Sunday, January 8, 2012
The Adventures of Steven
All it really boiled down to was that the parents weren't very interested in getting the kids to keep quiet, but, thankfully, the film was engaging enough that it did the job for them (except for the one kid right behind me who lost interest about 2/3 of the way through and kept asking his dad when they could go to Chuck E. Cheese. (The repeated answer was that Chuck's apparently wasn't open).
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie - really tight, really fun, beautifully realized and set in a magic early-mid-20th century analog land of wooden dashboards and rusting hulls. It benefitted from Spielberg's mutant ability to take seemingly any script or story and infuse some sort of emotional resonance, but it's true that the characters are largely involved in plot and not much in drama, and good for them.
It won major points from me right in the opening credits, done in a sort of 2 1/2-D animation with the font from the albums falling all around. And it kept right on going with great voice acting, which is something we've gotten used to in animation over the last couple of decades, but a quick look back at the Nelvana Tintin adaptations should show you how important it is to take the voice work seriously. If the actors sound like they give a shit, we'll give a shit. The Tintin from the Nelvana version sounds more like he's describing something he read rather than an adventure he's currently on.
Interesting that we have a holiday movie season where a noted animation director (Brad Bird) does his first live action film, and a noted otherwise director does his first animated feature. But there you have it. This really is the third golden age of animation, and I am grateful. But please start bringing back more of the hand-drawn stuff. I miss it so.