Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Salt: Delivers exactly what you would expect

Salt (action, crime, mystery)
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor

Sony Pictures | 2010 | 101 min | Unrated | Released Dec 21, 2010

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc

The Film 4/5

Salt is full of action and includes an air of mystery. The opening scene takes us back two years and we see Evelyn Salt (Jolie) interrogated in North Korea. She’s in pretty bad shape after being beaten, but refuses to talk, even when a tube is forced down her throat and gasoline is poured in. She’s eventually released as part of a prisoner exchange and returns to work as a CIA agent. This all happens at the start of the movie and sets up what is to come.

The final thing I’m going to reveal is an encounter with a Russian defector. She’s selected to interview him and discovers that there’s a plan underway to substitute certain Americans with Russians. They become sleepers who will eventually act on behalf of Russia. He informs any agents who might be listening that Evelyn Salt is the name of one such agent.

Salt has a decision to make. Which of her colleagues can she trust? Should she stay and answer the accusations? Would it be better to run and try to prevent other sleeper agents from fulfilling their purpose? She decides to run and most of her colleagues see it as an admission of guilt. We’re placed in her position and it’s one with no obvious solutions. It has the same feel as the Bourne movies, with confusion surrounding her identity.

The CIA isn’t happy that she evaded capture and sends agents to bring her back. This results in a huge chase scene in which Salt makes some unlikely decisions. If you’re a fan of action movies, this is where the story really takes off. The first chase scene happens on a highway and sees Salt making improbable leaps between moving vehicles to evade capture.

Jolie looks capable of making some of the jumps, and we see her continually revise her plan as she flees her pursuers. The story keeps us guessing about the level of her involvement and we can’t be sure what her motivations are. She’s resourceful and uses her intelligence in order to predict the moves of her pursuers and discover the motivations of the Russian group.

If you enjoy movies such as Taken, Wanted, Bourne or Die Hard, this is your kind of story. The first adrenalin rush comes early and we rarely have time to breathe. There is a plot, although it’s secondary to the action. This is a movie that entertains because of its pacing and spectacular chase scenes. There’s not a great deal of thought required, but you will see that everything makes some kind of sense if you think about what you have just seen. Well, it makes as much sense as the average James Bond movie.

If you want to see Jolie running around, climbing, jumping and engaging in hand-to-hand combat, grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride. The loose ends are tied up neatly and the conclusion is satisfying. The acting is convincing, although Jolie never has to show the range of emotion that she achieved in Changeling. Schreiber and Ejiofor are always good and both play their roles well.

Video Quality 5/5
It’s hard to fault the look of the movie. Colors appear natural and detail is strong. There’s a fine layer of grain and the picture has considerable pop. I felt like I was in the middle of the action. Sony has delivered another great transfer.

Audio Quality 5/5
There’s a lot happening on the screen and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track handles everything that’s thrown at it. Chase scenes sound incredible, while scenes involving explosions and gunfire have the appropriate impact. Dialogue doesn’t suffer either, and the surrounds are active throughout the duration of the movie. The score adds to the action scenes and completes the experience. You won’t have any complaints about the presentation.

Special Features 4.5/5

The additional features all appear in full HD.

Spy Cam: Picture-in-Picture – The movie includes three cuts and this feature is only available on the theatrical version.

Filmmakers’ Commentary

The Ultimate Female Action Hero (8:05) – Showing some of the stunts that Jolie performed.

The Real Agents (12:33) – Former spies talk about their experiences.

Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt (5:26) – A look at the various appearances Jolie used in the movie.

The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Phillip Noyce (9:15) – Noyce explains why he has good insight into the life of a spy, and describes how he tries to capture the attention of the audience.

Salt: Declassified (29:47) – A thorough “making of” feature that goes into more depth about some of the things covered in the other features.

“The Treatment” Radio Interview with Phillip Noyce (27:12) – Elvis Mitchell interviews Noyce.



Salt is a well-crafted spy movie that’s heavy on the action, although there are a couple of twists in there too. Jolie looks the part and is convincing in her role and the supporting cast does a great job. If you want to be thrilled for 100 minutes without having to think too much, this will get the job done. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent and the special features contain a wealth of additional information if you’re curious.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Upcoming Blu-ray releases: July 4-9

US Blu-ray releases

July 4

Gettysburg / Gods and Generals Limited Collector's Edition 

July 5 

13 Assassins
Arakawa Under the Bridge
Be Cool
Bloodrayne: The Third Reich
Crack in the World
The Cutting Edge (Target Exclusive)
Das Boot
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
A Fish Called Wanda (Walmart Exclusive)
Florida’s State Parks
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter
Grand Canyon Serenade
Greece: Secrets of the Past
A Guy Thing
Hannie Caulder
Hobo with a Shotgun
Honeymoon in Vegas
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Walmart Exclusive)
Katanagatari: Volume 1 Premium Edition
K-On! Vol. 2
Legally Blonde (Walmart Exclusive)
Master Harold and the Boys
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie - A Wakening of the Trailblazer
Of Gods and Men
The Sacrifice
Throw Momma from the Train (Walmart Exclusive)
Wedding Daze
When Harry Met Sally (Walmart Exclusive)

Canadian Blu-ray releases

July 5

Ancient Warriors (delayed from June 7)
Asylum of the Damned (delayed from June 7)
Be Cool
Beyond Recognition (delayed from June 7)
Chicago Cubs: The Heart & Soul of Chicago
The Company Men (delayed from June 5)
The Cutting Edge
Das Boot (delayed from June 7)
Devolved (delayed from June 21)
Essential Killing
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Greece: Secrets of the Past
A Guy Thing
Hobo with a Shotgun
Honeymoon in Vegas
Master Harold and the Boys
Meet Market (delayed from June 7)
Of Gods and Men
The Sacrifice
The Warrior’s Way
Wedding Daze

