about what actually happened to us and still we could not make it out. An absolute favourite and a must watch.

1. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings Triology consist of three live action fantasy epic films based on the book by the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. The story is set in Middle Earth where a Hobbit named Frodo comes into possession of the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron. Frodo sets on an expedition to destroy the ring with 8 other companions with him.

The movie series is the Highest grossing series of all time right now and has grossed a total of $2.91 billions worldwide. The combined special effects of all the three movies stand at 3,420. The movie took 8 years in the making with a total budget cost of $280 million and was shot in New Zealand. In total, six million feet of film (over 1,100 miles) was edited down to the 11 hours and 23 minutes (683 minutes) of Extended DVD running time(and I am the proud owner of the extended DVD version). It won 17 Oscars out of the 30 it was nominated for.

I have seen all the three parts about 30 times each. So much that I can recite the dialogues while watching the movie and tell you the next scene in advance. My family was very concerned once because every time they used to see me watching a movie, it was LOTR. 🙂 I don’t think any other movie series would be the number one for me.

Those left out

There are many movie series which are not included here for the simple reason that I did not liked them as a package. For e.g. you may not find Indiana Jones here because the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was the worst one I have ever seen. The way India is portrayed in the movie is nonsensical.

Another popular movie series which is not in the list is Saw. I did not liked the third part. It was too gory. There are numerous more examples like – Hannibal, Home Alone, Scary Movie, Hulk, Resident Evil, Jurassic Park Series, to name a few.

p.s. A lot of information for the post was obtained from Wikipedia.

15 Colours of Laughter

The following is a list of movies which were created with the intend of tickling the funny bone, and as far as I am concerned, the creators have been more than successful. It will be ruthless to give a numerical order of preference, hence the movies are arranged alphabetically. And yes, this is “my” list and not THE list which every earthling has to follow.

A fish called wanda (1988)

Four thieves, a lawyer, his wife, an old lady and her three dogs form the central characters in this movie which ranks 21 in the “100 funniest movies of all time” list of the American Film Institute. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Wanda with Kevin Kline playing the hitman Otto. The movie boast of some of the most comical sequences of all times from which my personal favourite is the one in which jealous Otto interrupts Wanda’s meeting with Archie (the lawyer) and then dangles Archie out of the window and asks him to apologise for calling him stupid. Deja Vu??

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

As good as it gets (1997)

The movie got Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt their much deserved Oscars. It tells the story of a writer Melvin Udall who is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive disorder and who falls in love with a waitress at a restaurant he visits for his breakfast. Watching the lead actors in this movie is a sheer delight. There are so many scenes like the “elephant girl”, the “over a dog” and the “did you had sex with him” scene which make me laugh every-time I see them.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Baby’s day out (1994)

The most surprising fact about this movie is that the role of the baby Bink was played by twins and nobody was able to guess. This is an all time favourite and I guess everyone knows the most funny scene. It is the one in which the baby flames the trousers of Eddie before escaping yet again, and the way Norby and Veeko put out the fire. Ouch!!!

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Cheaper by the dozen (2003)

Tom(Steve Martin) and Kate Baker live in a small town with their 12 children. The family is uprooted and have to move to another place when Tom is offered his dream job of a coach at a University. Kate’s book is about to be published and she has to move to New-York for the promotions leaving Tom and the 12 kids in the new house. This end to end comedy has some hilarious scenes like the family breakfast in the beginning and the way the kids treat their elder sister’s boyfriend. Must watch for a hearty laugh.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Four weddings and a funeral (1994)

This is the highest grossing British Romantic comedy of all times. The movie tells the story of a close knit group of friends. Charles (Huge Grant) who is a part of that group is madly attracted towards an American girl Carrie (Andie MacDowell) whom he repeatedly meets at four weddings and a funeral. The most hilarious scene in the movie comes in the second wedding where the inexperienced priest played by Rowan Atkinson( of Mr. Bean fame) says “holy goat” instead of “holy ghost” and “awfully wedded wife” in place of “lawfully wedded wife”.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Home alone (1990)

