He lets me crash in his dimension sometimes.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)   Oh look, another “to be continued”. I’d hoped such wannabe cash grabs had permanently floundered after the post-Potter, post-Twilight finales failed to milk the desired returns (The Hunger Games’ appeal dipped after Catching Fire, while Divergent stumbled so badly, it didn’t even get its Allegiant Part II). We’ve already seen Fast X this summer, and there’s still Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I to come. All of them bloated and overlong to, a greater or lesser extent. Into the Spider-Verse was a sharp, punchy animated breath of fresh air and Spider-Man: Across the

The world laughed at da Vinci too.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)   The main point to note about The Super Mario. Bros Movie is what it isn’t. It isn’t, despite its super-capable princess who absolutely doesn’t need a man to define her, a woke movie. That may not explain the level of its success, but it surely didn’t hinder it either. See also last year’s Top Gun: Maverick. What The Super Mario. Bros Movie also isn’t, however, is especially good. Or maybe it is, if you’re a devotee of the games (I’ve only ever dabbled). Perhaps the key is that, like Maverick, it avoids disrespecting

The giant will be a dead duck.

Gulliver’s Travels (1939)   I’m not such a huge fan of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – I’d attest that it’s a little dull, despite the slender running time – but even given my reservations, it’s easy to see why its reputation has stood the test of time while this attempt by Paramount to cash in on its animated success has been largely forgotten. Gulliver’s Travels is essentially an extended opportunity for Max Fleischer – an acquired taste – to doodle, and so ports over few of the ingredients that make Jonathan Swift’s satire such an engaging and intriguing

My dear friend… let us not forget that heaven is blue.

Yellow Submarine (1968)   The best thing The Beatles ever did? Well, apart from Tomorrow Never Knows. And that’s without their involvement, aside from a brief appearance at the close of the picture (Wiki has it this was a contractual obligation, while the alternate explanation is that, when they saw what director George Dunning and co were cooking up, they readily approved and agreed to feature in the flesh). Forget Theodore Adorno, this is the ultimate version of the Fab Four as fabrications, distilled into much more appealing incarnations of themselves and voiced with wit and distinction by a quintessential

Let’s face it, this is only a cartoon film, and anything goes.

The Twelve Tasks of Asterix (1976)   While I’m a big fan of the Asterix books, at least up until somewhere around Asterix and Son, this is the first time I’ve visited an animated adaptation. Part of that was simply availability; aside from The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, for which I still have a forty-year-old copy of the text album, I was unaware of their existence at an age when they’d have most appealed (I now recognise these things are rarely as good). Part of it was a wish to avoid the live-action versions I was aware of, since it

There’s rabbits and card games and lots of sand.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)   It’s odd how, rather than becoming more insightful as a maturing filmmaker, so reflecting a natural progression of the talent behind The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro has descended ever further into didacticism and overstatement (that is, when he’s even attempting to furnish his pictures with socio-political commentary). It inclines one to doubt him retrospectively. My suggestion is that del Toro sets out with geek intent – “I wanna make Frankenstein! I wanna make Pinocchio! Gimme! Gimme!” – and then pulls back, thinking “But how do I get respect as an

All we need now is an expert in gibberish.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)   One of those Disney animations (the 41st) I felt no great urgency to see. I’m all for them trying something different – I didn’t much care for most of their feted ’90s resurgence – but attempting an animated take on a storyline that would surely have been better suited to live-action (“ATLANTIS – Fewer songs, more explosions” read the crew t-shirts) probably wasn’t the way to go. This and Treasure Planet helped put the nail in the studio’s cell-animation coffin, just as Pixar was doing no wrong (and selling adrenochrome/ loosh addiction to a

Curses and black pudding!

Dougal and the Blue Cat (1970)   On the one hand, children’s fare simultaneously produced with an eye to its appeal to adults – or by adults with no business dabbling in that market – runs the risk of being outright unsuitable. Just look at the history of Disney animation, with its subliminal sex in clouds and nob-shaped heads. And that’s the Mouse House at its most innocuous. At its best though, you end up with filmmakers (or programme makers) who don’t feel there’s any need to talk down to the kidz; it needn’t simply mean masking something very rude.

We’re coming for you, tiny man!

Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)   I’m far from immune to the appeal of the Minions, although I’m much less persuaded by the parent series that spawned them. This second prequel manages to throw in a more-than-healthy slice of Gru, and has him in the title, which rang a mild alarm bell. However, perhaps because this is a pre-reformed supervillain, albeit a pre-reformed supervillain who’s also pre-supervillain – so when it comes down to it, we never really see him all that villainous, ever – I found the overall brew much more appealing, conjuring something of an Austin Powers vibe with its ’70s

Well, he’s not your standard-issue feline.

Lightyear (2022)   Lightyear’s disastrous box-office showing might seem like a miscalculation, based on the pointed finger of the going broke for woke lesbian relationship and kiss disincentivising a section of parents from taking kids to a family movie. That, and a frankly confused status for the hero; this is the movie the toy was based on (so a 1990s animated kids movie featuring a mixed-race lesbian couple; almost as unlikely as “sex” in the clouds in The Lion King and the Centaur with a penis head in Hercules). But the truth is surely that the Buzz’s failure was intentional. How else to