The Deer King GKIDS

Genre film festivals supply a exclusive option to “prestigious” events like Cannes or Sundance. Their lineups are entire of fascinating, shocking, and difficult flicks that can even now be as complicated and clever as any Palme d’Or-profitable Oscar bait — whilst nonetheless offering you ample thrills, gore and specific consequences to continue to keep you awake and stop you from dozing off soon after your tenth screening. 

The Fantasia Movie Pageant in particular also has a background of currently being animation friendly, as it commenced by screening Hong Kong action flicks and Japanese anime back in 1994, having due to the fact premiered these movies as Best Blue, Millennium Actress (Satoshi Kon himself grew to become an yearly fixture of the competition with an award named immediately after the famous filmmaker), Evangelion: 3. You Can (Not) Redo and a lot more. This calendar year was no different, with the festival performing as the home to premieres of almost everything from the to start with grownup animated movie from the Philippines, to the hugely anticipated 30-a long time-in-the-creating stop-movement film from VFX legend Phil Tippett. Devoid of additional ado, here are the very best animated flicks we saw at Fantasia.

The Deer King

From its opening scene, The Deer King evokes movies like Princess Mononoke, with imagery of deer-using warriors and imperial conquest producing the destruction of the normal globe that then calls for divine retribution in the variety of supernatural wolves. But former Ghibli animators Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyaji rapidly make this movie stand out and come to feel refreshing with a eager eye for lovely character animation, and a profound target on the great importance of professional medical science.

The movie follows a former warrior who escapes imprisonment and will become involved in the conflict between an invading empire and the citizens of a land that prays on a divine ailment that only targets the colonizers to survive. Aside from gorgeous animation and dynamic action scenes, The Deer King options a nicely-written connection concerning the stoic, grizzled warrior and the youthful lady he adopts as his daughter soon after conserving her from certain dying, all although portray a photo of a detail-rich entire world you wouldn’t head paying out a lot more time in. Billed as “medical fantasy,” the film’s most significant power is how it stares down the eyes of supernatural beings and curses, and still finds a way of building a medical professional its most significant hero, with imagery and themes that strike more challenging these days.

Cryptozoo Magnolia Shots


Dash Shaw’s follow up to his animated catastrophe comedy My Full Higher School Sinking into the Sea is a cross between Jurassic Park and Amazing Planet filtered by the prism of Yellow Submarine, a psychedelic experience animated movie that defies notions that adult animation in the US can only be uncovered on Television.

The story follows a Lara Croft-like conservationist who rescues mythical creatures from all-around the environment to put them in a sanctuary. The trouble is that it is significantly less of a refuge and extra of an amusement park. The movie usually takes jabs at Disney’s commodification and commercialization of fairy tales while delivering an exhilarating animated movie complete of magical creatures. Following watching this motion picture, you will not be capable to glimpse at unicorns the same way.

Junk Head

A typically a person-gentleman exhibit, with Takahide Hori dealing with all the things from cinematography to visual effects, to the new music, this is a fish-out-of-drinking water tale that is also a religious allegory, a dark sci-fi/fantasy tale, and also a collection of random tangents barely strung with each other. The outcome is a motion picture unlike anything at all you’ve viewed, and a single that screams Hollywood blockbuster although promptly exhibiting why Hollywood would in no way dare do a thing like this.

Mixing references to everything from The Matrix to Aliens, the globe of Junk Head is massive, wealthy with detail, and filled with a perception of heritage, as if we’re only stepping into a corner of a significant, lived-in earth. The visuals provide to thoughts the wild creativity of the Darkish Crystal, whilst the many creature models sense straight out of H.R. Giger’s nightmares.

Minimal Vampire

Joann Sfar’s adaptation of the e book sequence of the identical identify is a adorable children’s animated motion picture that combines heartfelt homages to horror classics, with a sweet coming of age story of friendship.

The film takes some cues from Casper the Pleasant Ghost, following the titular vampire, a kid who can in no way age, and also under no circumstances go away his property. Of course, a person working day he escapes and befriends a human child, but also accidentally unleashes the fury of a supernatural moon-headed creature who swore to damage the minimal vampire’s family centuries back.

