film: ice age

I list of seriously under-rated animated movies that Tumblr needs to scream about as much as The Big Four but don’t for some reason:

Paranorman

Reason: It had an openly gay charector. And did not make him into a stereotype, they made him the complete opposite of a “gay stereotype”.They also taught very important lessons about not sinking down to other peoples’ levels, how scarey it can be to be different, why adults have such a big problem with people who are different, ghosts, witches, zombies, the antagonist is literally the ghost of a little girl who was KILLED FOR BEING A WITCH IN SALEM TIMES AND ALL SHE WANTED WAS A FREIND Tumblr you scream about these themes in movies you want and here they are

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Rango

Reason: Johnny Depp plays a pet chameleon who is terribly lonely and doesn’t know who he is as a person who ends up stuck in a desert pretending to be a sheriff battling a sharp-shooter snake, that should be reason enough, but it includes Beans, who has a type of panic disorder (yes she’s a lizard and alot of lizards do but the way they made a big deal of it sort of made me think of it more in this term) and the entire story is really centered on finding yourself and that’s precious, plus Johnny Depp plays a lonely lizard do I really need to say anything else?

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Ice Age

Reason: Well to begin with Scrat is the living embodiment of someone from Tumblr, as is Sid, it has Dodo Birds who have a fighting style called “Tai Kwan Dodo”, the first movie is about a mammoth, a sloth, and a Sabertooth Tiger taking care of a human baby, it also deals with alot of dark points like the food chain, betrayal, family genocide, neglect/abandonment on Sid’s part, the death of a mother trying to save her baby (well let’s be honest most animated movies have that for some reason) and these themes tend to persist (although not as heavily) in the other three films, paticuarly, the theme of loneliness and forming your own family out of odds and ends because your blood family isn’t healthy (abusive like Deigo’s, neglectfull like Sid’s, dead like Manny’s oops) Deigo is the king of sarcasm and is somehow charming, let’s be honest Ice Age is gold

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Shrek

Reason: Shrek DOES appear on Tumblr more than anything else but mostly as a joke and I don’t understand that because Shrek has all the themes Tumblr cries about wanting in movies/kids movies, non-traditional princesses, non-traditional female leads, non-traditional romances, a princess not conforming to beauty standards and a male-lead her loves her not “despite that” but FOR that, he doesn’t “accept her”, he LOVES her, Shrek himself is the definition of a charector Tumblr should love, anti-social, sarcastic, awkward, passionate about food, and Donkey, the sarcasm machine who had hybrid babies with a dragon (again laughing in the face of traditional gender roles y the way) a cross-dressing wolf, a prince who’s actually a selfish mama’s boy, Puss In Boots- and if you don’t love him I just want to know, WHY?- who has his own spinoff movie with another BAMF, non-traditional female-lead who, instead of having to be a loyal princess, is more of a “I love you but let’s not make a big deal of it so I’ll come around when I come around” bandit in her own right, and although I honestly think the hay-day was the first two movies, the latest one DOES have Fiona as the leader of a rebellion war group…

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The Croods

Reason: Besides the explosive humor and adorable animals, it has an amazing female lead, the male lead isn’t just some pretty-boy love interest, he’s actually USEFULL, but I think what I love the most is actually the father role, because he isn’t presented as a clueless push-over, nor a stereotypical “No daughter of mine will __!” type, he actually represents a very accurate portrayal of the difficult to walk line between “I need to protect my family” and “I need to loosen up and let my kids make their own decisions”, he doesn’t do anything out of the “power of being a man” or just wanting his family to do what he says because he’s the leader, he very genuienly is afraid of losing his family because as the days pass the population IS getting thinner and thinner, and like most people, especially most parents, he doesn’t know how to handle that fear without going overboard, it also represents the fear of change without making that in it’s self a joke

