Pokémon: The First Movie
Mew faces off against Mewtwo in this bizarre, episodic adaptation of the franchise we all spent our childhood allowances on. Released stateside in 1999, at the height of a prepubescent frenzy rivaled only by POGs and Cabbage Patch Kids, Pokémon: The First Movie grossed over $160 million. Enthusiasts should prepare for a stroke of nostalgia as Ash, Pikachu, Misty, Brock, and Team Rocket preach a sermon of anti-violence didactic enough to roll the eyes of children everywhere.
8 10 12
Merida is not your standard Disney Princess. As Pixar’s most recent effort, Brave draws a portrait of a strong, roguish young woman who decides to stand up for her right to think for herself. If lacking in the type of groundbreaking narrative flourish that we’ve come to expect from the studio, Brave is still a delicious feast of visual delight. The Scottish Highlands are rendered in astonishing detail and with plenty of cinematic panache.
7:30 10 12:30
After 10 years in production, almost 200,000 individual drawings, and one of the biggest budgets in Japanese animation history, Steamboy triumphantly arrived in 2004. Since then, it has gathered a strong following and high status among steampunk enthusiasts. Director Katsuhiro Otomo, of Akira fame, produces a second film with spectacular sci-fi sweep and bold imagination. The story is historical, challenging, and occasionally obtuse, but Patrick Stewart and Anna Paquin serve as excellent guides in two memorable vocal performances.
6 8 10
Not only was Rango far-and-away the best animated work of 2011, it was one of the best films of the year — proving that we’re living in a new golden age of animation where Pixar isn’t the only studio capable of expanding the visual and narrative template. It proudly sports a package of vocal performances that rank as the finest in recent memory. Johnny Depp plays Rango, an accidental sheriff who reinvents himself and changes a town forever. Rango ambitiously sets out to do no less than repackage and market the Western to a new generation, both subverting and paying homage to the recognizable genre conventions.