Of Course You Know, This Means War



The first time I fell in love, it was with the Looney Tunes. That isn't hyperbole. The first time I know I felt genuine, true love for something other than myself, it was while I was absorbing Road Runner, and Daffy Duck, and Spike and Chester cartoons on Sunday afternoons. The Looney Tunes were also the first time I can recall being so enamored with something that I purposefully sought out more information about them. The first research trip to the library I took for something unrelated to school was to borrow a book on this Chuck Jones fellow whose name appeared at the end of the credits on every short. Also, to look up what a "director" was. I remember that discovering that Mel Blanc did all (or most) of the voices for the Tunes prompted one of the fundamental philosophical shifts of my existence, and I was maybe only five or six when it happened.

So, this Every Frame A Painting video from Tony Zhou hits me close to home, and highlights an appreciated but under analysed master of the craft: Chuck Jones. It's only eight minutes, and basically only touches on stuff that could (and should) have hours spent on it, but he does a great job of hitting the high points. Like Jones' evolution from maximalism to minimalism, and from obvious to inferred comedy. But Zhou also says this line, which hit me like a bullet when I heard it:
"Because animation lets you do anything, you have to think about what you won't do."
This is a core concept that modern filmmakers and (more importantly, studios) don't understand. With CGI, the potential to do anything is there, but rather than keep their products grounded in achievablity, they decided that because they can do something, that means they should do it, and as a recent example, this lead to a major motion picture featuring a raptor battle surfing a T-rex in a movie we were meant to take seriously.

Even within the realm of animation, the fact that CG has completely supplanted hand drawn is a symptom of this same misunderstanding. Because computers can do the work faster (only barely) and cheaper (again, only barely) and because it is flashier (considerably) it is deemed better, and the older form falls by the way side. But this discredits the factors that having a human hand physically touching the thing they are creating can bring to the process. To misquote Serenity, eventually they'll come back to the notion that computers can't make things better, and we'll have a resurgence of more grounded products, both in live action and in animation that are the better for it. Until then, at least we have the products of the masters to remind us what is still good in the world.

Via /Film.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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