Bucking the trend of "seeing the thing you are writing about", James Moran walks around HMV and draws his own conclusions. These are the reviews The Powers That Be (informed, paid reviewers) don't want you to see/don't even know about. This week, if you're looking for a Christmas gift DVD special look no further. Well, actually, look further down this page.
The more Hollywood relies on remakes and pours money into superhero franchises that are safer bets at the box office, the more people will turn up to watch these beautifully drawn animated worlds brought to life. As long as Studio Ghibli and Pixar are open for business, it will be worth our effort and money every time.
There are no greater magicians in the modern age than the storytellers of Pixar, but they should not carry it alone. No-one at Pixar would claim that digital animation is the only way. They all fell in love with hand-drawn and stop motion work as children, and those mediums deserve their place still. They too can delight the child.
The formula for Disney used to be so simple: take one porn-star proportioned, doe-eyed virgin on the brink of adulthood, screw on a magical affliction, support on brackets of dysfunctional and/or single parent family, furnish with evil hags and dashing Princes heavy on bravery and light on personality, decorate with singing balls of fluff. It was like the IKEA of children's films: bright, simple, and formulaic. But feminism and animation went and ruined it all- society grew tired of damsels in distress- the 50s housewife that Disney princesses were undoubtedly modelled on seemed ridiculously outdated, insulting even. Disney's unruly child, Pixar, introduced the world to boys toys and morals for a modern audience in Toy Story, out-stripping it's parent so quickly that less than 20 years on, it's practically gobbled all of Disney up.
In 2006 something happened that no one could have conceived of - Pixar produced it's first bad picture. Cars still performed at the box office but it lacked the warmth and exemplary story telling that the studio was famous for and was expected to produce. It seems strange, then, for a studio which has for the best part resisted sequels to make one that no one asked for.