The year 2010 has been a “Perrific!” year for animation films. I saw not only impressive major studio releases, but also amazing indie films at film festivals and Landmark theaters.
Of the 15 animation features fighting for the three precious spots for best animation Oscar feature, I predict my own top animation picks which all received 4.5 starfish: Toy Story 3 (Pixar/Disney) , How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks), and Tangled (Disney) will be chosen tomorrow (Jan 25, 2011) when Oscar nominations are revealed. See the full list:
Universal’s first animation feature “Despicable” (4 starfish rating) may upset Tangled if the academy members lean toward funnier, whimsical, non-traditional choice. Sony’s “The Illusionist” which I just saw 2 days ago is beautiful and touching and I gave it 4.5 starfish. But it’s a much smaller film with limited release, and has not been seen by many people. That’s why it has an even slimmer chance of being picked. I would be delighted if it is picked!
Jan 25, 2011 update: I just saw the Oscars nomination list today, happy to see How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3's nomination, not surprising. I'm "DELIGHTED" indeed that "The Illusionist" got picked for best animation nomination! My review will be out shortly. Full list of Oscars nominees:
Congrats to Toy Story 3 which also got nominated for best picture, writing (adapted screenplay), music (original song), sound editing; congrats to How to Train Your Dragon for music (original score) nomination too. Tangled got nominated for music (original song).
Mom (Zhu Shen, also my animation short's co-producer) and I will be attending the Annie Awards for Animation as media on Sat, Feb 5, 2011 in Hollywood, expecting to interview many Annie & Oscar-nominated filmmakers and voice talents there.
http://www.annieawards.org  (details)
I was honored to be a presenter for Character Design at the Annie Awards last year, introduced on stage by host William Shatner:
(37th Annie Awards presenter Perry Chen)
I wish there could be more animation films nominated for best Oscar animation. Last year there were five excellent nominees.
How to Train Your Dragon  (DreamWorks 3D, my favorite film of 2010, I interviewed co-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, voice talents Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, and Craig Ferguson at the Press Junket. Got autographed Blu-ray DVD from the directors!)
How could a wimpy kid who is so different form everyone else defy others’ expectation and become a true hero and leader?
“How to Train Your Dragon” is an epic tale packed with adventure, action, humor, stunning 3D visuals and beautiful music. It is a film that I think every child and parent will love to experience. The movie is about friendship, connection, redemption, and the hidden power of “being different.” The film is not only a thrilling action adventure, but also a tale with deep emotion and strong morale: Friends are more powerful than foes. Being different empowers you to see what others cannot see.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125236371  (NPR Liane Hansen interview)
http://www.awn.com/blogs/perrys-previews/movie-review-how-train-your-dragon  ( My review & director interviews)
http://www.youtube.com/perryspreviews  (my YouTube videos of Dragon director and voice talents interviews)
Toy Story 3 
Many teens may look forward to college. Without their parents caring for them, they have total freedom finally! But what about things that need their tender loving care (TLC)? What about the toys they leave behind?
Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″ is the best of the series with few flaws. It is about the connection between toys, their owners, and each other. It is also about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and moving on with one’s life. One lesson learned is that the past can affect the future in a major way. You may leave your toys, but DO NOT leave behind the innocence and imagination of childhood!
Can a 70-ft tower imprison a feisty princess forever? In Disney’s 3D animation “Tangled,” its 50th animation feature, Rapunzel, a stolen princess with 70 feet of magical golden hair, is planning on getting the heck out of the tall tower that the evil Mother Gothel imprisoned her in! Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, the wanted thief who stole a precious crown from the royal palace, formed an unlikely duo. They find themselves dodging palace guards, the spirited palace horse Maximus, and Mother Gothel, in search of the floating lanterns that appear on Rapunzel’s birthday every year.
“Tangled” is a spectacular film filled with rich and colorful characters, each with different personality. The movie is full of action, comedy, and romance. “Tangled” is about freedom, friendship, and love. Although the tower is a symbol of imprisonment, the spirit can never be locked up forever. Mother Gothel, blinded by her vanity and desire for eternal youth, doesn’t understand that, which leads to her downfall. The free spirit can never be imprisoned. Follow your dream no matter how many challenges on your way!
http://www.awn.com/blogs/perrys-previews/movie-review-tangled (full review)
http://www.perryspreviews.com/?p=1799 (short review for SD Union Tribune)
Published on: 24th January, 2011
The Illusionist 
“The Illusionist,” is a “Perrific” animation film directed by French animator Sylvain Chomet, based on a screenplay by French actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter Jacques Tati.
The film is about fatherly love, loss, and the dying old art of amusement (magic, puppeteer, clown). I love the animation, storyline, and music, and am delighted about its Oscar nomination! Longer review to come shortly, as I only saw it last Sat.
Stay tuned for the first “Amazing Kids Perrific Oscar Pick – 2010 Best Animation” contest to be announced here
and on Amazing Kids website
on Wed Jan 26. Kids around the world between the age of 6 to 15 can vote for their own Oscar pick for best 2010 animation, and tell us why in 50 words or less. Contest will end Feb 25, two days before the Oscars! We’d love to have as many kids participate around the world, and let their own voice be heard.
Tune in to live radio interview of Alyse Rome (Amazing Kids founder), Karina Bessoudo (VP of Marketing, Toon Boom Animation), Zhu Shen (Co-producer, Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest), and me on “Cutting Room Floor, hosted by Casey Ryan this Sat, Jan 29, 11 am PST (2 pm EST). Listeners can call in to ask questions. We’ll discuss our kids Oscar pick contest, and my first animation short sponsored by Toon Boom Animation:
Copyright 2011 by Perry S. Chen
Perry recently became the youngest winner of San Diego Press Club 2010 Excellence in Journalism awards for his movie review, and was featured in “The Young Icons” TV show. He reviews G/PG-rated movies for the San Diego Union Tribune and San Diego Entertainer Magazine with over 1 million readers combined. Perry is also the resident film critic for Amazing Kids, a non-profit organization with kids-generated content on its monthly magazine with about 1 million readers.
Perry was featured on Variety for being one of the leading young film critics:
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