Westerns haven’t died out as much as I thought they had, now I think about it. I mean, they did but they are still popping up around the place. I remember in “Argo” in a scene when they are trying to come up with a fake movie idea to cover up their plans to enter Iraq, they decided not to feature a horse because that would automatically make the film a western, and “nobody makes westerns anymore”. That was just after John Wayne had died, one of the kings of the genre back in its hay day. Now though, films like “3:10 to Yuma”, the “True Grit” remake from the Coen brothers, the overtly lengthily named “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and even “Rango” which is by all means a fine Western. These are all fine Westerns, but the beauty of “Django Unchained” is the way it truly brings us back to what a Western was and still can be. It’s not just about dusty brown backgrounds, small towns with saloons and a Sheriff with a star badge, though that is a big part of it. The nostalgia “Django” will bring to lovers of classic Westerns will be just one of the things that make the film truly great and in this day and age, unique.
As far as I’m concerned, last year wasn’t a particularly good year for animation. “Frozen” – a film I don’t dispute the quality of – somehow managed to beat Studio Ghibli’s “The Wind Rises” for the Academy award for Best Animated Feature Film. Whilst, even more inexplicably, “The Croods” and almost sacrilegiously “Despicable Me 2” were also considered for the award. The Academy Awards were six months ago now, and with the release of “How to Train Your Dragon 2” also comes a certain feeling of security, and also confidence. The film will no doubt be nominated for an Academy Award and has a very good chance of winning the award outright, and I’m happy that another of the five slots for nominations will be definitely filled with something actually worth considering, and there is still time left for more.