Wednesday, April 27, 2011

100 Animated Feature Films

One of the curious things about this book by Andrew Osmond is the lack of an adjective in the title. It's not the "100 Best," or "100 Ground-breaking," or even "100 Favourite." The lack of an adjective is evident in the films selected. Osmond has decidedly mixed reactions to Happy Feet, yet it is included. The introduction states that, "the selection is shaped by [the author's] taste, as the entries make clear, but I hope it is not wholly capricious." Try as I might, I found it hard to discern a point of view in these entries. I value Osmond's inclusion of films from all parts of the world and look forward to seeing some of the films that I'm not familiar with, but this isn't so much a book as a collection of unrelated essays. The only thing that holds them together is that they add up to 100 and that they are all about animated features.

I don't insist on agreeing with an author's point of view, but I value the presence of one. Reading these essays, I occasionally picked up some new information, but whether I liked or disliked a film, there was little that challenged my opinion or made me reconsider a film.

Perhaps the format is to blame. One hundred is a nice, round number, but not necessarily a good choice for animated features. Twenty years ago, it would have been hard to assemble a book of 100 animated features and now, perhaps, it's hard to assemble a book of 100 good ones. In addition, as each essay is forced into a standard length of a page and a half, some films are shortchanged and others are given more attention than they deserve. I enjoyed Osmond's book on Spirited Away, but the short length of these pieces does not provide him with the same opportunities to discuss a film.

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