Gimme some animation!

By Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn)

With 2 boys ages 10 and 6 at home, it's no wonder I am fed a steady diet of kid-friendly movies. Cartoons and animation flicks fall right into that lot. While I personally would prefer to sit down and watch another rerun of Mamma Mia or Love Actually, being a 'dutiful' parent means I also need to spend time with the boys and watch stuff with them. Boy stuff like Ben 10 on Cartoon Network I can do without, but I make compromises on the movies, since they also don't like watching the PowerPuff Girls on CN, sigh.

The latest to have graced the overflowing DVD shelf is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. This is actually one I was looking forward to. Madagascar was a hoot, so I was eager to see what the incredible posse would do again. We first saw it at the theatre back in December, but now that the DVD is home, it's all that's playing recently!

So, what makes this flick so entertaining? Basically, what makes the animation flicks so nice to watch?

Suspension of disbelief. Paired with over-the-top characters and story lines that are far from stupid, and you end up with a pretty good package. Sometimes, I even think I'd prefer to watch an animation flick rather than the latest blockbuster hitting Hollywood.

But, back to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. I wanted to see the posse again, and of course, who can not acknowledge that they wanna 'move it, move it", especially when the hilarious King Julian comes on screen? The first movie was great, but this one was even better. Alex the lion meets his parents in Africa. Marty the zebra becomes part of a herd. Melman the hypochondriac is crowned the local doctor. And Gloria the hippo meets Moto Moto, the hunky hippo all the girl hippos are gaga over.

But, who did I really want to see, apart from King Julian of course? The penguins! These little fellas have created their own personas and almost outshine the lot in the movie. From the brutal takeover of the Dreamworks lad fishing on the moon in the opening credit, to flying the Boeing to take them back to New York, these little guys take the spotlight and rarely let it go.

Little side characters like that have many times taken over an animated movie.

In Ice Age, we are introduced to Scrat, a prehistoric squirrel trying damn hard to stash his loot - a nut - everywhere he possibly can. He's a cutie, isn't he?

Well, in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Scrat gets even more of the spotlight. Even though he doesn't contribute that much to the plot - in the first movie, a mismatched crew of a mammoth, a sloth and a sabre-tooth tiger take a lost human baby back to his father before the ice age comes in - Scrat emerged as a spectacular character. In the second one, he opens the movie, still looking for his nut, but this time while climbing an ice mountain in a scene that winks back to the start of Mission Impossible 2. Then there's the other scene where he fights a bank of piranhas who want to eat him and get his nut. In the Features menu, Scrat even earns his own little flick, No Time For Nuts.

Another side character skit that was hilarious in this series was in the first movie. The gang need to feed the baby, and they come across a water melon, which is jealously guarded by a group of raving lunatic dodos. I could watch this movie just for that scene, where Sid the sloth decides to go get the water melon and fights the dodos in a rugby-like charge, even ending up doing a little dance a la All Blacks (New Zealand's national rugby team) when he gets to 'touchdown'. Coming from the land where the dodo existed (Mauritius), it was fun to see this take on the bird.

Another thing that woes me is the multi-star-studded casts that grace animation flicks nowadays. In my time, the Disneys were voiced over by nobodies, and now stars are tripping over one another to get the 'roles' in those flicks.

The first one to win me through this was Shrek 2. Mind you, I liked Shrek 1, where Mike Myers voiced Shrek, Cameron Diaz voiced Princess Fiona, and Eddie Murphy voiced a hilarous Donkey. But in my opinion, Shrek 2 did even better. Antonio Banderas for Puss in Boots (and his big eyes! Can anyone forget that?) Rupert Everett as a very metrosexual Prince Charming, Julie Andrews as the Queen and a sardonic John Cleese as the King.

Another one that had a brilliant cast was Flushed Away. Another riot - where a domestic mouse ends up flushed away into the sewers of London City and discovers there's a whole world of mice down there. Don't forget the slugs that scream in a very high pitch and even sing "Lonely" by Akon when Roddy, the main character, finds himself all alone in his big Kensington house after leaving the underground.

Roddy was voiced by Hugh Jackman. Rita, the adventurous mouse he falls in love with, is voiced by Kate Winslet. The villain, a megalomaniac toad, voiced by Sir Ian McKellen, who brings help to his minions (one of which, the very stupid one, is played by Bill Nighy) in the form of his French cousin, Le Frog, voiced by Jean Reno.

One scene not to miss in this one - when Rita takes Roddy home, her nearly blind granny mistakes Roddy for Tom Jones and asks him in. When Roddy impersonates the singer, on the tune of "She's a lady", Granny doesn't hesitate to fling her panties at him!

But, but, but - this is where it gets even funnier. These actors 'play' those parts, yes, but have you ever stopped to ponder what the end result is like
In Flushed Away, it goes from left to right...

Shrek 2, left to right again...

But the worst is to come! In Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were Rabbit, left to right once more!

Shuddering, innit?

