You're such a Critic

October 07, 2005


With the huge success of The Incredibles, Madagascar, Howls Moving Castle and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (and the arrival this week of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit), is this the new Golden Age of animation?


I believe it is the Golden Age of Animation, but only in reference to the dazzling new computerized effects, not necessarily the stories in these films.

Too many of these films exist to be nothing more than pop-culture tableaux with self-referential references and frankly little else. Shrek was the best of these, but the rest are negligible. At least The Incredibles was more adult-oriented and told a good story. Compare any of these to Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland and see the difference in style and context. As good as animation has become, it is somehow less tactile than Disney hand-drawn animation, but that is admittedly a matter of taste.


They say "try, try, again" ... I guess these cartoonists are taking this too literally. This year's cartoon movies are better than previous. Experience is a teacher, and the only way to learn.


I believe the success of animated movies in this day and age demonstrates the dumbing down of adult society. Either adult filmgoers are getting lazier due to the electronic age or they do not have the intelligence to enjoy a well-made, well-written adult movie. Or it just means that people are having more and more kids.


I do believe we are experiencing a new Golden Age of Animation. More major studios than ever before are clamoring to fill the big screen with animated tales of wonder. But something interesting is also happening at the other end of the spectrum. Animation tools have fallen in price to the point where pretty much anyone with a computer, an idea and a bit of time can make an animated film. See Ringling School of Art and Design's student portfolio for some excellent examples of student work, for instance ( My site - - features both professional and amateur work.

Today, future stars are being spotted on Web sites and film festivals the way stars of a bygone Golden Age were discovered at the local soda fountain. The next few years promise to be interestingly animated.



The biopic, long a Hollywood staple, is a form that is all over theaters these days, from last year's Oscar-winning Ray to new entries like The Greatest Game Ever Played, and, later this month, Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck. The question: How much dramatic license should filmmakers be allowed in presenting these true-life stories? Please send your thoughts in a brief note with your name, city and daytime phone number (and "You're Such a Critic" in the memo field) to

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