July 7

Happy Gilmore
Vera Cruz
WWE Extreme Rules 2011

UK Blu-ray releases 

July 4

The Adjustment Bureau
The Adjustment Bureau Limited Edition Steelbook
Barb Wire
B.B. King Live
Beneath The Dark
BKO: Bangkok Knockout
Born on the Fourth of July
Don’t Look Now
Drive Angry 3D
Hall Pass
Henry of Navarre
In Bruges
Julia Bradbury’s Canal Walks
The Mercenary
Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai
Nim’s Island
Norwegian Wood
The Pack
Primeval: Series 5
Puccini: Turandot
The Resident
The Round Up
The Shadow Line
A Simple Wish
Stargate Universe: Season Two
Tales Out of School – Four Films by David Leland
The Task
Uncle Buck
WWE WrestleMania XXVII

July 8

Whisky Galore

Australian Blu-ray releases

July 6

The Adjustment Bureau
Blue Crush
Blue Crush 2
Deep Blue Sea
Green Street Hooligans
Green Street Hooligans 2
I Am Number Four
Lip Service
Locked Down

July 7


French Blu-ray releases

July 5

Age of Dragons
Along Came Polly
Barb Wire
Blues Brothers 2000
Born on the Fourth of July
Cigala et tango
Cold Prey III
The Doors
The Final
Fire Girls
Oceans 3D: Into the Deep
Serial Killer Clown: Ce Cher Monsieur Gacy
Shaun of the Dead
Toi, moi, Les autres
Une Pure Affaire
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season

July 6

Arctic Blast
Gulliver’s Travels
Gulliver’s Travels 3D
Largo Winch 2: The Burma Conspiracy
Largo Winch 2: The Burma Conspiracy (Limited Edition Metal Case)
Largo Winch / Largo Winch 2
Largo Winch / Largo Winch 2 (Limited Edition)
New York, New York
Sous les fleurs de la forêt de cerisiers
Winter’s Bone
Women in Trouble

July 9

La Ligne Droite

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mother and Child: Great drama - boring title.

Mother and Child (drama)
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
Starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson

Sony Pictures | 2009 | 127 min | Rated R | Released Dec 14, 2010

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English, English SDH

Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc

The Film 4.5/5

In the special features, director Rodrigo Garcia describes Mother and Child as “a drama for grown-ups” and he’s exactly right. The film is aimed at people who enjoy emotional drama, and examining the connections between people. While I was watching, I found myself comparing the structure of the story to 21 Grams and Babel, only to find that the director of those films, Alejandro González Iñárritu, was listed as an executive producer.

The film follows three story arcs and ultimately brings them together.

The most interesting character is Karen (Bening) who had a baby girl when she was 14 and gave her up for adoption. We see how she cares for her own mother and puts her life on hold because of her. But on some level, she wonders what happened to her own child. She mentions in the opening minutes of the film that her daughter’s 37th birthday is coming up.

We then see Elizabeth (Watts) applying for a job as a lawyer. She mentions that she was adopted and that her mother had her when she was 14. Her potential employer, Paul (Jackson), is impressed by her honesty and credentials and she gets the job.

A third woman, Lucy (Washington), is unable to have children of her own and is desperate to adopt. We see her and her husband interviewed by a nun to see whether they are a suitable couple.

The story shows how Karen and Elizabeth have been affected by never knowing each other:

Karen devotes her life to looking after her mother and working as a geriatric nurse. She has never been married. Her maid has a little girl and Karen resents having her show up at her house. It seems that she has distanced herself from children and resents people who have children in their lives. Her own loss was an event that she has never recovered from. She’s abrupt and sometimes rude to people and ensures that she never gets close enough to men to develop any romantic feelings. Everything she does is designed to protect herself from any potential pain in the future.

Elizabeth is fiercely independent. She seduces Paul and is the dominant partner when they have sex. She’s also happy to pursue married men and makes a move on one of her neighbors. As we learn more about her, it becomes clear how she’s been affected by never knowing her mother. I won’t reveal those details because it would ruin the story. She regularly moves around from one place to another and seems unwilling to be tied down. Although she has a lot of ambitious goals, they have to be achieved on her terms. She’s not a very nice person, but maybe it’s not completely her fault.

Lucy is willing to do almost anything to become a parent. She meets a young girl who wants to audition her to decide whether she’s a suitable foster parent for the child she plans to give up for adoption. Some of the questions disturb her, but she answers them honestly. Her husband doesn’t appear to be as enthusiastic about the process, but Lucy persists.

That’s the setup. I can’t give away anything else without ruining some of the surprises. All three women experience events which change them. Karen undergoes the biggest change and grows as a person throughout the story. 

I made a point of seeing the 10 Best Picture nominations last year and enjoyed them all, but I would rank Mother and Child above five of them. The acting is strong across the board and I’m a little surprised that Bening wasn’t nominated for this role rather than for her role in The Kids Are All Right. Mother and Child wouldn’t work without her performance. We see her accepting her situation, reacting when an event changes it, and ultimately transforming herself into a different person. She shows a vast range of emotions and, although I greatly admire American Beauty, this might be her strongest performance to date.

Watts, Washington, Jackson and Jimmy Smits also turn in good performances and I believed in everything they did. Those that I haven’t mentioned were great too.

I didn’t hear a word about the film during its limited theatrical run. The marketing just didn’t exist as far as I saw. I understand the reasoning and know that the audience for an emotional drama is small and growing smaller every year, but it pains me to see films like Mother and Child ignored. Will they eventually cease to be made so that we can have more sequels? Probably so. But I’ll try to do my part and highlight those worthy of attention.

