Top 5 Animated Films

There are few things that make me happier than watching a well written animated film– some people may call me childish for it, but I honestly believe sometimes they’re more compelling than the other films you can stumble across when you’re looking for a good movie. I’ve decided to post the top 5 of bated-breath.net’s favourite Animated Films.

All lists are subjective, and this one is in no way concrete, as new movies come out every year and some will wiggle in when you’re least expecting it. I may get scoffs from people who find some of my choices to be ‘too recent’ and that ‘classic films’ are better, but I’m talking about replay value here– something I can watch over and over, without getting bored– and how it resonates with me as a person.

5. An American Tail

One of the first movies I ever fell in love with, and still resonates with me today– I don’t know why, I was never really separated from my family or anything like that– but somehow it manages to creep into me and make me happy in ways I can’t explain. It has some of my random favourite songs of any animated film like it, and it’s one of those films where the songs don’t seem forced into it. For some reason, it seems like every animated film feels the need to shove dozens of songs in for kids to relate to, but honestly I just find that as time passes they don’t stand up to the test of time, whereas with An American Tail, it totally does.

Something about following adorable little Fievel through his journey to locate his parents rekindles some kind of childishness in me where I just want to sing along with each song and cry at each sad part. It was my favourite movie as a child and still settles well within the top 5 animated today.

4. The Little Mermaid

This proves to anyone who questions it that I am, undeniably, a girl. For some reason this ends up being a lot of girl’s favourites– I don’t really dig the look of Eric, but somehow I still fell in love with him, and I wanted to be Ariel with her long, flowing red hair and her beautiful floatiness in the water (true story: I used to sing to myself and swim around in our pool at home pretending I was Ariel– if you tell anyone, I’ll hurt you.) The story itself is a bit whacked out and far removed from the actual fairy tail, but somehow the whole fantastical underwater scene, and even the music, drew me in, and it was one of the last Disney Animated Films I actually enjoyed before they fell into the dark years of badness.

3. Anastasia

Heart don’t fail me now, courage don’t desert me, don’t turn back now that we’re here~
Yes, I may be insane over this movie just a touch, but in the past few years its seen less replay with me than it used to– but, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the movie is one of my all-time favourites, and is another non-Disney title that just tugs at me in ways I can’t explain. I know all the songs by heart, even the ‘bad’ ones, and I absolutely adore everyone in this movie. Besides, you put John Cusack in the role of the love interest when he looks that cute? I’m all over it in a heartbeat. This movie had it all. <3

2. Tangled

Not only does Tangled boast two of the most amusing animal sidekick types ever, as well as a relatively strong and funny female lead, but it also has the hottest Disney ‘Prince’ (even though he’s not a prince… yet) ever.

Even without Flynn, this movie managed to rekindle my love for what Disney used to stand for– humour that even adults could love mixed in with a child’s film so the whole family could actually enjoy it. It didn’t feel pandering or anything of the like, and though the songs, as always, felt a bit over the top and forced, it still managed to get some of them stuck in my head. Also, Pascal and Maximus win for the best Disney Sidekicks ever– sorry Abu, you tried.

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

There hasn’t been an animated movie in the last ten years that has made itself more rewatchable to me than CLoudy with a Chance of Meatballs. There’s something about it that is both funny and endearing and it somehow makes me feel at home. The humour is intelligent enough for adults to enjoy it, while still being appeasing to children. I have watched it more than a dozen times in the last three years and haven’t gotten bored of it yet. Between the dialogue between Sam and Flint, as well as his father’s crazy eyebrows, and Steve (Neil Patrick Harris, anyone?) being a dork, I can’t believe how anyone could really dislike this film, especially considering it wasn’t even really taking after the book it was ‘based’ on.

I know there are a lot of animated movies out there, and some of you might think I’m insane for this one being my top, but any movie that has a replay value like this one ends up being in my top 5, hands down, and this one took the top gracefully with its ability to be funny even after you know the jokes are coming. Good show, yeah?

