November 3rd, 2006
|10:19 pm - File under "Snap, Oh"|
My my, but someone's gettin seriously cranky about the sub-par state of mainstream Hollywood feature animation:
Dear Hollywood,This fellow goes on in further detail, as you'd probably expect from a ranty rant-type piece, but concludes rather weakly by suggesting Hollywood just bring in Hayao Miyazaki to SAVE TEH DAY. Perhaps he ran out of beans before finishing, but that's okay. There's enough curbstomps in the piece to excuse the lack of a final knockout punch.
Why are you so lame? Why don't you have a single original idea left in your collective head? Why do you hate audiences? Why do you continue to crank out by-the-numbers animated films that hold ticket-buying families and animation fans in contempt while trying to sell them tie-in merchandise at the same time?
Why did you make me sit through "Barnyard," a movie where a bull with a milk-heavy udder played a guitar and sang Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down?" And why was I expected to take that scene seriously for even one second? Why did that lactating bull's pals have a rave in the barn, dancing to techno and getting fake-drunk on milk and honey? Was it his milk they were drinking? And why did my four-year-old and nine-year-old nieces willingly walk out of that movie with their mother, unconcerned with how it all ended?
Why would I rather watch someone get beheaded on the Internet than sit through another one of these stupid, cheap, insulting, corporate toy commercials? When will the eyeball-scorching awfulness end?
I don't think you have an answer for that last question, studio pals, so I would like to be your guide in the wilderness. You are apartment-bound cats lost in the jungle right now and you need someone to show you the way back to safety. I think you can still save yourselves before you all eat your own tails and audiences begin turning their backs on you. This will be hard advice to follow but I can’t believe that none of you are up to the task.
...please begin wrapping your minds around this truth: you are creatively bankrupt. There's more than one plot in the world but you'd never know that from the movies that get green-lighted. So you must declare a decade-long (at least) moratorium on the fish/lion/bear/mouse/insect-out-of-water thing.
Even my favorite animated feature so far this year, "Flushed Away," from Aardman, the folks responsible for Wallace and Gromit, is about a city mouse that finds himself in the sewer. Where he learns lessons. The same lessons the "Open Season" bear learned. The same lessons the "Madagascar" flock learned. I can now safely assert that for an animal to belong to a group of other animals where that animal can be nurtured and supported — a family that animal can count on — is the most important thing ever in this world for an animal.
To say that this storyline has been been done is an insult to all the other things out there that have simply been done. It's a premise that's been pulverized into a gooey pile of roadkill. So knock it off. Really, does it taste good when you chomp on each other's ideas like this? Because it tastes like wet cardboard on this end.
Miyazaki (and son) have already taken Hollywood by storm. There is only so much that Studio Ghibli can do!!
Totally true. They're just one studio! But what they do is wonderful.
I feel bad because I'd like to say Pixar and John Lasseter will eventually be helping to bring quality back to mainstream American animation, but even Cars this year fell into that fish-out-of-water formula. And I really liked Cars.
I'm hoping future projects are a bit more ... original. *snif*
Even The Incredibles was ultimately a paean to Family, but at least the whole theme of the movie actually fit that ending (since the A-plot was basically a fable about a suburban dad's midlife crisis).
NOTE TO WRITER: Mister Miyazaki and Mister Miyagi are not the same person. One directs animated films, the other is a magical Asian stereotype. Miyazaki-san will not be able to clap his hands together, rub them until they tingle, and massage the animated film industry until it can deliver the Crane Kick to that one kid's face and thereby save Christmas.
Otherwise, that's pretty dead-on.
Yeah, I was with him right up to the Miyazaki Solution.
Since all animated films here are dubbed into Czech, the issue of their quality doesn't really arise for me.