Video Quality 4.5/5
Mother and Child was shot digitally, but it doesn’t detract from the overall look. Detail is strong and I didn’t detect any flaws. There are a few releases with better picture quality, but this is right up there and you won’t have any complaints.

Audio Quality 4/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does exactly what it is supposed to do. It’s a quiet story, driven by dialogue, but everything sounds clear. The ambient sounds add to the experience, but don’t expect your speakers to receive much of a workout. It’s just not that kind of movie.

Special Features 2.5/5

All of the additional content is presented in full HD.

Deleted Scenes (3:43) – Three short scenes that didn’t make it into the film.

Creating the Family Tree (13:39) – Director Rodrigo Garcia talks with some of the cast and crew and explains how the film came to be made.

Universally Connected (15:37) – An extension of the previous feature, but going into greater depth.

Trailer (2:10)



Mother and Child was one of the best dramas released in 2010. Anchored by a stellar performance from Bening, none of the acting disappoints. The title sounds boring and hardly anyone bothered seeing it, but fans of emotional drama shouldn’t miss this one. There are quite a few surprises and deeper connections between some of the characters that I didn't mention for fear of spoiling the film. If action is your thing, give this a miss.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ratatouille: The friendliest rat you'll ever meet

Ratatouille (animation, comedy, family)
Directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava
Starring the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm and Janeane Garofalo

Disney / Buena Vista | 2007 | 111 min | Rated G | Released Nov 06, 2007

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: LPCM 5.1
English, French, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English SDH, French, Spanish

Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc

The Film 5/5

Remy (Oswalt) is a young rat with an enhanced sense of taste and smell. When he saves his dad from eating food laced with poison, he’s given a job as food tester for the whole colony. Remy quickly becomes bored with the job and dreams of better things. After seeing a TV cooking show, he decides that he would like to be a chef. Unfortunately, he’s almost killed by the TVs owner and the entire colony is discovered and forced to leave her house.

Remy is separated from his family and talks to an illustration of Gusteau, the TV chef, because he’s alone and there’s nobody else to talk to. When he discovers Gusteau’s restaurant, he finds that he knows the function of every member of the staff. Remy gets into trouble when entering the kitchen, but he adds ingredients to the soup and the customers love it. He’s discovered when trying to leave and Linguini (Romano), the kitchen boy, is told to kill him. But the worried look on Remy’s face stops Linguini in his tracks and he realizes that Remy fixed the soup. The two decide to work together.

Although Remy can be understood by other rats, that’s not the case with humans. Instead, he uses gestures to communicate and is very expressive. His tiny shrugs and nods are easy to understand. Quite by accident, Remy discovers that he can control Linguini by pulling at strands of his hair. The two practice at home and come up with a plan to do the same at the restaurant. He hides under Linguini’s hat and continues to prepare food by controlling him.

The story is well thought out and quite complex in places for an animated film. The 111-minute running time is necessary to show everything in detail. The streets of Paris look real and it’s clear that the Pixar team researched the setting thoroughly.

Linguini is trained by Colette (Garofalo) and starts to develop feelings for her, but it’s Remy’s skill that wins the approval of the restaurant’s customers. Linguini is deeply resented by the head chef (Holm), who knows that Linguini is Gusteau’s son and the restaurant’s rightful owner. The problem is, Linguini doesn’t know that.

The film is full of peril, chase scenes and humor, and has a little action. The characters are well developed and Remy is easy to like. It’s challenging to make a rat appear friendly and lovable, but Pixar somehow pulls it off. Remy is always happy and smiling and chooses to walk upright on two feet. I think that was done to make him appear more like a human and less like a rat. He’s also very particular about cleanliness and washes his paws before preparing any food.

The restaurant eventually captures the attention of food critics and is visited by Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole), who is the most famous critic of them all. He’s hard to impress and had written off Gusteau’s as insignificant years ago, but decides to see why it’s become relevant again. One of my favorite scenes happens in the restaurant when Ego takes his first bite of food, but I’ll let you discover what happens for yourself.

The film has a lot of important messages. It shows us that it’s wrong to steal and that family is important. But most of all, it’s about following your dreams. Remy is a rat. How can he possibly become a chef? Even if he did, how could he succeed? I imagine that children watching the film could be inspired by Remy’s achievements. Maybe a few will grow up wanting to be chefs, and they are rarely out of work.

I can’t watch the film without thinking about Hans Landa’s speech in Inglourious Basterds where he asks Perrier LaPadite what his reaction would be if a rat entered his home. How would that differ if a squirrel were to enter? It’s true that humans often have a problem with rats, and many of us actually fear them. It’s quite an achievement to invent a rat that we like and root for as he attempts to live out his dream. 

All of Pixar’s movies are worth owning, but Ratatouille just edges out Up as my favorite. If they ever decide to do another sequel, I hope that we get another story about Remy. It’s aimed at older audiences more than the likes of Cars and A Bug’s Life, but children will still be able to enjoy it.

Well done, Pixar.

Video Quality 5/5
Ratatouille looks fantastic on Blu-ray. You can see the individual hairs in Remy’s fur and the way it beads when he gets wet. The colors are striking and the sheer amount of detail in background scenes tells you all you need to know. This is a reference quality presentation that's ideal for showing off your home theater.

Audio Quality 5/5
The lossless LPCM 5.1 track is full of subtle detail and delivers well during all of the louder scenes. Although there’s very little traditional action, your system will receive a full workout during chase scenes and when Remy is trying to avoid being captured. The sound has good depth and you’ll hear the surrounds highlight quieter effects such as vegetables being chopped or background conversation in the restaurant. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and there’s really nothing that falls short of perfection.

