Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Variety Animation Oscar Preview

Today's Daily Variety has a nice article by David Cohen discussing the animated features of 2006. (The print version has several accompanying animation-related articles and a nice chart, handicapping the cartoon contenders for the Oscar, which don't appear to be available online.) I thought the Cohen article interesting for what it didn't do . . .

It didn't declare that there had been too many animated features, or that they were too similar, or that our industry was going straight to hell. Instead, he writes,

"This was supposed to be the year the CG animation bubble burst.

Too many films, warned the analysts. A sure sign of the impending disaster, they said, was all those talking-animal movies. "Over the Hedge"? "Open Season"? Who could tell them apart? Surely, now that the novelty has worn off, auds would just skip them altogether.

But it turned out that it was the pundits, not the auds, who were confused.

My thoughts exactly. Yes, several films tanked. But most didn't, and three of the top seven films this year are fully animated.

Here's another bit I completely agree with:

"The more the merrier," says "Cars" director John Lasseter, who now boasts the title of chief creative officer for both Pixar and the Walt Disney Co. "Look, there's 52 weekends a year, and 14 to 16 animated films came out this year, so there's still plenty of room. I'd much rather be part of a healthy industry than be the only player in a dead industry."


Anonymous said...

Nobody ever says: "Gee, there's just too much live-action product. People will get burned out on live action."

A good movie is a good movie, and more often than not it will find an audience, whatever the format.

"It's the story-telling, stupid."

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Yeah, of course it's the story-telling. And I fully agree with Lasseter's comments. But what happened this year was that a large number of animated films were way too similar in way too many ways (not only to other animated films this year, but from the past too). I wouldn't necessarily call that a "healthy" industry.

And sorry, but to me, the "there's too much live-action" comment doesn't make much sense. People never grow tired of watching people... animation is something completely different visually. Though I DO agree with the intent of that argument. Also, live-action features have so many different genres and stories and types of storytelling, while these days, in the west, most animation seems to only have 1 in all of those categories.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

(And yes, I do realize that last bit was a bit too exaggerated... really what I meant was that too many animated features don't dare to think out-of-the-box... while I don't think that should mean it couldn't be commercial)

Kevin Koch said...

I agree with your sentiments, Benjamin, but I don't think anyone goes to a live-action film to "watch people." We can all do that for free. I think we go to movies for an emotional adventure, and that's the same motivation for live-action or animation.

We definitely need more out-of-the-box thinking in animated storytelling, but if there's one thing this year has shown us, it's that audiences will still go see animated films even if we produce more than one every three years. ;)

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