Weekend Watchlist | Animation

By The Pitt News Staff

Last week, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek said animation was for kids, so we’re here to prove him wrong. Here are some animated shows and movies that children and adults can appreciate, because animation is a wonderful storytelling medium, Bob.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Netflix) // Sinead McDevitt, Digital Manager

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is a high-energy film with gorgeous animation and a touching story. It follows The Mitchells on a cross-country road trip to drop off their eldest daughter, Katie (Abbi Jacobson), at college. However, the trip is interrupted when the sentient AI PAL (Olivia Colman) takes control of almost every electronic device on Earth, kidnaps everyone except the Mitchells and prepares to launch them into space.

Directors Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe do a great job mixing action, comedy and serious moments as Katie prepares to leave for adulthood and her father tries to help her without fully understanding her. This is helped by the animation, which can snap between zany and colorful to subdued and somber when necessary. Rianda wanted a hand-painted watercolor style, and the animators definitely came through. Check it out sometime!

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Prime Video) // Jacob Mraz, Staff Writer

Facing the realization that he is nearly the same age as his father when he died, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks an old promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids the farm of his new human neighbors to reignite fading memories of his thieving youth. This theft enrages farmers Boggis (Robin Hurlstone), Bunce (Hugo Guinness) and Bean (Michael Gambon), who devise a plan to attack Mr. Fox’s tree home to draw him out and kill him. What follows is a whimsical, hilarious and heartfelt reflection on age and family dynamics with a beautiful autumnal backdrop — perfect for an early November day!

Wes Anderson’s 2009 adaptation of the 1970 children’s novel by Roald Dahl features a fantastic ensemble cast of acclaimed actors from George Clooney to Willem Dafoe. Great for children and adults, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is among Anderson’s best and one of the finest stop-motion animated films of the century. From its memorable soundtrack to its vibrant characters it is a film that viewers will come back to again and again.

If you like this movie, consider checking out Anderson’s other stop-motion animated film — 2018’s “Isle of Dogs,” which likewise features an ensemble cast of actors from Bryan Cranston to Frances McDormand.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Prime Video) // Toni Jackson, Staff Writer

Despite the bland artistic value of many superhero movies, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a fresh take on a story that’s been told many times before. First released in 2018, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is a regular teenager — until a radioactive spider bites him and he transforms into Spider-Man. After a collider is activated, Spider-Heroes from other dimensions begin to appear in Morales’ dimension. These versions include Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and the more comedic Peter Porker (John Mulaney).

The film embraces the fact that Miles Morales is a lesser known and completely different Spider-Man compared to Peter Parker. The overarching theme is that despite being from different dimensions with different backstories, the Spider-Heroes are still united in their goal of helping others.

The characters are loveable and the plot is well-developed. I admittedly am not a huge fan of animation, but this movie made me laugh, cry and become so invested in the characters who felt like real people. The animation itself is fresh (some of the Spider-Heroes have different animation styles), and I can envision the film aging well since it looks so distinctive.

The creators announced a sequel for June 2, 2023. Even if you’ve seen this movie before, the look and feel of the film is so cozy that the story never gets old.

Over the Garden Wall (HBO) // Patrick Swain, Senior Staff Writer

This show scratches the autumn itch. As the leaves turn brown and the air becomes brisk, snuggle up with your warmest blanket and your softest sweater for a delightful and offbeat adventure into the unknown.

Wirt, a precocious fourteen-year-old, and his bouncy brother Greg find themselves lost in a strange and mystical forest, where an ominous shadowy beast pursues them on their quest to find home. On the way, they encounter otherworldly oddities like a town of Jack-o’-lanterns, a schoolhouse for animals and a tea mogul’s maybe-haunted mansion. A bluebird and a frog with a multitude of monikers accompany them.

“Over the Garden Wall” has ten short, succinct episodes that equate to a feature film when watched in one sitting. This is feel-good media. It can be difficult to accept that we’re getting older when we see undeniable proof of our aging with each glance in the mirror, but “Over the Garden Wall” is a warm and fuzzy return to the innocence of childhood.