Special Features 3.5/5

Lifted (5:02, HD) – One of my favorite short films from Pixar.

Your Friend the Rat (11:16, HD) – Remy and Emil talk about the history of rats in an amusing way.

Gusteau’s Gourmet Game – Control Linguini and help him meet incoming orders.

Fine Food and Film (13:54, HD) – Director Brad Bird and chef Thomas Keller talk about some of their ideas for the film.

Animation Briefings

Documentary Shorts

Deleted Scenes (15:06) – Three scenes that were removed before they were finished.

Deleted Shots R.I.P. (3:12)

The Will (2:48) – With composer Michael Giacchino, featuring an alternate score for one of the scenes.

Remembering Dan Lee (3:00)

There are also five Easter eggs. Press the left button on your control while in the main menu. It works for the top or bottom item.

Ro-Dead Commercial (0:12, HD)

Yes! Shots (1:06)

How to Pronounce Ratatouille (0:55)

L’ecole Culinaire D’Pixar (1:02)

Producer Plays Trombone (0:50)

Pixar has produced some wonderful films and all are worth owning. The Blu-ray presentations are all just about perfect and Ratatouille is no exception. The film has heart and warmth and is a fun place to visit. It doesn’t have the constant action of some titles, but the story is gripping throughout. Adults will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of the story, although very small children may lose interest. That would be a shame, because I rank it as Pixar’s best, and that’s saying a lot.

Click here to find out where Ratatouille ranks among my Top 20 animated films. 

Return to index of every review on the site.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Top 20 animated movies: Part 4, #1-5

My Top 20 animated films (continued)

I would just like to mention that Grave of the Fireflies was included in my Top 20 dramas and has therefore been omitted from this list. It would have placed second.

Here are my Top 5 animated films:

5. Ratatouille (2007)
Directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava
Starring the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm and Janeane Garofalo

If you have read my other three articles in this series, you’ll know I love Pixar. The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Cars, Wall-E and the Toy Story trilogy narrowly missed making my Top 20, but all are worth owning. Ratatouille is my favorite entry from the studio and I would love to see a sequel one day. Remy (Oswalt) is a rat, gifted with an enhanced sense of taste and smell. He can tell the other rats what’s safe to eat, but aspires to be something more. After seeing a cooking show on TV, he discovers that he would like to cook. He seems naturally gifted and teams up with Linguini (Romano), who works as a kitchen boy in a Parisian restaurant. Linguini has no talent as a chef, but Remy finds that he can control him by tugging strands of hair while hiding under his toque. His food is popular with the customers, but he has to find a way to realize his ambitions. His journey is a lot of fun. Remy communicates almost entirely through body language when he’s with humans and his little gestures convey a lot of feeling. He’s such a happy little guy that it’s difficult to dislike him.

At 111-minutes, Ratatouille might not hold the attention of young children, but there’s no questionable content. It’s informative and charming, but lacks the constant action associated with most animation. The Blu-ray presentation is among the best you’ll find.

Click here for my full review.

4. Ponyo (2008)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, Liam Neeson and Tina Fey

My love for Miyazaki’s films started three years ago when I bought Ponyo on Blu-ray. After seeing his charming view of the world, I sought out every other title I could find from Studio Ghibli. Ponyo (Cyrus) is a little fish with the face of a girl and she escapes her underwater home and encounters Sosuke (Jonas). He rescues her when she becomes trapped in a discarded bottle and takes her home in a bucket. After licking blood from a cut on his finger, she starts to take on human form and the two become friends. Sosuke’s mother, Lisa (Fey), accepts the situation and knows that Ponyo is magical. Ponyo’s father (Neeson) looks for her because her presence in the human world is causing nature to be out of balance. The story is delightful and I love watching the two children grow closer. Ponyo loves ham and is capable of performing magic, while Sosuke accepts her for exactly what she is. Like other Miyazaki films, it’s a good place to visit. People respect each other and there are no villains. The weather and the balance of nature are the two biggest situations to overcome, and the whole story is a lot of fun. The animation is beautiful, especially during the opening scene in Ponyo’s home under the sea.

The Disney Blu-ray is an ideal way to experience this colorful world. Some might argue that Ponyo is aimed at young children, but I would say that the whole family should enjoy it. I don’t find it childish at all.

3. Spirited Away (2001)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette and David Ogden Stiers

Spirited Away won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The story starts simply enough when Chihiro (Chase), a 10-year-old girl, discovers an old amusement park with her parents. Although deserted, the stalls contain hot food. When the parents start to eat, they turn into pigs. She encounters Haku (Marsden), a boy who lives in the town, and he explains that she can only stay if she finds work. Chihiro begins the story as a whiny brat who complains about everything, but learning to work and taking responsibility for saving her parents changes her. She begins a long quest and we encounter all kinds of strange beings along the way. It’s probably the most complex of Miyazaki’s worlds and needs the full 124-minute running time to show us everything in sufficient detail. Chihiro helps Haku discover his true identity along the way and meets an interesting multi-limbed character named Kamaji (Stiers), who runs a boiler room and is happy to help her.

Some of the scenes are a little scarier than those in films such as Ponyo or My Neighbor Totoro, but it's still suitable for the whole family. There’s no Blu-ray release as yet, so you’ll have to pick up the DVD or wait a while if you want to own it.

2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman

The film was originally released in the US as Warriors of the Wind, but the extensive cuts lost the essence of the story and ruined it. The post-apocalyptic setting is epic in scope. Humans have polluted the Earth to such a degree that all that’s left are deserts, and jungles filled with poisonous plants. The people have to wear breathing masks to avoid the toxic air. Princess Nausicaä is a teenage girl with a good heart. She’s in tune with nature and the creatures inhabiting her strange world, and appreciates her surroundings. Her first instinct is to trust people and she believes that there’s good to be found in everyone. This vast journey shows us an unusual world filled with threats both real and perceived. Nausicaä has a few secrets and hopes to transform her damaged world. The ignorance of some of the people she encounters threatens the safety of all humans and everything she’s trying to achieve.

