Thursday, February 22, 2007

Animated and Doc Features in Oscar® Race

Animated Features -

I have seen two of the animated features nominated for an Oscar, CARS and MONSTER HOUSE. I was not impressed with MONSTER HOUSE, getting bored within the first half. If I had young children, I would not let them see it.

No offense to HAPPY FEET. I haven't seen it, so I can't judge it, but after seeing the American heart and soul contained in CARS, I think it will be the winner. It did win the Annie Award as best animated feature. At any rate, I would vote for it, and not having seen HAPPY FEET makes no difference.

Once I saw CARS, the deal was sealed. The setting is the small town of Radiator Springs on the famous old Route 66 after the Interstate has bypassed the town. As a consequence, the town sank into despair and depression. When a hot-shot race car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, the town cars, with McQueen's help, find a cause, which helps them gain back their self esteem through collective positive action, and they help McQueen find the true meaning of friendship and family. There's nothing more American than that!

Also, unlike the characters in MONSTER HOUSE, the cars are downright loveable. In the viewer's mind they grow almost human during the course of the movie, each one keeping "his/her" individual behavior characteristics throughout.

Documentary Features -


I have seen three out of the five documentary features nominated for an Oscar, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, JESUS CAMP, and MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY. Therefore, I can only judge these three. They all deal with strong, often controversial subjects.

The first - the environment, effects of global warming, and Al Gore. Just remember, the threat is real and it is here today! When there is no Planet Earth, there will be nothing.

The second - indoctrination of innocent children by fundamentalist evangelical Christians (here, Pentecost). Their elders use fear and other abusive tactics to warp their young minds. Child abuse in the name of relgion.

The third - the negative impact upon one Iraqi family in Baghdad during the first election after the U.S. invaded, and the gradual demise of the Sunni father's idealism as he runs for a political office, facing life-threatening odds. Filmmaker Laura Poitras actually lived with an Iraqi family for over seven months, documenting the routine and the horror of their everyday lives.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL is about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Sorry, seen several of these. It, too, addresses child abuse in the name of relgion.

IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS is about the situation in Iraq. I'm not sure of the time frame, or the actual subject matter, except that it contains stories from modern day Iraq as told by Iraqis living in a time of war, occupation and ethnic tension.

It behooves me as to why the Academy nominated two documentaries about Iraq. Why didn't they do as they did when confronted with two Spanish language features for the Best Foreign Movie, pick the one they thought was better? Well, it seems the Academy today is not a standout when logic is involved.

I am sure that the front runner here is AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. I would vote for it. It is possible that those who are anti Al Gore will vote for one of the other four, but I think the Academy members on the whole support this documentary and that for which it stands. So, I think it will be the winner.

Click the movie titles to read more about these feature films.


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