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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Animation: A Medium That Transcends All Genres

Written By E. Corrado

In recent years I have heard more and more people comparing the latest DreamWorks movie to the latest Pixar movie. Take this year for instance. If someone asked me, which do you like better, Kung Fu Panda or WALL•E, I would think to myself, (and probably ask them), why they are being compared. One is a martial arts/action movie, and the other is an action/adventure/love story between two robots. What connection could they possibly have? The answer - animation.

Since the medium began, people have been comparing one animated movie to the next as though it is a genre. It is not - it is a medium. If you saw two acrylic paintings in a museum, one a landscape and the other a representational wildlife painting, would you compare them? Or, would you compare the landscape to another landscape, acrylic or not, and the wildlife to another of it’s genre? Most likely, you would compare each to the one most similar. Of course, you may of your own preference prefer one over the other, but to compare them for their medium is different from that. It can be done, but it is a different kind of judging. It is judging by medium, not genre.

Animation, like any other art form, is a medium that transcends all genres. It can do anything that you want it to do. Just as you can paint a picture of a sunset with the same kind of paint that you painted a picture of a cat with, you can do an animated drama just as easily as a comedy.

It is not a children’s medium either. While it may often appeal to kids, it can just as easily bore them. They have to be interested in the story, unless you have used such bright, hypnotizing colours that they are just sitting dazed in front of whatever it is they are watching. A movie like Toy Story is loved by children and adults alike. Not just because of the medium, but because of the story. Toy Story is still enjoyed to this day, even though the animation is considered, by today’s standards, outdated. Even back in 1995, that was Pixar’s goal - to make a movie that would stand the test of time, because they knew that the medium would continue to get better. While the animation was the best of it’s day, the story was what counted. It was for the story that people loved the movie, and it is for the story that they still watch it again and again almost 13 years later.

The movies with good stories will be remembered years later, while the ones without them will be lost with all the other movies with weak stories. Whether animated or otherwise, story is key because without it you have nothing but images moving across a screen. Animation is not a genre, because it’s the story that decides the genre, not the medium.

(Remember to bookmark the site and come back next Wednesday for Part 2 written by James P..)