The movie was the top grosser of 1990 and remained at number one slot for more than 10 weeks. The rest as they say is history. I don’t think there will be anyone who would not have seen this rip-roaring roller coaster ride of a movie. It is one of the very few movies which will make you laugh even if you have just buried your pet dog. An all time favourite.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Moonstruck (1987)

I was in love with Cher by the time the movie ended. The movie got her the Oscar for her portrayal of the 37 years old Loretta who is engaged to be married to Johnny but falls in love with his younger brother Ronny, played by Nicholas Cage. The ending scene in the movie had me in splits where Loretta asks Ronny for a ring before he could propose her. The movie has a feel good quality and it leaves a smile on your face for hours after it has ended.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

My big fat greek wedding (2002)

The movie revolves around Toula (Nia Vardalos) who is nearing her 30s and still not able to find a suitable Greek boy for her. She eventually falls in love with a non Greek American named Ian, thus begins her trials to make her family accept her boyfriend. Yes, the movie is too hilarious, specially in the scenes where Toula’s father keeps on explaining people that all English words are derived from greek and when the “family” realise that Ian is a vegetarian. Another feel good movie.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Naked gun (1988)

A movie which will make you laugh out really loud. The movie stars Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin, an Officer in the Police squad who is attempting to foil an assassination attempt on Queen Elizabeth II. Don’t miss the scene in which Frank lands up on the Queen on a table while saving her and the scene where he hangs from a statue.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Pink panther (2006)

Steve martin appears again in the list, this time as inspector Jacques Clouseau who is solving the mystery of the disappearance of the Pink Panther diamond. Jacques is considered as an incompetent Inspector in France and is assigned this case for some reasons. What follows is a riveting comedy which will keep your laughs intact till the end.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Scary movie (2000)

If you like a light parody of all time hits, then this is the movie just for you. Make sure you have seen Scream, The sixth sense, I know what you did last summer and The Matrix or you will miss half the fun. The movie was a huge hit in 2000 and if you feel that you can digest this “take-a-dig-at-blockbusters” movie, then go ahead. It is a safe bet.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Shrek (2001)

The Oscars for Best Animated Film was introduced in 2001 and Shrek was the first movie to win it. The movie had some memorable characters out of whom the donkey wins hands on. Its hard to imagine donkey without Eddie Murphy’s voice. There are many outstanding comic sequences like the dragon falling in love with the donkey and the climax where the dragon burps out the crown after eating Lord Farquaad.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

Some like it hot (1959)

If you have seen Rafuchakkar ( the Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singn starrer), then Some like it hot is the movie from where it took “inspiration”. The movie stars Mariyln Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Tony and Jack play two struggling musicians who witness a mass murder carried out by a Chicago gang. To escape the gang members who are after their lives, they disguise as women and join an all girl band, thus starting the hilarious chain of events. Mariyln Monroe is completely ravishing and a good number of laughs are guaranteed.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

The gods must be crazy (1980)

This movie had a unique theme. The story begins in a small tribe in the Kalahari desert where bushmen dwell and who are completely unaware of the world outside their sphere. One day an airplane passes by and someone throws a cocacola bottle from the plane and the tribe comes in contact with the “evil” thing from the outer world. The central character Xi then sets on a journey to return the bottle back to the outer world. The movie had other parallel stories also which merge as the movie progress. The movie is a classic in its own league and is highly recommended.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

When harry met sally (1989)

Yes, this is the movie which lead to “Hum Tum”, but if you see this movie you will realize that how unlikely dissimilar the two movies are. For starters, the famous restaurant scene which ends with “I’ll have what she is having” cannot be imagined in a Hindi movie. The film raised the quintessential question – Can men and women just be friends? Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are in top form and the movie is considered as the Best comedies of all times.

To know more about the movie, you can click here.

p.s.: The list does not contain some classic comedies like Tootsie, Airplane, Mrs. Doubtfire etc for the simple reason that I have not seen them yet. 🙂

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