The film features spectacular animation and artwork course, with a distinctive visible style that delivers to intellect the expressionist horror films of the ’20s, as properly as a good deal of homages to Hammer Horror films. Also, if you ever wished to see a spooky kid’s motion picture about ghouls and monsters that also doubles down as the most effective pirate film since Gore Verbinski ended his Pirates trilogy, Little Vampire is for you.

Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story

Even though normal audiences may well promptly tune out of the about-the-top dramatics of the to start with grownup animated movie from the Philippines, The Nimfa Dimaano Tale is a wonderful homage to telenovelas and get in touch with-in radio reveals that dominate the country’s enjoyment landscape. The movie follows every single trope in the book, and all those familiar with soap operas will get a large kick out of viewing how Nimfa spots tongue firmly in cheek as it pokes enjoyable at even though also homaging the style. Sure, it is generating pleasurable of the dumb plot twists and in excess of-the-prime people, but it also outcomes in a sweet and exaggerated telenovela in its individual suitable.

The story follows a doing work-class cat who life with her janitor boyfriend in a rundown apartment, right until a person working day she falls in appreciate with the superior-hunting, large-class doggy who appears to be to have taken an desire in her. The movie performs on themes of class, infidelity, enjoy, and additional, utilizing English as a major class separator when making use of anthropomorphic animals to heightened the ofttimes surreal globe of telenovelas. The final result is a hilarious and beautifully animated film that’s also exceptionally ludicrous.

Pompo: The Cinephile

A appreciate letter to cinema, significantly editing, this film features attractive animation and visual representations of the filmmaking procedure — like a person making use of a sword to chop up the traveling reels of film. The problem is that Pompo: The Cinephile feels also clear and harmless.

The story follows a kid genius producer recognised for trashy B-videos who one particular day writes an Oscar bait movie and hires a very first-time director to notice her eyesight. The movie follows the procedure of making that film, skipping most of the challenges and just portraying the pleasurable of becoming all over like-minded people today bringing a tale to existence.

This is no Keep Your Arms Off Eizouken!, but a ridiculously naive movie exactly where bankers help you save the day because everyone is aware of there are no greater champions of creative imagination and art than the financiers. Even now, if you want a cute tale of the generating of a film, you can do worse than Pompo: The Cinephile.

Fortune Favors Woman Nikuko

A disappointing comply with-up to the mesmeric and summary speculate of Children of the Sea, Ayumu Watanabe’s Fortune Favors Girl Nikuko is far more of a collection of slice-of-everyday living vignettes sewn collectively than just about anything resembling an actual plot.

Although the movie does a great task of capturing the awkwardness of currently being 11-many years-old and discovering your self, with fantastic dialogue that feels all-natural, the film’s mainly comedic tone is devoted in essence just to fatphobic jokes. The titular Girl Nikuko is constantly built entertaining of because of her bodyweight (though a comparison to Totoro is a unusual very good joke in the movie, if only mainly because no a person can dislike Totoro). The movie looks amazing, with in depth and expressive character models as well as loaded flora and fauna of the movie’s world. Unfortunately, the movie’s compound hardly ever matches its presentation.

Mad God Phil Tippett

Mad God

A Miltonesque descent into madness, a entire world of savagery and unspeakable monsters soaked in bodily fluids of all kinds, Mad God brings VFX legend Phil Tippett’s nightmares to lifestyle in spectacularly graphic and grand trend. The movie is a showcase the two for the expertise of Studio Tippett and a reminder that the two the studio and prevent-movement animation can still supply photographs no other medium can.

Totally devoid of dialogue, but full of impactful imagery, this feels like the darker sibling of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, a mixture of influences ranging from German expressionist motion pictures, to Dante and a lot more. The movie mixes end-motion with digital effects and even are living-action to supply a rollercoaster trip via hell, with some of the coolest creature layouts due to the fact the ’80s and plenty of gore and violence to satisfy even the most hardcore horror supporters.

Fantasia Competition 2021 ran August 5-25.

The Animated Films We’re Glad We Caught at Fantasia Festival 2021