And the Best Animation Oscar Goes To

Why Toy Story 3 doesn’t deserve the Oscar,and more importantly, why How to Train Your Dragon does.

Toy Story 3 seemed like a stupid movie to me even before it came in to theatres. I’ve never been a huge fan of that particular story. Probably because I never had any of those toys prior to the movie (though thanks to McDonalds I acquired quite a few) and would have rather read a book growing up than play with dolls and figurines anyways.

Despite lacking an emotional attachment, I can still recognize good work when I see it and I won’t lie and tell you that Toy Story 1 and 2 were bad movies because they weren’t. The animation was amazing and they were funny and well acted.

But the problem is they had the same plot. The same plot that was once again recycled into Toy Story 3. The same plot that, having heard it twice before, I wasn’t looking forward to watching it again. I went into viewing it thinking that maybe the story would be touching enough that it would overcome the fact that the toys were once again far away from home and looking to find their way back.

But, it wasn’t. I wasn’t interested. I didn’t care. Sure the animation was still good and the acting and it was funny, but was it a movie I’ll watch over and over again? Was it something I want to be recognized with an Oscar? Was it even worth watching?

My answer: No.

If it had been the only animation movie to come out this year, I’m sure my answer would have been different. If I had only to compare it with former Pixar movies, I’m sure I would’ve looked it at much more kindly.

But this isn’t the case.

Because there is another movie. It’s beautifully animated. More so I would venture than Toy Story 3; the visuals explore a much less plastic, much more diverse and real world. For your eyes, it’s absolutely stunning. For your ears, it’s one of the most amazing collections of chords and instruments I’ve ever heard. I gave a speech to the theme song and it made my audience wild. The music here honestly empowers you. In terms of plot, it’s based off a book, but rather than sticking with a simplistic and childish tale, it evolved into a powerful statement of acceptance and love. There’s action. There’s humor. There’s even a little romance. This is quite frankly a movie that has it all. And it deserves to win it all, too. It’s name?

The humble How to Train Your Dragon.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, How to Train Your Dragon was the story of a Viking boy, Hiccup, living on the Island of Berk, where his people must fight for their very survival every day against the hordes of Dragon’s that attack their village. Unlike the other Vikings, Hiccup would rather think before he acts and with dry humor and a slim build, he doesn’t exactly fit in. During one dragon raid, he miraculously downs the most fierce of all the dragons— the Night Fury. In a poignant moment, he decides against killing it and they form an unlikely friendship that changes both his and the dragon’s worlds forever.

Though there are parts of this that sound familiar, especially if you read a lot or watch a lot of movie, there was so much in it that made the movie fresh and exciting. And it’s not just me who thinks this.It was a commercial success. Audiences loved it, and critics did too.  

And yet, it is continually overshadowed by Toy Story 3. Toy Story 3 scored a measly one percent higher than How to Train Your Dragon on RottenTomatoes.com. One percent. One percent.

One. Percent.

Just how much does one percent mean? I cannot fathom why Toy Story 3 is getting recognition as a better movie. It was good, sure. But it just isn’t better. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing exciting. And one percent certainly cannot translate into a shoo-in for the Oscars?

I mean, obviously Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the highest justice in the land. But I’ve read many an speculative list that call it a close second to Toy Story, or don’t even mention it at all as a contender. And this makes me sad.

I get the feeling that simply because it’s Pixar, it will win. I am a huge fan of Pixar’s work. I’ve seen all their movies and admire them for their contributions to the world of animation. But it does bother me when their movies win, year after year. Certainly some of their movies are better by far than others. But honestly, how many times are you going to sit down and watch Up or Wall-E over Kung Fu Panda? For me, at least, I’d rather the latter.

While Toy Story 3 is good, and I suppose it’s earned its praise, there will be many a chance for Pixar to win an award. They aren’t going to just stop making good movies. Just this once, though, I’d like Dreamworks get the recognition it deserves for producing not just brilliantly animated, acted, and scripted movies, but movies that you fall in love with and can’t stop watching year after year.

How to Train Your Dragon is a masterpiece and there has been no movie since that has inspired me more. The story is a lesson we’d all do well learn; it warms you to the heart and shakes you to your core. Beautiful, stunning, and simply gorgeous don’t even begin to do this justice. But, “And the Oscar goes to How to Train Your Dragon,” definitely does.

Loved it? Hated it? You should drop me a comment and share.

–RI

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