Sunday, July 20, 2008

Animation News

I'm a huge animation fan. Some of my all-time favorite movies and tv shows are animated, and there's always a couple of cartoons on my Tivo's to do list. This weekend saw a couple of animation related events that I'm excited about.

First, here's the trailer for Ponyo On The Cliff, the latest film by Hayao Miyazaki, which opened this weekend in Japan.

I'm a huge fan of Miyazaki's work, his Studio Ghibli is arguably making the best animation in the world right now (OK, maybe it's tied with Pixar). If you haven't seen any of Miyazaki's work, drop everything, run to your nearest video store, and rent a copy of Spirited Away. Ponyo On The Cliff looks like another great film. I haven't heard when it will be released in the USA, but I'm hoping it won't be too long.

As long as I'm on the subject of animation, the final episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender aired this weekend on the cable channel Nickelodeon. I was out of town, and didn't catch them, but I have them on my Tivo and will finish them soon.

I must admit I'm a total Avatar fanboy. I could go on at length (and have, just ask my friends), but let me just say that it's no hyperbole that Avatar: The Last Airbender is the best animated series in at least a decade, and will likely be considered one of the best animated shows of all time. Trust me, it's that good. I wouldn't have named this blog after it otherwise!

If you haven't seen this show, I can't recommend it highly enough. The animation, writing, and art direction are of a quality rarely attempted in a children's cartoon program. Even the music is exceptional (I'm hoping for a soundtrack cd). Start with the first season, and watch the episodes in order. The story builds over the three seasons, and some of the characters go through significant development as the series progresses.
Avatar wasn't cancelled, by the way. It was planned from the beginning as a three season series with a finite number of episodes.

One more thing: If you haven't yet, go see Wall-E. It's excellent.

1 comment:

sonictruth said...

i already have the ponyo theme song stuck in my head haha i'll have to download a fansub or wait for disney to slap their name on it and release a dvd in the u.s. I'm a complete miyazaki fan boy... I'm between Castle in the Sky, Naussica, and Spirited Away as an all time favorite ... they're all pretty amazing. I agree with you that pixar is probably the other studio out there to rival miyazaki, wall-e was one of their best i thought. I was a little saddened that half the crowd in the theatre left with the thought "aw wall-e was so cute" instead of catching the ever present message regarding the bleak possibilities of our own futures. eh, teenagers. I haven't checked out avatar other than catching a glimpse while channel surfing but if its got the hewitt stamp of approval i'd give it a shot.