Ace Ventura: Pet Detective shouldn’t really be as funny as it is. It’s random, head scratching and just deeply juvenile, and happens to be one of the funniest films ever made. Why? Jim Carrey. The man is spun gold on camera, and he sells every outlandish minute of this gonzo Looney Toons goofball of a flick. It really wouldn’t work without him. I mean, could you imagine, say, Dustin Hoffman, or John Travolta trying to pull of this kind of malarkey? Ok, I did just laugh really hard picturing that, so it would be funny, but only in an embarrassing way. No, it had to be Carrey, and he’s an engine of unbridled comic mania the entire way through. One acting technique involves basing your performance off of the mannerisms of an animal, and I’ve heard that he chose a cockatoo as the blueprint for Ace. The head bobs, squirrelly movements and that epic, instantly recognizable ocean crest of a hairdo. Makes sense, and I couldn’t unsee it after hearing that. Ace is probably the most eccentric, beloved character Carrey has ever fashioned, and for good reason. He’s like a cannon loaded with jokes, quips, pop culture references, personal space invading antics, a complete lack of inhibitions, a treasure trove of rubber faced muckery and a deep love for any and all creatures of the animal kingdom. Those are pretty much all of the qualities one should look for in a human being. I say that now, but I feel like after spending ten minutes with the guy I’d look for the nearest exit. Ace is on the case, when he’s not goofing off, which is always. Somehow he finds time to search for the missing mascot of the Miami Dolphins, an actual dolphin named Snowflake. The story dimly unfolds in the background of all his tomfoolery, and includes Dan Marino, a suspicious billionaire (Udo Kier, whose exasperation at Carrey’s behaviour looks very un-faked), and an ice queen of a Police Chief played by Sean Young, with an arc that goes to some pretty disturbing places for this kind of light fare. He also finds time to have hot jungle love with Courtney Cox, and speak to people through his asshole like a deranged Muppet, among many other things that will have you questioning why you’re watching it, only to realize it’s like your twentieth viewing and you have no plans to ever stop. It’s Carrey’s show, and he takes it into orbit, never letting the mania subside for a nanosecond. He’s borderline certifiable, which comes in handy when he has to infiltrate a mental facility, because the guy halfway to belonging there anyway. There’s just so many cherished little moments, mannerisms and scenes that don’t ever get old, for those of us that love this character. Carrey shaped the landscape of comedy a lot during this portion of his career, and the mile markers that he released stand tall and undiminished to this day, bringing hilarity to all. The sequel is genius too, and one of those rare follow ups that is just as solid as the first.
Titan AE is one of the best 2D animation ventures out there that isn’t Disney. Science Fiction and animation just seem to inherently go hand in hand (affirming my belief that Treasure Planet is the best one that Disney ever churned out, but that’s another story), perhaps because of the dazzling possibilities in a form of creation like that, tools which make the visual patterns of the artist’s dreams and beautiful renditions of the cosmos a reality. This one nails the visual aspect, but it was story that hooked me ultimately. Along with the artwork there is a boundless creative surge, a very human plotline that’s relatable to anyone who’s ever felt lost or like they don’t fit in. In the year 3028 A.D., a marauding race of aliens called the Drej decide that us humans are a threat, and obliterate earth, leaving few survivors. Dark way to kick off an animated movie, amirite? That’s another great thing about it, it’s not exactly for kids and reaches for themes that are a little more than your standard animated flick, getting fairly intense in the process. One of the few human survivors is young Cale (later played by Matt Damon), whose scientist father (Ron Perlman) was working on an idea that could have greatly advanced our civilization. In the years following the destruction, Cale has been left to wander the galaxy with the sparse, impoverished remains of the human race, now looked down upon by other alien tribes for essentially being homeless. When human Captain Joseph Korso (Bill Pullman) comes to him telling of a mysterious device created by his father long ago, Cale is reluctant, resenting his him for disappearing on the Titan ship so many years before. Soon it becomes clear that Perlman’s device is the key to creating a new earth, and reuniting humanity. Thus begins an epic race across the universe to find it before the Drej do. Drew Barrymore lends her sassy voice talents to Akima, Korso’s tough lieutenant, and there’s also work from John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, Charles Rocket, Alex D. Linz and rapper Tone Loc who has a perfect voice for this kind of thing, playing a kindly alien mentor named Tek. This one is timeless, feeling fresh and vital with each passing decade it’s allowed to age through. A celebration of imagination and the creative force of will that lies inside each and every one of us humans, no matter how dire our situation. Classic stuff.