Now that's another movie that I need to place on this list. Probably one of the best 'British' movies of all time, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were Rabbit is a true little gem. From the love of cheese (Cheeeese, Gromit!) and the one not so glorious Stinking Bishop, the delightful British accents (don't miss Ralph Fiennes as the very uptight and silly Victor Quartermaine), you'll fall over yourself laughing throughout this one! Action, adventure, drama, and romance, all in one!

That being said, personally, I do prefer the Princess stories (saw all of the Disney Princess stories at the theatre, where I dragged my poor dad to accompany me and he spent the time between the opening credits and the final credits sleeping in the seat next to me! Thanks Dad!).

But, being in a household of boys, I have to get my princess stories elsewhere. Thank goodness for romance then!

I'd love to know which animation flick has most struck you. Leave me your comments!
With stories set amidst the rainbow nation of Mauritius, a multicultural island in the Southern Indian Ocean, author Aasiyah Qamar brings you tales of today's young women battling life on all fronts and finding love where they least expect it. Indo-Mauritian culture wants to stifle them in traditions, customs and antiquated morals while the world is opening its arms of modernity and globalisation. Where do these women belong? And more importantly, with whom?Find out more about her first release, The Other Side, here.


  1. More Hugh Jackman! There can never be enough Hugh Jackman... I loved 'Flushed Away', especially Le Frog.

    My husband and I are unabashed fans of animation. Most of the TV I watch is animated series like 'The Family Guy' and the wacky 'Venture Brothers'. And I never say no to 'Spongebob'.

    For films, my favorites recently have been 'Over the Hedge' (has one of the funniest sequences ever - I had a real laughing episode which triggered my asthma - always a good sign for the film but hard to live through) and 'Kung Fu Panda'.

  2. LOVE the Penguins in Madagascar! I think top hollywood talent loves doing animation because A. it pays well, B. it's fun C. they can wear their jeans and no makeup/shaving and D. their cool factor goes up with their kids. And as for TV cartoons - I babysit my two nephews every day (4 and 2 1/2) and love watching Franklin and Arthur and (dare I say it - Ben 10 right along with them. I still love watching the Flinstones (old eps on Teletoon retro) and of course Scooby Doo.

  3. P.S. Here here to "more Hugh Jackman"! ;)

  4. Lol girls, amen to more Hugh Jackman! I just had to find a way to feature that shirtless pic of him in here!

    Julia - I loved Over The Hedge. The scene where the squirrel drinks the coffee and goes in hyper mode where even the super-laser beams appear to come in slow motion is one where I laughed so hard my sides hurt! Sorry to hear it triggered your asthma though. Ouch!

    We watch a lot of animated stuff and cartoons as well, though I do walk away when Bob The Builder comes on! But SpongeBob? Right up my alley!!

    Joanna - Lol, didn't know you were also an official babysitter! The Flintstones were fab, and another that I love is Captain Caveman! That one's a hoot! I also adore the Totally Spies!

    My son is a big big fan of Camp Lazlo. Really silly show, but so funny at times! Chowder too is another hit there. They watch Storm Hawks with their dad.

    And how can I forget Winnie The Pooh? They play the tough guys but they turn into melted honey when Winnie The Pooh comes on! Lol



  5. I love the kid movies, but the last one I got to see was Shrek I. We have no little kids around us any more.

    Love Hugh Jackman shirtless. Grin.


  6. Dearest Z!

    Wonderful post, got me thinking and fantasizing about my childhood favorites!

    I would like to add the fabulous and incredibly informative "Sita Sings The Blues", which is a wonderful way for kids and adults alike to learn the story of Sita, Rama and come away knowing about a whole different culture. Plus, the great torch singing of Annette Hanshaw. It's truly a wonderful gem of a film. For more info, their link is Worth watching!

    And may I take this moment to say GREAT NEW HOME everyone!

  7. I have a special fondness for animated flicks. Ice Age and Shrek 2 were fabulous! A few more that I adore:

    Monsters, Inc.
    The Incredibles.
    Meet the Robinsons.

    Thanks for a very enjoyable post!!

    Chiron O'Keefe

  8. Sandy, thanks for dropping by. Hugh Jackman shirtless is always welcome, innit?

    Nina, I hadn't heard of that movie. I'm gonna try checking it out. Dunno if it'll be available here. Or else maybe it is aired on Zee Network.

    Chiron, we have the DVD of all 3 of the movies you mention. Who can forget Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc? Boo reminds me of my two little nieces (my dad says I ran as much havoc too in my time, sigh...)
    Meet The Robinsons was a hoot. Loved how they took the concept of Time travel and worked it in there.

    Thanks all for your comments! Huge hugs!!


  9. I really related to this post. I've got 4 sons ages 13, 10 and 8 yr old twins so animated movies have dominated for the past several years. My favorites are indeed the Ice Age films and Madagascar movies. By the way...thanks for the yummie pics of Ralph and Hugh ;)


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