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This is as definitive as it gets for bated-breath.net and its animated film choices, and I doubt even if it were anyone but just me that it would change. I have final vote, and this is just… the list, boys and girls. Anything you’d add? Anything you think shouldn’t be up there? Feel free to comment and I’ll try to reply in kind. <3 <3

Top 10 Hottest Actresses.

Let me preface this by saying that hot is subjective, and beyond that, I find substance and intelligence hot, as well as knowing how to carry yourself, so it’s likely that some of these names or faces won’t scream out at people in the way of “I’m a gorgeous little bimbo!” but they should at least speak to people on the level of “She has more than just one thing going for her.”

That being said, bated-breath.net is proud to present its favourite/hottest Actresses!

Monica Bellucci

10. Very few women have managed to capture me in the way that Monica Bellucci has been able to– she manages to be graceful and elegant in any role she’s in, and I particularly liked her in Brotherhood of the Wolf , she was amazing and beautiful and through everything I found myself completely enamored with her.
For some reason it seems like she doesn’t get nearly enough credit as she should– I absolutely adore her and that’s apparent enough by her appearance on my list. Though she may be lacking in current roles, the question here isn’t about her ability to be current, but her ability to be timeless and gorgeous. She has the whole package– poise, intelligence, and style, all wrapped up in beauty. That is why she’s number 10 on my hottest actresses list, and why I feel you should check out more of what she has to offer.
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Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

There are likely to be spoilers in this without perhaps me meaning to, so please read with caution if you have not a) read the book and/or b) seen the movie. Thank you.

All right, we’ve had these types of discussions before, over the Harry Potter films and their inability to properly follow the storyline of the book, and I understand still the idea that your movie is only based on the books, and that you’re allowed to take liberties, but I believe that with this newest installment of the whole ‘Based On’ argument, we’ll find just why I hate liberties.

Honestly, I just recently read the books, at least the ones I had on hand, and so when I heard about the movie I was incredibly happy– that being said, I had a qualm with the books in that they’re the oddest type I have ever read, because they start off strong, and dwindle towards the end so you’re willing to skip a few chapters just to see what happened, but I digress; the books were still quite amazing even in that.

They had that touch of Greek Mythology that you always want to see in books of that type, just hints at the reality of the mythos and peeks into the workings of its government and beasts. Honestly, when I first started watching the film within two minutes a huge red flag went up going, “DANGER, this is not the movie you want to see.” but still, I pressed on with hope.

Poseidon and Zeus’ meeting atop the Empire State Building was more or less just stupid, needless and set the theme for the rest of the movie. Yes, we get it, they think he stole the master bolt, but in the book they had no idea that Percy was that son of Poseidon, nor did Poseidon ‘build a cabin just for him’. Honestly, the entire thing made me want to stab someone in the face, because they took some of the most important points and raped them– it’s harsh, but it’s reality.

Percy’s fight with Annabeth during capture the flag, which was meant to be a fight between him and /someone else entirely/ was completely ridiculous– the fact that it sets a weird tone for his and Annabeth’s relationship is beyond the point when the whole point of that fight was showing that Poseidon was going to claim him– he didn’t know creeping towards the water would ‘heal’ him, he fell in a puddle and Poseidon was basically like “Fine, that’s it. Kick his ass, son.” and then he got claimed.

The LUKE STORYLINE, oh dear god do not even get me started on that as he a) lacked his scar, b) had his own cabin full of technology instead of just, you know, a cabin with a bunch of other kids from camp, his father’s and otherwise, and c) was just utterly ridiculous and unbelievable. They butchered the underlying storyline of how Luke hated the Gods, yes, they pointed that out, but the entire thing was that he was working to try and overthrow the Gods by bringing back Kronos. He’d been corrupted and had decided to help the Titan return to the world and wreak havoc.