This is one of Miyazaki’s most adult-orientated films, but I wouldn’t stop young children from seeing it. The Disney Blu-ray is a big improvement over the DVD and I would recommend it to anyone.

1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly and Pat Carroll

To be honest, I’m not sure whether Totoro is Miyazaki’s best film. It’s like trying to decide which of your children you prefer over the others. All of his films make me smile and I’m always moved when I watch any of them. Miyazaki sees things that most of us take for granted and manages to capture it in simple animation. The reason I have put Totoro above his other films (today at least) is the relationship between sisters Satsuki (Dakota Fanning) and Mei (Elle Fanning). Satsuki looks out for Mei, while Mei mimics her sister and obviously loves her. When the girls and their father move into a new house, I love seeing the determination on Mei’s face as she curiously explores her surroundings. For around 30 minutes, we focus on those charming scenes. Then, one day, Mei goes exploring on her own and meets a huge Totoro, who is a magical creature living in the nearby woods. He’s not threatening in any way so Mei goes to sleep on his belly. The two girls befriend the creature, who can only be seen if he wants to be seen. The world is a wonderful place, free of danger.

Young children will probably love My Neighbor Totoro, but adults should see something in it too. It’s beautiful and full of innocence, and shows us what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of a child. A Blu-ray release could come within a year or so, but it’s only available on DVD at present.

Click here for my full review.

If you have read the entire list, you’ll see that Hayao Miyazaki features prominently. Seven of the films he directed made my Top 20, and he wrote the screenplay for one of the others. If you haven’t checked out his films because they are Japanese, please consider giving one a try. All are dubbed into English and feature actors that you’ll be familiar with. I can’t promise you’ll love them as much as I do, but the potential reward is worth the time investment.

Did I include your favorites on my list? Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or post your own favorites.

Click here to see #16-20 on my list.

Click here to see #11-15 on my list.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Top 20 animated movies: Part 3, #6-10

My Top 20 animated movies (continued)

You've seen the bottom 10 in my list of favorite animated movies. I love them all and it's difficult to place one above another, but the Top 10 do have something extra in my opinion.

Let's continue with the next five:

10. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich
Starring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Mary Gibbs

Monsters, Inc. produces power for the city of Monstropolis by scaring kids and storing the energy produced in their screams. The two principals are Sulley (Goodman) and Mike (Crystal). Sulley is a giant furry beast with purple and blue fur and regularly tops the company standings as chief scarer. Mike is small, green and has one huge eye, and is Sulley’s assistant. They have doors with direct access to children’s bedrooms in the real world and get to work each night. Things are complicated by Randall Boggs (Buscemi), who is trying to cheat his way to the top of the standings. Direct physical contact with a human child is thought to be dangerous and possibly lethal, so a team stands by to sanitize any infected monsters. When Sulley inadvertently brings a little girl called Boo (Gibbs) to Monstropolis, he finds out the truth about human contact. With the help of Mike, Sulley tries to hide the little girl until they can get her home. The reason I love Monsters, Inc. so much is its heart. It’s a cute world and Boo is adorable. There’s a lot of clever humor throughout the movie and it lives up to Pixar’s high standards.

There’s nothing in the film that would scare children, so it’s a perfect family film. The Blu-ray presentation is strong in all areas. I could watch this film every few weeks and never get tired of it.

9. Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Directed by Steve Box and Nick Park
Starring the voices of Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes

Here’s another claymation movie. It was good enough to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, and it deserved the award. There were three short films in the series before this feature; all are funny and worth owning, but none match the quality of Were-Rabbit. For those new to the characters, Wallace (Sallis) is an inventor living in Northern England and Gromit is his faithful dog. The two run a service to protect people’s vegetables from the jaws of unwanted rabbits. They have a warning system similar to the one used in Thunderbirds and Wallace’s inventions are used to capture and store the rabbits. Gromit doesn’t speak, but says so much with his body language. He’s the source of most of the humor. There are jokes in almost every frame; both visual and verbal. The pair is hired by Lady Tottington (Bonham-Carter), who fears that her grounds are being overrun by rabbits. The expressions on the faces of the model rabbits are hilarious.

There’s no Blu-ray release as yet, but the first three shorts and a later fourth installment can be found on Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection Blu-ray. It isn’t actually complete because it’s missing this film, but it’s a must-own. Wallace & Gromit is funny, innocent and suitable for the whole family.

8. Bolt (2008)
Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams
Starring the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Mark Walton and Susie Essman

Are you fan of Pixar titles? If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Pixar created Bolt. It looks and feels similar and has so much heart. Bolt (Travolta) is a dog who stars in a TV show in which he has superpowers. That would make a good movie in its own right, but it gets even better. Bolt escapes from the film studio by accident and is separated from Penny (Cyrus), his owner. He listens to the advice of a group of pigeons and enlists the help of a cat named Mittens (Essman), who claims she knows how he can get home. They eventually run into a hamster, Rhino (Walton), who thinks that Bolt has real powers. They make their way across America in search of the film studio and Penny. Bolt keeps me laughing. It mixes slapstick humor with clever comments and astute observations. Watch how Mittens teaches Bolt to act like a real dog and you’ll see what I mean.

The movie is a good choice for the whole family and the Blu-ray presentation is flawless. The picture quality is perfect throughout and check out the sound during the sequences in which Bolt starts in the TV show.

