Animated flicks get two thumbs up

By Karl Terry: CNJ columnist

In the days of the double-feature movie, I was a big fan of the cartoons in between.

Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn were what I measured good comedy against.

After I grew up, I discovered the Looney Tunes gang still had a lot to offer for adults in tune to their subtle double-entendre. The kids could laugh at the characters’ silliness while the adults got their guffaws from the cleverness of the script writers and the human condition sometimes portrayed by the enduring animated characters.

It’s no wonder that these days my wife and I are just as apt to opt for an animated movie on the big screen or video rental as a comedy drama. No, we don’t have kids or grandkids to take to these features; we just go because we know we’re usually going to get more chuckles and usually a better story moral when we take in an animated flick.

Yeah, that’s right. In case you haven’t been to one yourself, these flicks even have a point to make, which is something you haven’t been able to say about most comedy movies for a long time.

The other night I surprised my wife by bringing home a couple of movies for the weekend. I rented the new animated Pixar movie “Up” along with a comedy drama. Hands down we enjoyed “Up” the most. The only thing I regret is that we didn’t manage to catch it in 3D at the theater. Flat screen HD from my own recliner wasn’t bad though.

It blows my mind just how well done Pixar movies usually are. I don’t know if it’s because the big money that movie stars would normally receive is rerouted into better storyline and writing when you are only using their voice or what. With videos sold to every family with a DVD player and merchandise marketing they have to be the most lucrative entertainment product out there.

My favorite Pixar movies are “Cars,” “Ratatouille” and “Nemo.” For some strange reason I don’t think we ever saw “Toy Story.”

My favorite all-time animated movie is probably Disney’s “Shrek.”

Reaching back to the Disney archives for every vintage animated character and updating them for this century was genius. The creation of the ogre Shrek was pure Disney imagination at its best.

I think movie-makers are on the right track with all the animated features they’re producing. Probably they’ll only get better as the technical horizons expand. My suggestion for theater companies is to package animated films in double features with a couple of Looney Tune shorts in the middle. My reversion to childhood would then be complete.