The Art of Animation


I can’t think of anyone that watches, analyzes and loves as many types of movies as I do, or more specifically animated films and shorts. I often rant to my family members about the beauty of animation and how dissatisfied I am with people’s lackluster opinions of it.  It is part of my search for truth and great creations. Recently I watched The Black Cauldron (1985) and marveled at the intricate and compelling visuals, especially in the chase scene between Hen Wen and the Horned King’s flying creatures. However, everything else about the film was average so it lives in relative obscurity. As I sat pondering its significance I became inspired to look through all my favorite films and relive the animated moments that I love. Before long it became a giant blogging enterprise. Though I don’t have very many followers, I want those who do read my reviews to see the mastery of animation and its significance in our culture.

What is animation? Specifically it is “the process of creating a continuous motion and shape change illusion by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other”. In other words, Thousands of slightly different pictures are placed together and run at high speed in order to create the illusion of movement. Knowing this brings new meaning to films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and the old Looney Tunes cartoons. Why? Because those many short 7-8 minute cartoons we take advantage of took years and years of drawing and editing to create. Think how long a full animated feature took. I know that most people think that animation is only a form of children’s entertainment. That is the myth that has been created tragically by commercialism and the standards of the early 20th century. Ironically, what originally began as as a great artistic achievement/enterprise, became the playground for those looking for big profit.  The same can be said for all films, however I have seen this predominantly in animation. For example, at the Oscars for 2013 Frozen won unanimously even though the judges hadn’t even seen all the films (specifically The Wind Rises) and half of them abstained. Frozen was basically chosen because it was familiar and popular. (Sorry Frozen fans. I love the film too, just not as much as Hayao Miyazaki.)  This idea perplexes and bothers me because inevitably when something is portrayed or advertised for children it automatically is labeled as “childish”. In my opinion, animation is an art form and should be given the utmost attention and credit.

The history of animation began with simple cartoons and shorts of the early 20th century and grew into the Frozens and Despicable Me 2s of today. In twelve subsequent posts I want to highlight some of the iconic animated sequences of film. I have done extensive research and have watched hours and hours of shorts and sequences (hours of my time that I wish I could take back) so that I could confidently talk about this subject without sounding like an imbecile. If you have any suggestions after reading this about some you think should be on this list, by all means post them and I will watch them and tell you what I think. I am not perfect (it is impossible for me to have watched  EVERY cartoon and movie ever made) nor do I hold the same standards for films that most people have (nothing R-rated please). I don’t think The Simpsons is the greatest animated series of all time, nor do I like Ghost in the Shell (1995) or Akira (1988) from the 80’s and 90’s.  In regards to the films, I am not saying that is all they are nor am I saying I don’t regard them as great animated works. In other words, don’t misunderstand me and replace dislike with disrespect. What I look for in films is something beautiful that doesn’t accept immorality or wanton violence as acceptable entertainment. I hope many find something they enjoy.



Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s