Rats! Poo! Duck!

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Disney / Pixar


(5 of 5)

It would be a stretch to call these two frantic studs characters, at least in the Pixar sense. Nor are Aachi and Ssipak standard comic figures like Archie and Jughead; they're more Itchy and Scratchy — excuses for sadistic, sumptuously choreographed mayhem. The best movies may create story and characters that involve, ennoble or devastate the viewer; but not every movie has to. This one is not humane; it may not even be human. After a while, its glamour and vigor can get wearying. But, s--t, is this movie great to look at, from a safe, sanitized distance.

Aachi & Ssipak remind us of the joyous freedom of animation: the freedom its makers have, and the liberation of the audience from the timid constraints of 90% of live-action films. The animators' motto might be: We draw you in. And in that magic or toxic world, anything is possible. Can a dream resolve our waking dilemmas? Can excrement induce ecstasy? Can duck sing a gay version of The Pirates of Penzance? Can a rat be a chef? In animation, the answer is always yes.

And can a cartoon win a "real" Oscar?

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