Oh, did I mention Kronos isn’t even mentioned? They ruined the plausibility for follow-up stories unless they suddenly introduce Luke again going, “Oh, now I found this titan that I want to help, ‘kay?” No, no that’s not how it works. Annabeth never believed Luke was evil, even after he tried to kill Percy on his return to camp (which also didn’t happen in the damn movie).

Other things of note: They removed the scene where Ares shows up, Clarisse was not in it at all, they did not have the scene where they got Aphrodite’s scarf, the scene with the hotel was completely ridiculous and overdone and not at all as interesting as it was in the book, Percy Jackson looked like a fangirl’s dream of the 16-17 year old pretty boy instead of the 12-13 year old kid he was supposed to be, Annabeth didn’t look any older than him, Annabeth didn’t have her invisibility hat and had ‘never’ seen her mother somehow, Poseidon was the reason for the rule of Gods not being able to have (any) much contact with their children instead of the fact that the original treaty between the three brothers was so overpowered spawn didn’t affect the world as much, and… there’s just so many things they screwed up that I can’t get over it.

I went through this entire thing with the idea that if people had not read the books they’d be fine with the way the movie turned out, but anyone whose even skimmed the books will see some serious discrepancies with the story’s entire flow– that creating the problem that we’ve lost all thread of how the movies are going to go from here, if they even make sequel. You might think that’s a good thing as it’ll create fresh movies for us, something new to experience, but in the end we’ve lost interest in the story as a whole, or at least I have.

So utterly disappointed.

Best Movies I Saw in 2009.

Taking a page from Kathleen’s post in the same nature, I’m going to try to post the top ten movies I saw this year– from her list it doesn’t look like they had to come /out/ this year, but just that I saw them this year, so let’s go from 10 to 1, shall we? Also, honorable mentions for movies I have yet to see but have good hopes for: Inglorious Basterds and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

  • 10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – While I found a lot of it kind of convoluted, and it didn’t have a lot of the Deadpool I’d love to see, it was still rather entertaining with enough plot twists and actions to keep me interested. Plus, comic book nerds unite.
  • 9. Julie & Julia – I realise the movie wasn’t a major accomplishment or anything for anyone, but it was cute, and I enjoyed watching it, and Meryl Streep as Julia Child was just… amazing.
  • 8. Four Christmases – All right, I love me some Reese Witherspoon and I kind of like Vince Vaughn, so it was definitely a movie to drag me in, and it was quite entertaining and funny. Not an amazing achievement but definitely worth a watch.
  • 7. Veronika Decides to Die – While not one of the more well-known movies, or even touted this year very much, when I watched it I fell in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar all over again– she’s an amazing actress, and David Thewlis is convincing as the Doctor who hides behind his patients, but ultimately is trying to make them see. I adored it, nice look inside the mental health epidemic.
  • 6. Dragon Hunters – A really under-appreciated animated movie that has a design and style unlike you’ve seen elsewhere, the characters are compelling and the story is different enough to pull you in, but familiar enough that you feel at home with it– to be fair it smacks of World of Warcraft at times, but in a good way. Definitely worth seeing.
  • 5. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – I seem to watch a lot of animated films, but that’s because they’ve evolved a long way from just stupid humour, as shown best in this film where I don’t think many children would be giggling their heads off, but adults can find subtle humour in little things within. <3
  • 4. Up – Pixar usually hits them out of the park but the mix of humour in this film with the almost making me cry was just overwhelming at times. Besides, Dug was enough to make anyone love this film.
  • 3. Coraline – The adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy/”horror” title was actually rather provoking– I was actually disturbed several times in that way I /like/ to be when I’m experiencing Gaiman genius– definitely great.
  • 2. Zombieland – Mixing humour with shooting the skulls off of zombies has to be one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen– honestly, I wish I had thought of it, but it still stands as one of my favourite movies this year.
  • 1. Marley and Me – All right, you might be going ‘wtf?’ or at least thinking I’m a bit cracked out to have this on the top, but if you’ve ever had dogs die on you and had to take them to be put down, you know exactly why this movie affected me the most, I actually had to pause it and bury my face in my boyfriend’s lap to sob at one point. That’s a movie that evokes feelings.