7. Up (2009)
Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Starring the voices of Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai and Bob Peterson

Up is Pixar’s most adult-oriented release thus far, but it still contains enough fun and action to hold the attention of any child. There’s a silent montage near the start of the movie which tells the story of Ellie, who is the wife of balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen (Asner). The sequence takes us through their initial meeting as children and ends with Ellie’s death as an old woman. You’ll almost certainly cry or at least have to hold back tears. Carl and Ellie always planned to visit South America, but never got around to it. Carl decides to make the trip on his own by attaching balloons to his house so that it will fly. He finds Russell (Nagai) – a boy scout trapped on his porch – and the two make the trip together. They are joined by a weird bird and Dug (Peterson), who is a dog with the ability to talk using a device on his collar. The movie is very colorful and is full of action once the group is assembled. There are some other truly touching moments and I would urge anyone to see this film.

It’s suitable for people of all ages and has something for everybody. The humor is funny because it’s an accurate observation on the way people behave. Dug is the funniest character, but they all have their moments.

6. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Kirsten Dunst and Phil Hartman

Talking of heart, it’s time for some more Miyazaki. Kiki (Dunst) is a 13-year-old witch, and in her culture that means she has to spend a year on her own providing a service in another city. She’s just learning her craft and can barely fly her broom, but sets of with her cat, Jiji (Hartman). She finds a small town and helps the owner of a bakery by returning a baby’s pacifier to a customer who left it behind. The owner offers her a place to stay and suggests that she start a delivery service. It’s a delightful coming-of-age story in which Kiki learns to become independent and finds out about friendship and romance. She has great respect for her elders and quickly wins their approval. Jiji has almost all of the best lines and his sarcastic comments are genuinely funny. There are no villains, just situations and problems to overcome.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is charming and funny. It should entertain the whole family. There’s no Blu-ray release yet, but expect Disney to get around to it in a year or two. There are at least two DVD versions and the dubs are different. Be sure to research which one you want to own if you have previously seen the movie and have a preference.

For #16-20 on the list, click here

For #11-15 on the list, click here.

Upcoming Blu-ray releases: June 27-July 1

Many of this week's US releases are re-issues of existing movies with an additional DVD copy. I have listed them anyway for anyone who doesn't own the original version.

US Blu-ray releases

June 28

The 40-year-old Virgin
The 9/11 Commission Report
Above and Beyond: The Complete Miniseries
Agatha Christie's Marple: Complete Series 5
Alpha Dog
American Gangster
Apollo 13
Bad Company: Live at Wembley
Barney's Version
Berlioz: Les Troyens
Black Moon (Criterion Collection)
Britten: Billy Budd
Burial Ground
Camille 2000
Carlito's Way
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Deep Ocean Experience 3D
Deep Purple: Phoenix Rising
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five
Eddie Vedder: Water on the Road
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
George Gently: Series 3
High School of the Dead: The Complete Collection
Hot Fuzz
In Bruges
The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant: The Complete Miniseries
Inside Man
The Jackal
Knocked Up
The Last Starfighter
Lebanon, Pa.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Lord of the Dance
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions)
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Best Buy Exclusive Chess Set (Extended Editions)
Madam Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Mamma Mia!
Max Manus: Man of War
Mozart & al.: Great Mass
Nature: Bears of the Last Frontier
The Nesting
Out of Africa
People on Sunday (Criterion Collection)
Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites
Pride & Prejudice
Public Enemies
Rideback: Complete Series
The Sacrifice
Season of the Witch
Sleeping with the Enemy
Smokin' Aces
Spy Game
State of Play
Stuart Little
Stuart Little 2
Sucker Punch
To the Ends of the Earth
Uncle Buck
Van Helsing
Various: Argerich/ Maisky
Verbier Festival
Verdi: Macbeth
Wake Wood
The Warrior's Way
Wild Cherry
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Zazie dans le Métro (Criterion Collection)
Zombie Holocaust

Canadian Blu-ray releases

June 28

Bad Company: Live at Wembley
Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts
Barney's Version
Batman Steelbook
Black Moon (Criterion Collection)
Blade Runner: The Final Cut Steelbook
Britten: Billy Budd
Deep Purple: Phoenix Rising
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five
Full Metal Jacket Steelbook
George Gently: Series 3
The Last Samurai Steelbook
Lord of the Dance
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions)
The Nesting
Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Rideback: Complete Series
Season of the Witch
Sleeping with the Enemy
Stuart Little
Stuart Little 2
Sucker Punch Steelbook
Verbier Festival
Wake Wood
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Zazie dans le Métro (Criterion Collection)

UK Blu-ray releases

June 27

Akira Steelbook
Cold Fish
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Dvorak: Rusalka
Faithful Heart
The Incredibles
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions)
Lully: Armide
March of the Dinosaurs
Mozart & al.: Great Mass
Mussgorsky: Boris Godunov
Never Let Me Go
The New York Ripper
No Strings Attached
Pigs & Battleships / Stolen Desire
The Tourist
Various: Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: The Salzburg Concerts
Verbier Festival
Yogi Bear
Yogi Bear 3D

Australian Blu-ray releases

June 29

Babe: Pig in the City
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
Gnomeo & Juliet
Gnomeo & Juliet 3D
Nim's Island
Peter Pan
A Simple Wish
Uncle Buck

French Blu-ray releases

June 27

B.B. King: Live

June 28

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions)

June 29

Black Swan
Black Swan Limited Collector's Edition (with music box and postcards)

June 30

Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Afro Samurai: Resurrection Limited Collector's Edition

July 1

Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright
Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
Butcher 2

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Top 20 animated movies: Part 2, #11-15

My Top 20 animated movies (continued)

I promised yesterday that I would reveal the next five movies from my 20 favorite animated titles, so here they are:

