When Up in the Air was announced to be coming to theatres near you in 2009 I looked at the poster and thought “Well that looks boring” and decided to watch Up instead, a film with three less words in the title but packing a huge emotional wallop that we have all come to experience from that film.
So when the first How to Train Your Dragon trailers rolled across my TV screen I was, absurdly in retrospect, quite sceptical about the film. I thought it would be a film only for kids and would only add to the slew of bad and mediocre films DreamWorks were producing since Flushed Away, with Kung Fu Panda being the only anomaly at the time. But I was wrong. I’ll admit that. How to Train Your Dragon was a phenomenal success that put DreamWorks firmly back in contention with Disney and Pixar.
Well here we are, the end of traditional animation, or at least, the end of DreamWorks traditional animation efforts. I apologise at how long it’s taken me to produce these reviews but I hope you’ve been able to bear with me through all of this. But since it is the end let’s see how this ends, with a whimper or with a bang.
Well we’re at the penultimate review and we are delving into the world where traditional
and computer animation start to collide with Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Though Jeffery Katzenberg called this, stupidly in my opinion, “tradigital animation”, the idea of blending the two styles together is not unheard of, being used in Don Bluth’s somewhat forgotten film Titan A.E and the much more successful and fondly remembered Disney film Tarzan.
Well I never intended for these DreamWorks reviews to be a biweekly thing, but that’s how it’s somehow turned out. I was about to break this cycle and put up my review of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron today, but something prevented me and, if you read the title, I think you can guess what it was.
It’s the first time I’ve reviewed a film that is still being shown in the cinema at time of reviewing since About Time and what a film to bring me back from reviewing films from years gone by. I’m a bit of a Studio Ghibli fan and when I heard that Hayao Miyazaki’s possibly final film The Wind Rises was screening near me I knew what this Wednesday’s review was going to be.
So here we are, at last. My second traditionally animated DreamWorks review! If you’ve not seen my first of these, then go check out The Prince of Egypt review right now. I mean it go on. I’m not starting until you’ve read it….. Read it yet? Well the hell with you then. Let’s get started, as we always do at The Chronic Chronicler, with the obligatory overview.
It’s 1519 and Tulio (Kevin Kline) and Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) are two con artists in Seville, Spain have just finished getting the last of the thug Zaragoza (Tobin Bell) of his gold when he produces a map to El Dorado, wanting to bet it for all the money he lost. With Miguel believing its authenticity, he gets Tulio to gamble it all for it, using Zaragoza’s non loaded dice. They win, but are soon seen for the con men they are and, after brilliant acting and a chase scene, Miguel and Tulio accidentally get on board a ship to the New World.
No. No no no no no no no no. I said I wasn’t going to do a pun on the title in my last article and I’m sticking to my guns. When a film title like this comes round, it seems that most reviewers salivate so much that they could flood their rooms and turn it into a swimming pool at the opportunity to make an awful pun on what is a well-meaning title. Well bugger that ship and all those who sail in it and I hope they die a deeply ironic death that others may use for awful puns. And after that lovely use of imagery, time for the review.