If you are an “adult” like me (whatever that means), you may have left most cartoons behind you. But I like an animated movie once in a while. Animations help us to look beyond reality. They punch our buttons, hit us on levels of irony and travesty, where reality just does not reach. Here are my top five animation movies.
Shrek turns all fairytales upside down. I like it so much, because I grew up with a lot of Grimms’ stories in Germany. And Shrek busts our stereotypes once and for all: nothing noble about the steed, a prince turned out short, and an ogre who is a philosopher. There are surprises around every corner. I love how all the characters are mixed up in a paradoxical stew. Best of all is the twist in the end: Be who you are, not who you think you should be. And don’t we all love dragons!
Monsters Inc. shows us the inside workings of a scare corporation–very well done! The monsters are more scared of humans than the other way around. When the monsters march to work, I am reminded of our current political scare tactics. Doors hold a fascination for all of us. Don’t we always want to know what’s behind them? Are we afraid to open them? So cool, how the doors are played throughout. The nice thing about Monsters Inc.: Truth be told, laughter creates more energy than fear.
Wall-e is the most real and scariest animation that I know. I have always had a knack for utopias (Brave New World, Time Machine, 1984). A tiny robot is the only worker left in a post apocalyptic world, when spoiled-beyond-belief humans have escaped on a spaceship. Humanity, all fat like mast oxen, has fallen victim to limitless comfort seeking, subscribing to the Buy&Large, until all life on earth was buried under trash. So what should we do? Go about our business, as the world goes down? Think. Think again. Do something! Recycle, vote, refuse the plastic!
Rango must be counted as one of the best Westerns of all time. It’s up there with Dances with Wolves and Unforgiven, but not only because Johnny Depp is the chameleon. If you’re ever talking “characters” in an animation–it’s Rango. But I like it the MOST for its DIRE dire story line, especially for us in Arizona. A little desert town called Dirt is running out of water–because a greedy corporation diverted it. Similar monster developers and corporations have bought up everything in the Valley of the Sun. When will our Valley run out of water? What can we do to conserve it? Certainly the cancer-like sprawl doesn’t help.
Finding Nemo instantly thrilled me. It had a good story, I can identify with short term memory loss (ha, ha, Dori!), and I have always been fascinated with sea life. At one point, I had wanted to become a marine biologist, reading too much about Jaques Cousteau and an Austrian scientist, Hans Hass. Both swam with sharks and studied their behaviors. They weren’t the blood-thirsty beasts as often portrayed. Imagine:
100 million sharks are killed by us in a year!!
Sharks, in return, hardly kill 10 humans a year. Something is off here. Something is also off at the Great Barrier Reef. It’s dying from global warming.
Thank God for animation! At least we are able to participate in nature vicariously via movies. Although that’s not enough for me. I need a regular, in-person experience with nature to balance me out—not necessarily with sharks, but a good hike on the Rim will do.
So, if you got nothing better to do, watch a movie! I just gave you my top five animations.
There is a lot of good truth to them.
They make you think.