15. Watership Down (1978)
Directed by Martin Rosen
Starring the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers and Ralph Richardson

The first thing you should know is that I love rabbits. That made me curious about Watership Down, so I borrowed the DVD from my local library. Richard Adams’ novel tells the story of a small group of rabbits threatened by a development scheme which could destroy their home. Fiver (Briers), is a young rabbit with a gift; he catches glimpses of the future. He sees imminent danger and encourages the other rabbits to leave, but only a small group listen. Hazel (Hurt) is Fiver’s brother and leads the group as they search for a safer home. They are joined by Bigwig, Silver and Buckthorn. The group faces dangers from other animals, rival warrens and humans, and the quest continually encounters perilous situations. The film is informative for anyone interested in group dynamics as we see how the individuals find their roles in the new order. It also shows the difference between those with strong character and those who are too weak to do anything but follow the established rules. There’s a lot of blood as the rabbits fight for survival, and there is no shortage of death.

I wouldn’t recommend showing this to small children as it could give them nightmares for years to come. It’s suitable for older teens and up though. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the German Blu-ray and I’ll write a full review after it arrives.

14. Tangled (2010)
Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Starring the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy

Are you tired of seeing Disney films involving princesses and too many songs? I was, and that’s why I resisted the temptation to see Tangled. But after a while, I caved in and gave it a try. It was a pleasant surprise in more ways than one.

It’s the story of what happens when Rapunzel (Moore) and Flynn Rider (Levi) meet. Rapunzel is kept trapped in a tower by an old woman who taps her powers in order to remain young, while Rider is a thief. The two go on an adventure that’s full of discovery and action. You’ll also meet Pascal, a chameleon who has befriended Rapunzel. He doesn’t speak, but his body language is hilarious and he steals a few scenes. Maximus is the other source of humor. He’s a horse who spends his time tracking Rider in an attempt to bring him to justice.

Disney’s 50th animated title is a delight and suitable for people of all ages.

Here’s my full review.

13. Bambi (1942)
Directed by James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield and Norman Wright
Starring the voices of Hardie Albright, Peter Behn, Stan Alexander and Bobette Audrey

Bambi is a prime example of classic Disney. The main theme of the film is innocence, and it details the early years in the life of a young deer. I saw the film as a child and again recently when it was released on Blu-ray, and found that I had forgotten just how beautiful the story is. Bambi is raised by his mother and befriends various other forest animals such as Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk. We see Bambi learn how to walk and talk, always with the help of his friends. Like any youngster, he’s curious about his surroundings. The film is full of scenes in which he discovers new things and learns how to interact with his environment. The one scar on the film’s beauty is the death of Bambi’s mother. It happens offscreen, but it’s obviously something which could disturb small children. In fact, I know a few adults who won’t watch it because of that event. The remainder of the story is full of charm and we see how Bambi and his friends discover love and choose their mates.

The Blu-ray presentation is outstanding and the film looks great considering it’s almost 70 years old. Bambi gets my vote for the most beautiful story Disney has ever told.

12. Castle in the Sky (1986)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Cloris Leachman and Mark Hamill

Sheeta (Paquin) is a young girl who falls from an airship at the start of the story. She wears a magic crystal which enables her to float safely to the ground. She meets Pazu who is a boy about her age and the two become friends. Friendship is a common theme in Miyazaki’s films and often forms the foundation of the story. The pair are being chased by pirates who want the crystal for themselves. Sheeta learns that knowledge of the crystals was once common and that an entire island was created which floated in the sky. The crystal is thought to have the power to show the location of the legendary island and so they try to establish its whereabouts. The story is full of action and adventure, as well as some surprises along the way. It works because of the sense of friendship between Sheeta and Pazu, and it has plenty of charm.

The film has been released on Blu-ray in Japan, Australia and the UK, so a North American release can’t be very far away. It's a good family film and can be enjoyed by people of any age.

11. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray

Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story is often funny, but also contains serious themes which might be lost on some children. It uses stop motion and tells the tale of Mr. Fox, who has trouble resisting the temptation to steal from the local farmers. He’s not a very good father and can’t be trusted by his wife, but has a certain roguish charm. The film mixes standard animated action with a quirky sense of humor that’s more subtle than that found in most stories. His antics put his family and other animals in danger as the three farmers he robs team up and decide to kill him. The humor is close in style to that used in Bottle Rocket and The Darjeeling Limited, rather than something you would expect to find in an animated film. The story isn’t afraid to show animals being hurt or even dying, so caution should be used if you’re planning to watch it with smaller children.

The Blu-ray presentation looks incredible and the voice acting is strong throughout. There’s no other animated film quite like this one.

Here’s my full review.

For #16-20 on the list, click here

For #6-10 on the list, click here.

For #1-5 on the list, click here.

Return to index of every review on the site.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson's signature style shines through

Fantastic Mr. Fox (animation, adventure, comedy)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Michael Gambon

20th Century Fox | 2009 | 87 min | Rated PG | Released Mar 23, 2010

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English, French, Mandarin (Simplified and Traditional), Portuguese, Spanish

50GB Blu-ray Disc
DVD copy (with digital copy)

The Film 4.5/5

Wes Anderson’s films are traditionally quirky and full of complex themes, and his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is no different. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s animated (stop motion); this material is not targeted at children.

When we join the story, Mrs. Fox (Streep) is telling Mr. Fox (Clooney) that she’s pregnant. The two proceed to rob a chicken farm and narrowly escape capture. Mrs. Fox makes him promise to look for other work now that they are about to become parents. Mr. Fox agrees and finds a job writing a newspaper column. 

