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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Took the kids to see "The Wild" at the cheap theaters.

I'm not going to bother reviewing this movie (other than the Computer Animation is amazing, if the directing and script are only so-so. There were times I wasn't sure it was animation. That and wasn't this movie already made as Madascar?) Rather, I'm going to use it as a springboard to decry the loss of Disney Animation, and the degeneration of comedy in general.

Disney's 2-D Animation truly transended the medium. What it lacked in visual depth, it made up for in emotional depth. Even the turgid Pocohontas gave the characters a detailed character arc. These things weren't just cartoons; they delved into strong themes, explored deeply into the human condition - even when they were "only" animals. The humor was often intelligent, and motivations were complex. They inspired Dreamworks to reach for the same in their 2-D movies.

Then came computer animation.

To be fair, Pixar has avoided the pitfalls of the CGI trap, and Ice Age and Polar Express strove for more than yucks... but most of the imitators have fallen into the clutches of today's pathetic excuse for comedy.

I tuned into a radio show trying to pick the top five funniest movies of all time. As soon as Porkies was entered as a shoo-in, I changed the channel. "Stupid" comedies have replaced intelligent comedies - largely because Adam Sandler, today's biggest star by box office grosses, has proven the market for such atrocities.

Consider what passes for sit-coms these days. Even the smart ones quickly devolve into purient bedroom humor and bodily function funnies. Grace Under Fire, The Drew Cary Show, Sports Night, to name a few, had strong first seasons with smart humor... then they quickly devolved into sad, unwatchable trash.

Some might say it can't be done -- keeping comedy out of the toilet is too demanding. But Barney Miller, The Dick Van Dyke Show, M*A*S*H (arguably), and a dozen others that stayed smart and clean because the censors said they had to, came out with the funniest series of all time.

And so producers look around at what's successful (because there aren't many alternatives) and decide Computer Animated movies are too expensive to risk being too smart (which says so much about their opinion of us) so they save money on script and concept and dash out something that rakes in the bucks but not the accolades.

It remains to be seen if anyone will recognize the void that Disney created in leaving the stories that only 2-D animation can master, and start creating 2-D movies with depth again. I admit, my hopes aren't very high...

4 comments:

damaris said...

i haven't actually read this post...some reason i'm not really interested in the wild...

but i wanted to say hi anyway.
haha.

Rob said...

It's not about The Wild. That's just my way of sliding into the real topic....

in grace abiding said...

This is Josiah not damaris...
About your other post, i don't think your a bad teacher, you were always one of my favorites(teachers). it sounds like the kids are just being lazy.

damaris said...

i actually read it.
good points. you should write news-paper articles. well certain ones.
if that makes sense.

i miss disney's 2D animation. i know computer is amazing, but it's just not as...i dunno. maybe you're right and it was the stories.

but i liked pixar's older stuff.
like monster's inc; nemo; incredibles...
they were cute. and funny-ish.
but then i watched most of those after a long day of taking care of kids, and still being with kids, so it might have been comic stress relief...haha.

if this makes no sense, blame it on the 5hrs sleep i got last night.