The Secret World Of Arrietty

Reason: No animated movie list would be complete without a Ghibli film, but I’m really surprised that Arrietty doesn’t get the same love on Tumblr that Holw’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Spirited Away, and other Ghibli films get, it was almost swept under the rug, besides having a common thread on this list with the female lead being strong and independant and having a great family dynamic, I’m mostly impressed with the male lead, who doesn’t take the typical role of a male protagonist by using strength to overcome his obstacles as much as he uses cleverness, Sho (Shawn in the English dub) has a very strong since of compassion and moral values that isn’t usually there in the beginning of the movie for male protagonists, it’s usually a learned trait, but he’s very understanding to start with of Arrietty’s compromising position and only wants a freind, he also has a heart condition that plays a part in his loneliness in the movie, Arrietty, like many Ghibli movies, also ends with the leads remaining only close freinds and not love interests, as well as with going their own ways but hoping to see eachother again, they do so in a way that leaves the ending still sweet, rather than the usual bitter-sweet feel of these sorts of things, not to mention the breath-taking animation is enough to keep your eyes on the screen even if the sweet story doesn’t interest you

Hotel Transylvania

Reason: With Monster High being the sensation it is, paticuarly on Tumblr, I’m increasingly shocked that Hotel Transylvania hasn’t made a splash, besides the absolutely adorable personality of Mavis- and Dracula makes it easy to see where she got that from- most of the charectors that so much as have speaking roles have some level of amusement to them, Mr. Wolf’s family on it’s own could be a movie as far as I’m concerned, but what really makes me love the movie is the plot, it’s more than the typical vampire/human soul mate romance (although the quirkiness of this one and the awkwardness of Johnathan) it’s more than anything about Dracula, like The Croods it shows the father role as more than the typical “I don’t want my daughter to date because of reasons” thing, it depicts a very justified fear of humans and how the death of his wife pushed his already astoundingly strong love for his daughter into a hyper-drive of overprotectiveness, and it shows that, although he is willing to go to any length to protect her, he very often has a hard time justifying his extreme actions to himself, and unlike most fathers in this sort of plot, he doesn’t just “accept” his daughter’s decisions, he actively seeks to help her get what she wants from them, and if nothing else I’d have thought that the references to cosplayers and Twilight would make Tumblr giggle, but really Dracula wins the Best Dad Ever award

Epic

Reason: Following the trends of strong female leads, we have this peice of gold, I would think Beyonce playing a Faery Queen would have put Epic on Tumblr’s radar but apparently not, the animation is stunning, by far one of, if not the, best movie on this list in terms of the animation quality, the charectors are all clever and unique, with a familiar sense of searching for where “home” is and what’s really important in life, it also puts a new spin on the faery/human relationships that we so often see repeats of, it isn’t the classic “Humans hunt faeries but learn their lesson” movie, nor is it quite as innocent as Arrietty, not to mention that the concept of the Queen and the Leaf Men are very unique in their construction

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Tinkerbell and Disney Fairies movies

Reason: All I ever see of Tinkerbell (this one atleast) on Tumblr is hate about wishing she was the same amount of sassy and bad attitude that she was in Peter Pan’s world, but two things aren’t being taken into consideration here (and I think the reason for that is that most people on Tumblr don’t bother to see the movies) and those are 1. Tinkerbell DID have alot more attitude in the first two movies, paticuarly the second, and she was very easily riled and very easily frustrated, traits shown in Peter Pan (although I have honestly not watched Peter Pan in yeaaaaars so I don’t remember her from there very well) in Tinkerbell’s second solo movie it was highlighted the most and she also saw just how strong those traits were in her and she decided to change, 2. This PRECEEDS Peter Pan, if I’m not mistaken Pan’s Tinkerbell had been cast out of Pixie Hollow, it would be understandable that Tinkerbell, who already had these qualities in a lower dose, would only increase in frustration and jealousy if she had been an outcast, the thing is, people change, something obviously happened for Tinkerbell to decide to join Peter and leave Pixie Hollow, the Disney Fairy movies don’t demonstrate that, they show her adventures from before she joined Pan, they may eventually show a flittering relationship/meeting between the two but I doubt it, the Fairy movies have alot of classic Disney qualities and speak out most against following rules and conformity, from the first movie when she found herself put down for being a Tinker fairy and wanting to change her talent, to Secret Of The Wings when she meets her fraternal twin sister Periwinkle against the rules of Pixie Hollow, to The Pirate Fairy when the story centers not on Tinkerbell, but on Zerena, who was constantly spoken down to and made to feel unwelcomed just for wanting to experiment with the laws of Pixie Dust, it has a carefully strung balence between “The rules are in place for a reason” and “Sometimes you need to break them and that’s ok” and it’s done quite nicely

