Animation Double Feature: When Shaunie Was There

Two animated movies came to my local library recently, both of them Animated Feature nominees, and both available for free from the kids section.

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I was aware of the Shaun The Sheep character but never watched any of the shorts. The one thing that stands out to me here is that this movie is 1 hour and 25 minutes without a single word of dialogue. It’s all told visually. And yes, that means that the movie is 80%  sight gag, but a lot of the gags are funny.

Of course, even the most hilarious of comedies are always gonna leave some room for dramatic moments, and the few emotional moments that are included are also done without dialogue, and they really work.

However, anybody going into this movie expecting any form of logic will be sorely disappointed, there is so much in this movie that doesn’t make sense. Which, you kind of have to take for granted in a movie like this.

Nobody’s gonna call this one of the year’s best films, but I don’t think the filmmakers were trying to make a masterpiece. It’s a good film that’s perfectly content with being a good film, and you have to admire movies like that.

****

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When Marnie Was There is a very different film in tone. This film isn’t as magical as your typical Ghibli film. In fact, this script could have been easily been made into a live-action film. I’m glad that it is animated though, because when Studio Ghibli is involved, you’re basically guaranteed a good film.

The animation in this film is just gorgeous, as you would expect from Ghibli. The sound design is just great. Story-wise, the movie has a lot of really great buildup, as we know that something is off about Marnie’s character, but we can’t quite work out what. The first two acts are really well done, but once we actually find out the truth

But with that said, the two main characters are really well developed. I like how we get to learn more about Anna as we’re also learning more about Marnie. The emotional scenes are done well at certain points, but in other scenes they feel a little bit contrived. But it’s not too bad, and Hailee Steinfeld does a great job voicing Anna.

Was gonna give this one 3 1/2 stars, but gave the original song “Fine On The Outside” another listen. Maybe I’m biased, but the song really spoke to me on a personal level, and might be my #1 of the year. So, I’ll bump the rating up a bit.

****

So there you have it. Both films are Oscar nominees, both films are highly unlikely to win, but both films are worth checking out for their own reasons.

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