And the Hobbit movies... well, they were interesting fanfiction with good singing, at the very least. Any kid who tries to substitute them for the book is going to miss an excellent story, though. In the book, Thorin was a Very Important Dwarf that was prone to fancy speech, there was no overt hostility between the elves and dwarves, Thranduil was suspicious solely because the dwarves refused to tell him what they were doing in his land after scaring his court three times... and the dragon was covered in gold and jewels!
I really think computer graphics are overused in movies today. I would much rather see a fantastic creation from Jim Henson's creature house or a skillfully transformed actor than a computerized addition. The Hobbit Trilogy is one victim, but so is the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It lost a lot because the actors never interacted properly with Splinter or the Turtles. I couldn't understand why the 90's movies appealed to me more, until I watched super-closely and saw that April never looked at the right place when she was talking to Splinter, and she and the videographer always were just a smidge off when reacting to the Turtles.
A couple of days ago my best friend recommended The Secret of Kells, though, and I was completely enraptured. It's a 2009 offering from Ireland-France-Belgium, and it is full of everything animation used to be. Traditional animation, no computers, and the art, music, and story are all absolutely stunning. Set 200 years after St. Colmcille passed away, the story centers around the boy that will finish the saint's final work. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys animation.
If you are also a fan of Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma mysteries, The Secret of Kells will make even more sense. St. Colmcille is the monk who set the rules for the Celtic Catholic Church, which stayed closer to the teachings of the Bible than Rome's increasingly misogynistic human-based teachings. The church of Rome eventually eradicated the Celtic Church between the 9th and 11th centuries.
Another awesome movie that I just saw is The Book of Life. Love this movie! Very accurate with the interactions between the family members... it reminds me of some of my friends from Jr. High and High School, since I live within a day's drive of the border. I like all of the casting (especially Placido Domingo as Jorge Sanchez!) except for Ice Cube. His performance as the Candle Maker falls flat, especially with the vi-va-voom of the other's character's patter.
It's a complete contrast to most U.S. animation, since it doesn't foster the anti-family agenda I feel has marked animated films (especially Disney) from the past two decades. Kids have to do what the parents say, and get in trouble if they break the rules. The fathers may not like what their kids want to do or their friends, but they genuinely care about their children and thier futures. There's no feminist anti-man agenda, just a girl who tells the boys 'I belong to no one' and seeks to improve herself while enjoying the boy's reactions to her. And the boys? They love it when she's herself! And they aren't stupid or calculating... that's left to Xibalba, the god of the Land of the Forgotten, who is excellent at it.