Friday, April 30, 2010

Animation vs. Live Action

No, this is not a debate about the merits of animation or live action films. Or about adaptations of books. Or anything as deeply intellectual as that.

Here's the question:

Why is animation so lovable? Why are animated characters so much more lovable than real people sometimes?

I'm watching Wall•E right now. And I'm about 8 or so minutes in and he's absolutely adorable! And he's 1. a robot and 2. animated. Very words have even been said so far, and yet you feel this deep connection with this character that's been created. I mean ... you even like the animated cockroach! For goodness sake.

What is it about animation that makes it immediately more accessible than live action? Is it because we watch films to escape and animation, being not real, allows us full escape? Is it because we have complete control over how animation appears because we ourselves are the creators and controllers of it? We control the virtues and flaws of the animated characters, so we accentuate those said virtues and minimize the flaws? And there have to be flaws. If there aren't flaws than we can't identify with said character at all and there is no catharsis or connection I think.

Is it because something about animation reminds us of our childhood, which we long to access and free? Is it because animation comes from the human imagination, which, as it turns out is one of the most beautiful things in all of God's creation?

Generally I've found recently that the movies I feel most guilty about watching are romantic comedies (maybe appropriately so). And sometimes I long for my life to be most like the lives of the characters in those films. But the films which really affect me and which I'll watch over and over again and will relate to most, those are the animated ones. And maybe it's just because I live in a time of really high-class, high-quality animation films ... especially from Pixar. Whatever or whyever, I love animated movies.

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