Now let’s go this one better and point down the biggest let-downs of this year that I saw. Should be interesting. In reverse order again.

  • 4. I Love You, Beth Cooper – Again with the disappointment on the comedy front, even though I very much like Hayden and what she does– just felt kind of meh about the comedy aspect and the general story, it’s been done.
  • 3. Year One – Jack Black usually makes me think of Comedy, and especially when the movie is touted as a comedic endeavour, I expect there to be delivering– I was sadly disappointed when the jokes were ‘funny’, but not enough to make me actually laugh, more like “Oh, that’s kind of funny.” then I move on to the next scene– I think I laughed /once/, then it was over. Mreh.
  • 2. Watchmen – I had such hopes for this movie as well, considering the hype it got, but in the end I was underwhelmed and found the only things in it to be worth the time was the fight scene in the prison hallway, and Rorschach as a hole as a compelling character, but still not enough to save the film.
  • 1. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – the biggest let down of all was the one I was most excited about. I cannot believe what they did to the story and how convoluted the plot got– they left out everything that made the book good and added in stuff that made the movie terrible. Elaborated on more here.

I invite you all to do the same and reflect on the movies– you might agree with me, you might not. <3 Comment with opinions, obviously.

Based on.

Today I think we’re going to discuss something that gets me rather irate, but only lately– movies that are ‘based on’ books. I used to be the first person to defend a movie-makers right to take liberties with a books adaptation to a movie. The first few Harry Potter films, for example, were not wholly true to the book, but still kept enough of it intact that you got the overall feel.

That is now true, however, for the latest in the Harry Potter franchise. Oh no, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince decided that it was high time for them to take everything good about the book, rip it clean, and make up some new story that absolutely makes no sense and doesn’t help set up anything.

I’ve already had issue in the past with the movies and the lack of the House Elf ideals and all that jazz. Hermione may have been insane with her campaign against House Elves being used for manual labour (as they seemed okay with this idea) but it would still be nice to see that set-up with Dobby and Kreacher in the films, as they were pivotal in a bunch of points.

That, I can look past, however– but in the new film, in the new film… (spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the movie coming out on DVD today) they burn down the Weasley’s House, Harry and Ginny’s first kiss happens randomly in the room of requirement and their relationship is never touched up on after that, Harry drinks all the Felix Felicis himself instead of sharing it with his friends for their epic battle, and finally that battle never takes place– we see no development between Fleur and Bill and Bill being attacked by Fenrir, or the relationship between Tonks and Remus developing (instead it’s just thrown in there with a mousy Tonks calling Remus ‘sweetheart’ when he was nowhere near ready for that before the end of the book at all), and all in all… just /destroyed/ everything good about that book to make the movie… I don’t know what they were trying to make it but it just fell flat in every way possible.

The best scene, the best scene by far, was when Dumbledore went all fire on the Inferi, and saving the day– but even his death scene was lackluster, and they absolutely destroyed the beauty of it all by foregoing the funeral scene. We didn’t get to see the centaurs pay their respects, any of the teachers show up to show theirs, or even see Grawp and Hagrid having their bawl fest to show how far his ‘brother’ has come. No, instead we get some half-assed conversation between Harry, Hermione, and Ron where they realised they’re all going to be chasing after the Horcruxes instead of doing school next year. No conversation where Ginny tells Harry just how much he’s the man she thought he was, or no Harry trying to explain why he has to do this– no epic conversation where Harry tries to be the big man on campus only to realise later that his friends are not going to just let him walk. Nope, just a five minute conversation about how sad the death was, a glimpse of Fawkes, and then the end.

I cannot abide by that kind of liberty being taken with a story– I wish I could, but it’s ruined this series for me, at least movie wise. I understand leaving out a few bits in the sake of time and other such, but this was just blatant disregard for the narrative. The story is skewed for me and I’m not sure how the next film will be playing out for me.