When most read the Best Animated Feature category, they expect films that are either Pixar related or child friendly. Now, obviously, this is not always the case. For starters, “Persepolis” is an animated film and it is not exactly child friends. “The Illusionist”, for the most part, appears child friendly, but the subject matter is anything but, and I feel as though, in my eyes, that hurts its chances.
“The Illusionist” has some stiff competition and, for an almost silent film, it has a lot to do to grab the Academy’s attention. The noises that come the film are entertaining and help create a unique landscape. The characters rarely speak and when they do, they resemble the teachers straight out of a “Peanuts” cartoon. This adds a special element to the film but does not sway me into choosing it as the winner.
“Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon” appear to me to be true feats of animation. “The Illusionist” is almost a throwback to old-school animation and I appreciated the film if only for that fact. Beyond that, the subject matter was depressing and will probably miss its target audience, if it has one. The film portrays attempted suicide, the death of staples in our society like magicians and ventriloquists, and the birth of consumerism and neediness. Not a light subject matter whatsoever.
The other two nominees simply hit a wider audience, and for that, I still believe “Toy Story 3” will take the gold on Oscar night. “The Illusionist” is a nice film for adults who are willing to read into it and a nice, vintage look at animation in a very current and eye-pleasing way.
(13 OF 41 FILMS REMAINING)-(6 DAYS TO OSCARS)