I'm a little embarrassed to be giving such a rave review to a movie about which I have so little to say.
But The Book of Life fascinated me so much with its style that I took almost no notes on it and can't say much about its themes or even its plot. Its style is beyond my powers of description and I can think of only one movie I can compare it to-- and I'm not sure that one ever went into wide release, though it is available on DVD.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a typically enjoyable, superior animation with most of the usual pluses of the form and only a few typical minuses. It's conventional in story and thin on characterization, pictorially beautiful, generally comic, and modest as to any ambition beyond entertainment.
The current word is that Hayao Miyazaki, the greatest and perhaps the last of the movies' hand-drawn-feature animators, is going to retire after his latest releast, The Wind Rises. And while I am always skeptical about show business retirements, I would like to report that the maker of Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and so many other animated masterworks, was going out in a blaze of glory.
But The Wind Rises isn't nearly up to his top standard.
Frankenweenie had several strikes against it before it even came on, so I consulted with no less than eight people about it after it ended, and must report that nobody, including me, rated it at less than three stars out of a possible four, with half giving it a maximum four. I don’t like Tim Burton’s stop-motion puppets because they are either spherical heads with tiny pyramidal noses or grotesque but too traditional caricatures. But you have to credit Frankenweenie with effective emotional expression whenever emotional expression is attempted. But only the caricature