Old Style

19 Jan, 2005 | EntertainmentTdp

I wrote an article recently, asking whether Disney was finished (I probably should have called it: Is Disney Animation Finished?). Obviously Disney won’t vanish, it won’t collapse and disappear, consigned only to the annals of history, they’re too big (even on a bad year they made $1.73 billion profit), the brand too important. The article was actually inspired by this one, I was walking out of the cinema after seeing The Incredibles and wondered if cel animation was a spent force in the film world. I haven’t seen an animated film recently that wasn’t 3D/CGI.

What nobody seems to have realised is that the animation doesn’t have to look that slick, the scenery doesn’t have to be pinpoint accurate or realistically lit. I can tell you this, because over the holidays I watched Disney’s acclaimed Robin Hood (one of the better choices from the TV controllers). I’ve seen it numerous times but the last time was years ago. It’s still as funny and heart-warming today as it’s ever been, and did I mind that it wasn’t flashy CGI? Not one jot. In fact, when you look closer at Robin Hood, you can see where animation sequences have been reused. The backgrounds are just colour washes with practically no detail, something akin to scenery curtains on a stage. Clothes and fabrics don’t move or flow unless part of the action and the list goes on. You don’t care about those things though, because you’re having too much fun enjoying the story and watching the characters.

So, with that in mind, standard 2D, cel animation (although this is now done using a computer) should still work perfectly well, even on the big screen. It still works on the small screen, just look at how popular The Simpsons is, or South Park (which was fairly popular, despite it’s high rating and adult content, on the big screen too). So there’s no need to abandon ordinary animation of the sort that has been the mainstay for decades just because there’s something new out there. All it needs is a good script, some talented voice actors and away you go.