Mr. Fox settles down in his new life, but always regrets giving up his old ways. He’s also tired of living in a hole in the ground and wants a better home for his family. He goes to see Badger (Murray), who advises him about properties for sale in the area. Fox wants a house near three local farms, but Badger suggests that the neighborhood is too dangerous. The local children even have a rhyme about the farmers:

Boggis, Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean

Fox is aware of the danger, but yearns for his former chicken-stealing days. As Anderson regularly reminds us, these are wild animals. Fox can’t deny his nature and buys the new house so that he can be close to the three farms.

His decision goes directly against his promise to his wife and that was his first mistake.

There’s a lot of humor in the film, but it’s generally quite subtle. The family sits down to eat dinner and they eat like wild animals. The food is gone in seconds. Their son, Ash, is moody and craves attention from his father. He spits on the floor when he’s angry or disappointed and he clearly has problems. When his cousin Kristofferson comes to stay, the situation worsens. Fox seems to favor Kristofferson over his own son and compliments him constantly.

Forget that we’re dealing with animals for a moment and think about the story. If that happened in a regular movie, we would be dealing with a typical family drama. Husband and wife break promises and have trust issues, while their son is being raised by parents who don’t understand him. This is not the kind of story that small children would understand, although some of the scenes are funny and contain action that would appeal to a child.

Fox enlists the help of Kylie Opossum and the two steal chickens from Boggis. The action is typical animated fare and the way the two sneak around is funny. They lace blueberries with a sedative to get past the dogs and the way the dogs react is also funny. They successfully steal from Bunce and plan to stop once they steal cider from Bean. For the final robbery, Ash wants to come along. Fox won’t let him, but allows Kristofferson to take part. He seems to have very little idea that such a decision could hurt his son’s feelings.

The robberies are fun to watch, especially when the animals wear bandit hats. It reminds me of the robbery in Bottle Rocket when the participants decide to wear similar hats even though their victims have already seen their faces.

Ash yearns to be an athlete and wants to emulate his father’s success at Whack-Bat (a game which parodies cricket). Kristofferson is a balanced individual who regularly meditates and knows karate. Ash is extremely jealous of his cousin and his ability to win his father’s approval.

The three robberies annoy the farmers, so Bean (Gambon) decides to organize the trio and plans to kill Fox. This is where the film starts to take on a more serious tone. Mrs. Fox discovers that her husband has been lying to her and scratches his face in a fit of temper. This scene annoyed one of my friends who expected the film to be lighthearted and suitable for the whole family. Mrs. Fox acts like the wild animal she is. There’s another scene in which one of the animals is maimed. Although it’s presented in a humorous way, it could disturb people.

The remainder of the film deals with the three farmers finding ways to threaten the existence of Fox and his friends. They escape by tunneling deeper, but face the threat of starvation if they don’t find a solution. Some of the other animals resent Fox for putting them in such a dangerous situation.

There’s considerable peril which could worry small children, and a lot of humor which would probably fly over their heads. It was only given a PG-rating, but be aware that not every child will like this harsh world. The animals are true to their nature.

The reason I like the film so much is the style of humor. Like Bottle Rocket and The Darjeeling Limited, the characters speak with a sense of irony or sarcasm and most of the humor is tongue-in-cheek. It feels similar to Tarantino or the Coen brothers at times. There’s no swearing, but every character uses the word "cuss" in situations in which they would normally swear. I found that particularly funny. One animal questions why a ransom note was made using words cut out of a magazine when everyone already knew the identities of the kidnappers. That’s also funny to me. The missions all have elaborate titles and remind me of the way Tarantino uses chapters in his stories.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is an exercise in style. Mr. Fox himself is very stylish, dressing smartly and using his trademark whistle when he thinks he’s being clever or cool. Clooney was a great choice for the part and the other actors all do a good job too.

The story is essentially about a dysfunctional family and shows how Ash attempts to come to terms with his existence. Will Mr. Fox eventually become a better father? Will Ash grow up and take responsibility for his own actions? Do Mr. and Mrs. Fox strengthen their marriage, or will the trust issues tear them apart? There’s a lot going on beneath the surface.

Video Quality 5/5
The look of Fantastic Mr. Fox is virtually flawless. The frames were shot digitally with a high quality camera and the detail is superb throughout. You can see every hair on the puppets and the stitches in their clothing. Some scenes look deliberately flat when shot from a distance and the color palette is full of brown and yellow tints, but that’s all intentional too. I didn’t spot any errors in a single shot and the presentation looks as good as anything I’ve seen.

Audio Quality 4/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has its moments, despite the quiet nature of the film. Most of the story is driven by dialogue, but there are occasional bursts of sound in scenes involving music or explosions. The rear speakers aren’t used prominently, but there’s no cause for complaint overall.

Special Features 3/5

The features were all shot in high definition.

Making Mr. Fox Fantastic (45 minutes) – A six-part feature which can also be viewed all at once. Topics include the look of the film, how it was adapted from the book and how the puppets were made. There’s an in-depth look at the filming process and a look at the actors behind the voices. The final segment shows Bill Murray talking to some of the animators.

A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat (1 minute)

Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl (3 minutes) – Touching on the main points shown in the opening feature.

Trailer (2 minutes)

Fantastic Mr. Fox has a lot of intelligent humor and subtle charm and it’s clearly aimed at adult audiences. I wouldn’t rule out showing the film to children, but be aware that wild animals sometimes show their true nature and their world can be brutal. I’m a fan of Wes Anderson’s work and this met all my expectations in terms of style and humor. It’s one of the most complex and unusual animated titles I have seen and recommended for fans of subtle humor. The world is an interesting place to visit and the film is a lot of fun if you go in with the right expectations.

Overall score 4.5/5

Click here to see where Fantastic Mr. Fox ranks among my Top 20 animated films.

Return to index of every review on the site.