Is Too Much Emphasis Placed on Making An Animated Film Adult-Friendly?

Via: The Guardian

The other night I was at a house where one of the little ones was watching a film, which happened to be Gnomeo and Juliet. Although it was never a darling of the critics, the film went on to do respectably well at the box office and presumably thereafter.

While it is not the most sophisticated animated film ever released (and the short clips that I saw certainly didn’t enamour me), the little girl who was watching it was completely enthralled. She loved it, and apparently watches it almost every day.

She doesn’t care about poor writing, bad direction or even the reliance on toilet humour. Nope, she loves the film because she thinks its funny.

Clearly Gnomeo and Juliet is precisely the kind of film for kids. It doesn’t promise any grand, over-arching themes and sly adult humour that Pixar does, and that’s OK. It’s intended audience will never know the difference anyway.

Plenty of great animated films have been released over the years that are loved by adults and children that have no mature jokes whatsoever. So do we, as adults, perhaps place too much emphasis on making animated films cater to both adults and children? Is it possible to create an animated film that does without the jokes that only adults will snicker at?

4 Reasons Why Everyone Ought To Watch Rango

Via: Digital Trends

1. The Setting

What’s better than the Wild West, the real Wild West? There’s no shortage of dust, wind or outlaws that liven up the film no end.

2. The Plot

If you thought Wall-E had an environmental/political bent you were dead wrong. There’s nothing more topical at the moment than water and governmental control, or rather, the corrupt nature of it. The movie has an interesting take on it as it uses water as a form of currency, thereby firmly underlining its importance.

3. The Characters

Yes, they’re a nod to Hunter S. Thompson (who makes a cameo appearance) but our eponymous hero is indeed the star of the show. Despite appearing off-kilter, Johhny Depp puts much effort into the performance, the audience’s attention is drawn away from his voice and focused much more on the character himself. Wildly flamboyant and superbly layered, Rango is the star of the show.

The supporting cast is altogether flatter, however that would be the case of any character, save a Mel Brooks creation, when placed beside Rango. The writers at least manage to conceal the true story behind Beans until later in the film, which sets up her confrontation with the Mayor. Again, he’s pretty much a stock villain, although his menace is conveyed through political means rather than physical ones, a much more realistic portrayal. Public enemy Rattlesnake Jake gives the whole setup the hint of evil that it needs to feel realistic.

4. The Laughs

Such wonderful complex humour! hardly a fart joke in sight and the fact that our hero manages to set up so many of them is even more joyful to watch. Rango uses altogether more subtle humour than even Pixar has managed lately and for that, the writers should be commended. I dare say they have raised the bar for animated humour at the theatrical level.


Has Pixar Aligned With Intelligent Design In the ‘Cars’ Universe?

Josh Berta (of P*rtty Sh*tty fame) seems to think so in his piece from yesterday over on Observatory.

The article itself is firmly tounge-in-cheek as evidenced by the following quote:

But there are a couple of crucial elements in the design of this world that point not to a human overlord, but an all-powerful Designer with a bad case of motorhead……if one looks closely enough, cloud formations resembling tire tracks can be seen drifting through the sky. Certainly, it’s no mistake that this most befuddling design element is also the most heavenward. There’s something up there, and It won’t be explained. But It does have a name, and we can thank the tractor trailer character Mack for this revelation. Upon finding his lost friend McQueen late in the second act, he exclaims, “Thank the Manufacturer!” Must we?

The entire thing is well worth a read, especially the comments at the end from those who failed to completely grasp the joke.


Can Animated Films Make You Feel Old?

Movie AgesYesterday’s xkcd comic turned up a bit of a surprise. Oh sure, it made me feel as old as the hills (The Lion King came out how long ago???) and it gave me a good laugh. I couldn’t help noticing the list of movies Randall picked for the comic.

Out of 11 films, 5 of them are animated. That’s just under half!

Those films weren’t the only ones to come out those years so why on earth would Randall choose to use them instead of more live-action ones? It would be safe to argue that the animated movies are in fact better but I’d say it’s more likely that because of animation’s timeless qualities, the films’ ages are much harder to judge and as a result can be used for superior comic effect.

It’s just another reminder that animated films stand the test of time much better than live-action.