Animation Marathon

My favorite podcast, Filmspotting (formerly known as Cinecast), has a great format. They review a recently released movie every week, but they also review an older film that they have, for one reason or another, neglected. The usually choose a theme for these older movies and watch a bunch of them in a row. As such, they refer to them as Marathons, and it makes for some interesting listening, even when you aren't watching along. They've done one for Westerns, Horror, Hitchcock, Screwball Comedy, and many others. Their next marathon (scheduled to start in a few weeks) is for Animation. This is the first one I plan to play along with, in part because I like animated movies and also because I have netflix now and can easily follow along with minimal effort.

They've chosen an interesting list, though I have some reservations. Here's the list: As you can see, the list is dominated by Anime movies, and they haven't yet decided which Miyazaki film they will include. In fact, they're running a poll on their site with the three choices: Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away (Spirited Away appears to be running away with it, garnering nearly 58% of the vote so far). Personally, I think they should do a Miyazaki marathon, as I've only seen a few, but they're great (and why can't we vote for My Neighbor Totoro? I ended up voting for Howl's Moving Castle because that's the only one I haven't seen.)

As I say, it's an interesting list, but I have some reservations. I've seen 4 of the 6 films (assuming Spirited Away is chosen), so this is perhaps not the best one for me to play along with. I am intrigued by Grave of the Fireflies though, and I could certainly revisit Akira (which I saw many moons ago, and don't remember all that much about it except that it was confusing). From what I've seen of these, I think that while they may have chosen films that illustrate the evolution of Animation, I don't know that they've chosen the most enjoyable of the bunch. Akira seems to be an important film for the genre, but it's not especially a walk in the park, for example. The only one I'd say is truly great is Spirited Away. I probably would have also recommended the Cowboy Bebop Movie, which is a very good all around experience. The other thing that might seem a little strange is that Anime seems to be a genre dominated more by series than by movies... but then I could see why these guys don't want to spend 4.5 hours a week watching these series (I don't know how they managed to do as much as they do).

In any case, I plan to play along, so expect some entries in a few weeks discussing the films above.

Update: The Miyazaki film will be Spirited Away. Also added links to my reviews of the films I've watched so far.