Rock-a-Doodle

He’s a rebel with a cause.

Animator Don Bluth broke with Disney when he felt the company was straying from Walt’s vision, and has gone on to have a steady career as an outsider fighting for a certain style in family films.

Along the way, he’s birthed the never-ending Land Before Time series, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Anastasia, among others.

One of my favorites is this tale of a Glen Campbell-voiced rooster who becomes an Elvis-style music star, before returning to fight off the diabolical plans of the dastardly Duke of Owls.

It rocks the house down.

 

Coin Operated

Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages of a curious, adventerous young boy intent on launching himself into the great unknown and kissing the stars on the way down.

A clever, beautifully-animated short film about a life-long love of space, as explored through a rickety rocket ship which sits camped outside a local grocery store, it’s a small winner of a film.

In five short minutes director Nicholas Arioli gives us a laugh or two, gently plucks the heartstrings, and tells a complete story.

Job well done.

 

Over the Moon

Love overcomes all.

This simple yet sweet animated film tells the story of a young girl who loses her mother — depicted in delicate scenes which bring to mind the subtle touch shown in Up, another film about loss, and rebirth.

Emotionally devastated, Fei Fei grows into a teenager, where she has to face the possibility her father may have found a second chance at happiness.

Written by, and dedicated to the late Audrey Wells, who died unexpectedly in 2018, it has moments of humor and action, while being about something far grander.

Sometimes you have to let go to move forward.

Muppet Treasure Island

They’ve got cabin fever.

Trapped at sea with dirty no-goodniks like Tim Curry’s silky, sinister Long John Silver, our favorite felt creatures have a grand old time riffing on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale.

Put a sword in Kermit’s hand and he rises to the occasion, becoming a swashbuckler in the vein of Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn.

Fast with the blade, and even-quicker with the quips, he gives all the ladies (or at least Miss Piggy) a serious case of the vapors as only a green love god can.

Fun for the whole family, with something for everyone.

 

Farmageddon

Simple and sweet.

Shaun the Sheep is a good-hearted scamp, and watching his claymation adventures are like having a nice cup of tea while shoulder-deep in a bubble bath.

Aimed at kids, I suppose, but still entertaining for us adults who refuse to act our age, they’re good, wholesome fun, sprinkled with a lot of clever touches.

In this tale of an unusual alien invader causing havoc, my favorite moment is when a farmer drops his dinner when surprised by a UFO — then sneaks back to try and get the steaming-hot chips.

Just a perfect lil’ grace note.