Three things have occurred to me since my last blog:
- Judging by the lack of response to my enquiry about favourite animations I am probably blogging to myself. 🙂
- Spending too much time at the computer animating and my daughter’s current obsession with her ice-cream maker is not good for the waistline.
- What makes an animation great is not easy to define.
- My spell checker is set to US English as it is trying to correct favourite to favorite. 🙁
So what does make an animation great?
Since I posted my question ‘What is your favourite animation?’ I have been quietly considering the matter and realised that it is not the simple question that it first seemed. My instant answer was ‘Up’, a Pixar creation (in the Disney days) about an old man who will not give up the house in which he has spent his life with his late wife. The story is one of the strongest that I have seen as an animated movie. It is emotional and allows for the audience to connect on so many different levels and across different ages. At the same time it also has the right level of good family fun which makes it a ‘must see’ in my book. (Looking forward to director Pete Docter’s next release for Pixar, ‘Inside Out’, coming in 2015.)
However it wasn’t long before other animations started to muscle in on the scene (there’s always a scene playing in my brain – yours too I hope). For instance that wonderful sequence in Disney’s Aladdin where Robin Williams’s Genie first appeared (and continued to steal the whole animation). What’s that? A voice artist making a difference to a movie? It was unheard of before Williams but now great stars that can develop characters before they have even moved a pixel are queueing up to make their mark. How could a film that made such a difference to the genre be left out? By the way, the animation is great in Aladdin too; the animators obviously enjoyed the gauntlet laid down by Williams!
Humour clearly goes hand in hand with animation in its area of the entertainment arena. One of the reasons for Aardman’s great success is the humour that they portray so well with their fantastic characters and attention to detail. Their latest movie – ‘The Pirates – in an adventure with scientists’ combines all of those elements so well. The humour doesn’t have to be entirely child oriented either – when I first took my children to see Disney’s ‘Toy Story’ I was so taken by the adult subtext to the jokes that I insisted on taking my husband back with us to watch it again. He too enjoyed it greatly. Again, that appeal to a wide audience is a strong element in the success of an animation.
So there you have it – just a simple matter of a story with a great concept brought together in a well-crafted script including fantastic characters portrayed by gifted actors represented by talented artists with passion and patience – piece of cake! (There goes my waistline again!)