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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Animation is a medium where we can create and escape to fantasy worlds. (Part 1)

Written by John C.

Today, there are always new animated movies coming out, so we kind of take them for granted. But, in the golden age of Disney and animation as a whole, it was something special. “The Golden Age”, which is often thought of as the late 1930’s to mid-1960’s, saw the release of classics Disney features and the dawn of classic cartoons like Looney Tunes. After the death of Walt Disney, and the dawn of Hannah Barbara, the medium became known as simply “children's entertainment”, only to be mostly revived in the mid-to-late 1980’s.

Throughout this time, we witnessed the birth of the legendary Pixar Animation Studios, a revival of Disney, and the release of Groundbreaking classics like Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In 1990 Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture. Even though it lost to The Silence of the Lambs, it still proved that animation could be taken just as seriously as any other films. In 1993, was the release of the groundbreaking classic Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and in 1995, Pixar made cinematic history with the release of Toy Story, the first ever animated movie made entirely on computers. The rest is history.

The three films that I have always considered to be the biggest ground breakers in the world of modern animation, are Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which amazingly and realistically combined live actors with hand-drawn animation, and also proved that not everything that uses animation is for kids. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, was brought to life in the painstaking process of stop-motion animation, and again, it is definitely not for little kids. The third film is Toy Story, even though the animation is by today’s terms slightly outdated, the story still holds up. Toy Story was also the dawn of CGI, which right now is going through it’s “Golden Age”.

Even with the release of those three very different films, two of which are really for adults, animation has not been able to shake the persona of “the children’s genre”. So yes, we are in the middle of another “Golden Age”, but the scars of the cheap TV cartoons that came in the mid-to-late 1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980’s, are still hurting the reputation of many animated films.

To Be Continued...

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