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Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron

Reason: If I had to pick ONE movie that is the most underrated from this list, it would be Spirit, although it may look like a cute little movie about horses and rebellion, that really isn’t the case, the theme is very strong throughout the movie that the white men fighting against the Lakota tribe were in essence trying to break/imprison them just as much as they were the horses, Spirit is the only movie I know of that shows just how wrong the attack from Europeans on Native Americans was without it being a documentry of some sort, and although I think Disney’s version of Pocahontas TRIED to give off this vibe, I think it did poorly with it and gave a little too much (ok, alot too much) credit to the white men who came in and took everything the native people had,Spirit had none of that, I myself am white, but with some strong Native roots, I may be missing something that someone who’s purely/mostly Native American would find offensive, but as far as I can tell, Spirit does very well at representing the severely underrepresented group of people, and very accurately represented the cruelty of the Europeans, especially during that horrible war, even more than that though, it gave, in my opinion, a representation of Spirit and Little Creek’s relationship without making it corny or stereotyped, honestly, if I get pick any animated movie to get as much reckognition as Frozen does, Spirit would be it, because it isn’t JUST a good movie, JUST gorgeous animation, JUST a cute story… it’s all of those things, but more than anything, it’s a message that DESPERATELY needs to be heard in America, that just keeps getting shushed: Native representation, white power and how wrong it is- and was most especially when the Europeans took over- treating ALL people, as well as animals, with respect, free will, and I could just go on and on…

As much as I love the popular animation on Tumblr, Disney Princesses, Frozen,Rise Of The Guardians, How To Train Your Dragon, Finding Nemo, etc, these movies REALLY need to get out there, they have some important things to say

Zodiac signs as my favorite animated movies

Aries: Madagascar
Taurus: Ice Age  
Gemini: Zootopia
Cancer: Balto or The Land Before Time   
Leo: The Fox and the Hound     
Virgo: The Aristocats  
Libra: Shrek
Scorpio:Finding Nemo  
Saggitarius: Shark Tale or Oliver & Company
Capricorn: The Lion King
Aquarius: Rio
Pisces: Lady and the Tramp  

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We’re actually kind of concerned about this movie’s chances at success.

The Most Expensive Movie You’ve Never Heard Of

Today I dive way back into Magic’s history with Dark Banishing!

The impetus for this post came from a discussion I had last weekend with one of my friends who has long since left the game. His contention was that the art of Magic has lost some it’s abstract qualities, everything is so Style Guided and cleanly rendered now. I was very quick to agree that (for the most part), we have lost a lot of the more environmentally foreboding pieces of art. We had a lengthy discussion about things like Lord of the Pit, Hell’s Caretaker and this card, Dark Banishing.

This card was originally printed during a time when the art direction was fairly less structured, I could contend that is both a good thing and a bad thing from example to example. But when I prepped to do this post and discovered the art from Ice Age I was gleefully surprised by it. I just simply didn’t know this version existed.

Is this the best piece of art on a Magic Card? No, I could probably paint this. But it has character to it, and I love it as just a piece of art.

We then move on to a piece I am familiar with, but find to be rather weak. Much like Naturalize is reprinted ad nauseam now, cards like Dark Banishing and Memory Lapse saw rapid reprints in the early years of Magic. The Mirage art, while more graphic with the death being reaped, is lacking for me. The background is the best part for me, your opinions may vary.

We then come to the version I (along with GUDoug of Twitter fame) played most heavily. This is the version that I used through out most of high school & college and was the talking point of the discussion above. I believe this may be the strongest work for this card, I love the abstract nature of it, the lack of definition to the creature being disemboweled only adds to the creepiness of the whole experience. But as stated, nostalgia could be clouding my judgment.

There is a world (maybe this one) where I get cremated for not calling this the worst art for this card. There is no doubt that the art direction in 7th Edition was slightly off, but as an artistic piece, I really like this art.

By no means does this scream “kill spell” to me, possibly a discard spell or a black enchantment. But I am hard pressed to hate on a Rebecca Guay piece, especially since I feel the Mirage art is worse than this. What we have is a beautifully rendered merfolk musing on the loss of something akin to their boyfriend breaking up with them. But I can get behind this art regardless.

What do you think? Which art is your favorite? And what should I cover in the future?