My Nominations: Barefoot Gen. Fire & Ice. Rock & Rule.
Another year without a mainstream Disney feature, but given this is the 80s we more than make up that absence with oddities and Japanese classics. Rock & Rule is a Canadian animated musical, mostly notable for the musical acts involved (Blondie, Iggy Pop, Earth Wind & Fire) and for it being the first animated movie to feature some CG. More interestingly is the plot (it’s not for kids) which sees a faded, bitter rock star in a post apocalyptic world who wants to summon a world eating demon through the power of song. Again, it was the 80s. It’s funny for how weird it is, but it’s very dated and mostly worth seeing for cult value.
Ralph Baski tried to cashki in on the swords and sandals boom of the era by creating Fire & Ice, the story of a princess trying to escape the clutches of an evil Queen and her son as they plan to kidnap her while also wiping out humanity. Again – 80s. It’s maybe the most straight-forwards Baski film, unusual to say as his satires typically deal with modern American society. This is mostly a cut and dry fantasy, but it has an interesting look with plenty of washed out wastelands and action.
That leaves my clear winner. Barefoot Gen is yet another Japanese film rooted in World War 2, though this time it isn’t one which deals with a futuristic world born out of nuclear forces, but instead is one which deals with the immediate impact and aftermath of the bomb. It’s horrific stuff. It’s not up there with the beauty and sadness of Grave Of The Fireflies, but it’s not an easy view for something which at first seems so cutesy. It follows the titular Gen, as he and his family try to get out of Hiroshima. The footage of the bomb dropping is breath-taking stuff, gruesome but wonderfully animated, and everything afterwards is gripping and tragic.
My Winner: Barefoot Gen.
Let us know your winner in the comments!