Animation April: Gertie the Dinosaur

The first animated film star wasn’t a mouse or a rabbit. It may have seemed like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988) was one of the first times animation and live-action interacted but Roger and his other inked on acetate pals all owe a debt to Gertie the Dinosaur.

Yes, Gertie was a decidedly female animated star, even though she sprang from the imagination of a particularly gifted male artist named Winsor McCay. McCay was largely self-taught though he did do a brief stint as a student at Eastern Michigan University. Ambitious and rebellious of his family’s hopes of him entering the world of business, McCay headed to Chicago to try to support himself in his own way. Continue reading Animation April: Gertie the Dinosaur

Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

Merida from Pixar’s “Brave” (2012) is perhaps one of Disney’s most overlooked princess. Which is strange considering she’s one of the best role models and her existence is one of the biggest milestone achievements of the whole group. “Brave” is set in the Scottish Highlands and follows a young princess who would rather practice her archery than listen to her mother’s lessons. She defies their customs and refuses a betrothal, leading her to make a deal with a witch to change her mother. But when her mother is actually changed into a bear, she sets about reversing the spell and fixing their strained relationship. Merida is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, while Queen Elinor is voiced by Emma Thompson. Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

Animated April: Spotlight on Lotte Reiniger

Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger was a German film director and the foremost pioneer of silhouette animation. Perhaps her most famous film is “The Adventures of Prince Achmed”  (1926) which is considered to be the oldest surviving animated feature film. “Prince Achmed” features a silhouette animation technique that Reiniger had invented which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera. She went on to film over 40 films using this technique and her work went on to influence many filmmakers. Reiniger led an extraordinary life, even escaping the Nazi party in 1935 before having to return to Germany in 1944 and being forced to make propanganda films. Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Lotte Reiniger

Animated April: Spotlight on Bianca Majolie

Upon doing research for ITOL’s Animated April, a month dedicated to women in animation and female representation in animated films, I came across a name that I had never heard before: Bianca Majolie. As a fellow Bianca, I decided to research into this woman whose work with Walt Disney in the 1930s has pretty much been forgotten about by the history books. At a time where many women were working in the Ink and Paint Department, Majolie was the first woman hired for the Walt Disney story department and helped developed story ideas for some of Disney’s most beloved classic animated films such as “Peter Pan”, “Bambi” and “Cinderella”. Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Bianca Majolie

Animated April: Mary Blair- Colours and Emotions

Walt Disney Animation Studios has dominated the animation industry and set standards, expectations, and provided joy for audiences for almost a century. An industry mostly controlled by men was shook up by an extremely influential woman, who would eventually become a legend in the animation world. Her name was Mary Blair. Mary Blair started as a watercolour artist before she became one of the most influential colourists and stylists of all time. Continue reading Animated April: Mary Blair- Colours and Emotions

Review: Onward

Pixar’s latest offering, “Onward,” is more than just your normal magical animated film; it’s a touching tale of brotherly love that deals with grief, learning to believe in yourself, and the awkwardness of your teenage years. Directed by Dan Scanlon, who previously worked on “Monsters University” (2013) for the studio, the movie feels both cleverly unique and markedly Pixar. 

“Onward” is the story of brothers Ian and Barley, elves who live in a world in which modern technology has replaced magic long ago. It resembles our normal world, but populated by magical creatures from sprites to cyclops. While older brother Barley is obsessed with the magical past and the game Quests of Yore, Ian is just trying to celebrate his 16th birthday and not make a fool of himself in front of his classmates. When a special birthday gift offers Ian the chance to meet the father who passed away while he was still a baby, the two must go on a real quest of their own.  Continue reading Review: Onward

Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” As Lessons About Growth and Significance of Hard Work

With the beginning of February, Netflix in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America began to offer Ghibli Studio films in its repertoire. This announcement generated great joy and inspired fans to refresh those classics. Hayao Miyazaki tends to, more often than not, select a female protagonist as a lead and a hero of his films. Coming-of-age stories about young women in a world of fantasy and magic are a great manifesto to learn from, perfect for the young female audience. Two films that are personally very dear to me are “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Spirited Away.” Continue reading Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” As Lessons About Growth and Significance of Hard Work

Harley Quinn Is The Animated Comedy Bloodbath You NEED To Be Watching

Hey you! Yes, you! Are you looking for a new binge watch filled with incredible adult humor spewing from instantly likeable characters? Or a blood-splattering good time that stems from gore-fueled animation? Or an empowering, bonkers, and female-driven storyline with plenty of wild moments that will continuously keep you hooked. Are you maybe even interested in seeing some of your favorite DC character in a comical new way? Well, then I have a show that you simply cannot miss – especially if you’re a DC fan.

All carnival sideshow slang aside, there’s hasn’t been a show that’s become my absolute obsession like DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn”. Premiering towards the end of last year, the animated series has set new standards for what DC can offer and presented through fun animation and incredible humor that isn’t like anything DC’s done before. Continue reading Harley Quinn Is The Animated Comedy Bloodbath You NEED To Be Watching

Review: Klaus

Chances are you’ve got a few Christmas classics that you like to watch every year. Maybe you enjoy crime-capers like “Lethal Weapon”, “Die Hard”, or “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. You might prefer holiday horrors with “Gremlins”, “Anna And The Apocalypse” or “Love Actually”. Or perhaps you go with family-fare such as “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, “Elf” or “Home Alone”. With Spanish animation “Klaus”, Netflix has released an instant festive classic for all the family, albeit with a lot of dark humour… Continue reading Review: Klaus

Review: Moomins and the Winter Wonderland

Millions of people grew up watching the Moomins; the Finnish forest creatures that look a bit like hippos and their various trollish friends. This film sees the Moomin family in the heart of winter preparing for Christmas, something they’ve never experienced before.

This film might rekindle the childhood of the adults watching bit they may have a bit of explaining on their hands if they want the children to stick it out for the full run time. As inventive and charming as the stop motion animation might be, it wasn’t quite enough to sustain the rather choppy story. Continue reading Review: Moomins and the Winter Wonderland