Over at The Architizer, Zachery Edelson has taken a thorough and in-depth look at the architecture within the Pixar film The Incredibles. It’s a fascinating read for anyone with even a passing interest in either the film or architecture. yet it highlights an astonishing attention to detail that the filmmakers when the filmmakers could have gotten away with a lot less.
Striving to create an artificial American city replete with all the pre- and post-war traits is certainly a worthy goal, but does the audience even notice? Do studios felt obligated to ensure a degree of accuracy to ensure audience buy-in?
That’s a bit of a tough call, because even though the average man in the street couldn’t tell you the difference between an Art Deco building and a Modern one, he would almost certainly know if the city portrayed in front of him is lacking such buildings.
Which brings up an interesting point: do the extra complexities of modern CGI films demand such accuracy? Do traditional 2-D films get off a bit easier? It’s hard to say, since plenty of hand-drawn films will strive for some semblance of accuracy in their locations. Think New York city in The Simpsons.
With 3-D CGI and the unstoppable march towards photo-realism, it becomes ever trickier to keep things simple. Consider Monsters University and the effort that went into crafting the perfect campus for student monsters. The Incredibles makes a similar effort but being older, doesn’t require near the same amount of detail.
While it’s nice to see all this effort being put into architecture within animated films, it’s worth wondering whether the accuracy is as important as simply making the buildings look and feel right within the film’s setting and whether they add to the overall viewing experience.