September 26, 2005

Viewer Discretion Advised

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The movie getting the most attention following its opening this weekend has to be Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride promising entertainment for both kids and adults. Movie studios have recognized that families enjoy going to the movie theaters together and, as a result, have changed their focus away from solely G-rated films with talking animals and whatnot to PG-rated films that provide a little “under the little kids radar” jokes and themes. Some of these films can actually be more affective than their made-for-adult-consumption peers. So anyway, here’s my list of top animated films that aren’t for General Audiences. Just make sure you have enough Parental Guidance before watching…

5. Osmosis Jones (2001)

Take the raw comedy of the Farrelly Brothers and mix it with a cheesy junior high school anatomy film and you get Osmosis Jones. Will Smith and David Hyde Pierce play often conflicting antibodies that must battle Laurence Fishburne’s evilly voiced virus, Thrax. The fact that this all occurs within a slobby zookeeper played by Bill Murray adds to its absurdity and humor. Watch out for William Shatner’s hilarious appearance as the Richard Nixon-esque mayor of the digestive tract.

4. The Incredibles (2004)

The idea that even a superhero would get frustrated in modern suburban society and service economy work is a bold (and pretty much depressing) idea to present in a film. Seeing a former superhero being unable to help others because of bureaucratic red-tape (the scenes at his employer Insuricare are almost painful to watch) is poignant social commentary. However, but using the medium of fast-paced action, a booming score, and witty comedy, the makers of The Incredibles managed to pull it off without seeming too corny in the process. Now that’s superhuman.

3. Shrek 2 (2004)

Don’t get me wrong, Shrek is an entertaining movie, but it is still geared mostly towards children. On the other hand, its sequel really provided most of the treats for the adults. Literally every second of this movie either parodied or referenced another film or aspect of pop culture. Antonio Banderas’s partial self parody itself makes this film worth watching. Probably the film’s best dry comedy moment involved the giant gingerbread man chasing patrons out of one thinly disguised Starbucks into one directly across the street; classic.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Initially movie audiences balked at Tim Burton’s dark children’s film, but it’s now elevation to cult classic has leant this movie deserved praise even today. Burton’s choice to use stop motion animation skillfully acknowledges the Christmas classics of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and others. But really, any children’s film that deals with kidnapping Santa Claus and the military shooting a sleigh out of the sky gets my vote any day.

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

OK, so this film isn’t totally animated, but Robert Zemeckis’s brilliant tribute to Hollywood’s golden era and film noir a la animation is a classic. Bob Hoskins is perfect in his role as the jaded detective. The supporting cast from femme fatale Jessica Rabbit (“I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way”) to the foreboding Christopher Lloyd’s Judge Doom further adds to the film’s flavor. However, what makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit a classic is its skillful mixing of the dark and mysterious characterizations of L.A. explored by previous film giants like Sunset Boulevard and Chinatown and Zemeckis’s ability to put a new twist on the messages of those movies by simply adding an off-the-wall rabbit.

Archived article by Mark Rice
Film Editor