jueves, 28 de abril de 2011

Recent cartoony movies

I recently found out that there are a couple of people-maybe three-who actually read and liked my previous article so I guess it's enough to keep it up. Even though this is extraordinary late in the game.

I think I'm gonna keep the entries shorter, though.

Continuing with the subject of my previous post, there had been some recent american animated movies that almost lacked the artificial pathos of most animated features.

I'd like to comment some of the closer ones.

1-Lilo and Stitch. This was a really well drawn, fun to watch, well designed movie that didn't feel in too many cliches. Even the emotion was mostly subtle and not overdone during most of the movie. For example I find this particular scene pretty great in terms of emotion, and it's not sappy at all.

We get Stitch is sad, but it's subtle and not overly dramatic. In fact it's a funny scene for the most part.

The second half of the movie is not as perfect as the first one. They overdo the "Ohana means family" theme, the introduce the Ugly Duckling analogy and other aspects that you'd usually find in a Disney movie. There's also an action scene which is pretty well done but doesn't totally fit with the tone of the movie.

Still they managed to avoid the good vs evil thing we usually see in the Disney "classics". Most of the characters have good and bad qualities.

2-Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
This is the most cartoony movie I've watched in CGI.It's really funny and almost a pure comedie during it first half. However the motivations and emotions of the main character do include some of the usual "animated" cliches, like "daddy issues" and the wishdom of being recognized. He's kind of the underdog. I wasn't extremely happy with the change of the girl character, though it seemed like a parody of the typical nerdy girl that becomes beautiful without the glasses. This was kind of the opposite, at least that's how Flint character sees it. The movie is also a little overly cartoony too, and by this I mean its frantic rythm is a little too much for a whole movie.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller certainly know about comedy. I guess this time around they thought they had to entertain family audiences and maybe Sony Pictures had some influence too, so they had to include some pathos here and there. I thought his TV series Clone High was completely hilarious. But then again that was for adults (although it wasn't extremely inconvenient for kids).

I guess I'll continue some day.

viernes, 17 de septiembre de 2010

What's up, docs? A mistery: the absence of pure comedies in animation world

This is a blog to talk about cartoons. Especially classic era cartoons. Or not. I haven't decided it yet. Not a lot of pictures either. I'll let that for another blogs. Just talking. Actually I'll not lie: if I don't get any visits I'll probably close the whole blog pretty soon. I'm spanish and my english is not very good. The only reason cause I write this in english is because I think more american people will be interested in it than spanish people.

So here's the thing that's been bothering me for a while. Why nobody has ever made a good animation movie in the spirit of the Looney Tunes? I mean, something that it's hilarious and cartoony, without all those Disney morals. Disney has monopolized the animation market -and I'm not talking about anime here cause it's an entire different monster- in a way that the audience would not conceive any other type of formula. I'm fine with Disney movies, but I want to see other thing. And Pixar is basically the Disney of our days. They make good movies, but the spirit is very similar to Disney's. So where is the Looney Tunesque response to all this Disney spirit? Why can't we have more pure comedies in animated form? People would give you a lot of silly reasons and I want to tell you why they are flawed.

First argument- "Those characters were created for shorts, they would never work in a long feature". Ok, I like Pixar movies as much as the next guy but you're seriously implying that ,say, Woody from Toy Story is a better character than Bugs Bunny? I mean, Bugs Bunny, one of the most defined, charismatic characters ever can't sustain a whole movie when your average Disney princesses are enough for most people.

Second argument- "You can't base a whole feature entirely on laughs" People who defend the previous theory say classic cartoon characters lack dramatic development and you can't make an entire movie based only on laughs. Since then was this a problem for Monty Python? Even some Billy Wilder movies, like One, Two, Three are almost entirely based on laughs. Dramatic conflicts in animation are generally similar to each other and not very complex. Most of the filmmakers still consider animated movies as aimed to children who must understand at least an 80% of the plot. Why don't get rid of the dramatic conflict? If I can sympathise with Daffy Duck in a short, why don't during a whole movie? He's not just a character that makes funny things. He's a funny character. That means that even when he's crying that will probably cause a funny effect for the viewer. But at the same time you feel some pity for the poor guy. You've a bit of both worlds.

Third argument- "Chase schemes and simple plots that were used in the shorts are not appliable to a whole movie". This is a more understandable reason. But that's not something you can't fix with some imagination. A sci-fi spoof like Duck Dodgers could easily sustain a whole movie if done right. You don't even need a great plot if you have great characters. Disney's The Three Caballeros is incredibly entertaining and it has like almost zero plot.

However, The Three Caballeros could never be created in our era. There isn't the creativeness and freedom to make an animated movie without a plot. Do you want plots? Why don't look at comics for example? Old comic strip serials like Thimble Theatre-featuring Popeye- had very long story arcs, filled with jokes too, and they didn't need to overdo the dramatic elements like most animated features. Those were pure comedy based on character personalities. And don't tell me it's a different language, I know that, but at the end of the day those are good plots with a beginning, middle and end, with satire and jokes too, and both kids and adults could enjoy them. Maybe Thimble Theatre was more directed to adults, but what about Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse or Carl Barks' duck stories? Ok, those are more into the adventure genre than pure comedy, but they sure lack the recurrent morals and dramatic conflicts we see in most animated features today.

I'll continue soon (or not).