OPINION: Incredibly Stupid Stuff from Elitists in the Animation Industry
It’s been one week since I watched yet another boring Academy Awards ceremony where Hollywood gives their own awards for creating movies for their peers, and of course celebrities spew their usual liberal rants about how America is an “incarcerated country” or how women don’t have “equal pay”. However, the only thing the Academy got right was the Best Animated Short and Best Animated Feature categories, where Disney’s Feast and Big Hero 6 respectively got the Oscars they deserved. Most of the other films nominated for Best Animated Feature, including a hand-drawn film from Japan called The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, not exactly a movie the general public wants to see. Which proves one thing, there are elitists in the animation industry as well. There’s no question that many of these purists are rather disappointed that the 2D animation art form as a theatrical method in North America is no longer in US market demand as CG movies like Monsters University, Frozen and Big Hero 6 make huge numbers at the box office. And it’s sad to say that many in the largely-unknown animation blogosphere will never believe that the art form is no-longer profitable in the USA. Read blogger Kyle Ostrum, who I usually rely on for news on recent and upcoming animated family movies.
Quality is key, and apparently 2D films don’t fit the modern animation industry’s assembly line methods. That’s all fine and well given the production process of 2D films, but I feel that the “one film every year 2-3 years plan” should be considered. 2D features need to be kept alive in some way, corporate ignorance can only go so far. It can thrive on TV, it can certainly thrive in the features world. There’s also that pesky stigma, the “2D films just aren’t viable” nonsense, but I already ranted about that a million times over…
Now, there’s nothing in the world that can make Mr. Ostrum accept reality. And that’s unfortunately a huge problem in Hollywood. No matter what proof, no matter what the numbers for animated family movies reveal, there’s going to be people who deny reality. That the hand-drawn animation art form outside of the few arthouses in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe, and outside of the television realm with kids, has run its course with the marketplace. No matter what you present, they’re not going to accept it. Just like the far-left and their media minions wouldn’t accept how American Sniper was such a huge hit with the whole of the American public, and not only attacked the film itself, but personally assassinated the character of the film’s subject, Chris Kyle (who wrote the book the movie was based on), as a racist who went on killing sprees.
However, that didn’t stop the film from reaching the $330 million mark at the North American box office. This proves that people are hungry for patriotic and pro-American fare, and have grown so tired of the garbage being passed as entertainment today that they are voting with their dollars. Like Sniper‘s success, there is a vendetta against what the market demands in terms of feature animated content by Hollywood and the entertainment media. For the record, that vendetta isn’t working. The respective successes of films such as Despicable Me, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 prove that. Walt Disney was basically changing to reflect a changing marketplace as well. In 1959, the animated film Sleeping Beauty flopped in theaters, and Mr. Disney wanted to shut down the animation division as a result since his studio had already changed its focus on theme parks, television production, and live-action filmmaking. However, the success of 101 Dalmatians averted all that, but nevertheless animation was still no longer a main focus. That’s a whole other story though.
Then, there are people who work inside the animation industry itself, who have become so jealous of Pixar’s success – as well as the fact they helped revitalize Walt Disney Animation Studios – it’s absurd. Read what Laika CEO Travis Knight had to say when he was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times about a movie they released last year called The Boxtrolls, which failed to connect with audiences like all their other movies.
Animation’s never been more popular than it is right now, and yet as a fan there is a generic sameness to so much of what comes out from the big animation houses[.] If you’re spending those kind of budgets, you have to be calculatingly populist in your approach, it has to feel that every possible demographic will help you make that budget back. By keeping our budgets significantly lower than that, we can take more risks, tell stories that are more challenging.
So what? What does that mean? At the end of the day Travis, your elitism about the industry is what drives audiences away from your product, and like DreamWorks, that’s why your movies don’t do as well as a movie made by Pixar or Disney. The truth is, that aiming at “every possible demographic” (a.k.a. family audiences) is what makes studios such as Pixar so successful. Period. I don’t know a single person who has ever heard of The Boxtrolls, let alone ever heard of that Japanese anime film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. That’s because these kinds of films are aimed at affluent liberals in the big cities.
The idea of brand recognition is also what drives the general public to see an animated movie in droves. Rest-assured the upcoming 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios release, The Peanuts Movie, will definitely be yet another example of this when it’s released this coming November. It’s got all the characters everyone knows from the Peanuts comic strip, especially Charlie Brown and Snoopy. You see, people do want to see animated movies. Even though the CG technique is more expensive to produce family movies with, the public still loves the stories told in this art form, while a movie like The Boxtrolls not only has ugly characters, but also pushes an agenda on children. Comments made by the man who runs the studio that made the film are another reason why there’s no market demand for these kinds of films. That bothersome thing called the market… why must it get in the way?