The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#676 Post by movielocke » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:00 pm

Finally reached the 50% mark of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, only three more volumes to go.

Set 1 remains the best on average, even with the gaping holes it left, but the road runner disc and disc 4 of volume three are two of the best efforts of the series. Unfortunately Volume 3 has the dire 'historical curiousities,' disc 2, which is all hollywood parodies, very few of which are very good.

Vol 1 best films:
High Diving Hare
Duck Amuck
Rabbit Fire
Duck Dodgets in the 24 1/2 Century
Feed the Kitty

Vol 2 best films:
Bugs Bunny Rides Again
Beep Beep
Ready, Set, Zoom
Gee Whiz-z-z
Zoom and Bored
What's Opera Doc

vol 3 best films:
The Honey-Mousers
Steal Wool
Birds Anonymous
No Barking


Of all the films in Vol 2 and 3 that I hadn't seen before the list I think only No Barking would have made my list. The brilliant Birds Anonymous, parodying al anon and the Lost Weekend would have come incredibly close, though.

edit: adding in lists of the highlights of volumes 4 and 5 and 6

vol 4 best films:
Operation: Rabbit
Southern Fried Hare
Sahara Hare
Plane Daffy

Plane Daffy might have made my list from this Volume.

Volume 5 Best Films:
Translyvania 6-5000
The Abominable Snow Rabbit
Tweety and the Bean Stalk
Hare Ribbin
The Old Grey Hare
Wacky Wabbit
The Wise Quacking Duck
Wagon Heels
The Tale of Two Kitties

Some of those Bob Clampett Cartoons would have made my list, they're all so terrifically great.

Volume 6 Best Films:

My Little Duckaroo
Crowing Pains
Horton Hatches the Egg
Punch Trunk
Sleepy Time Possum
Last edited by movielocke on Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#677 Post by movielocke » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:01 pm

Caught the premier of Richard Williams, The Thief and the Cobbler: A Moment in Time last night.

This is the final workprint they made of film as it existed the day that funding was pulled. The academy has funded a new scan of the workprint and created a new DCP of it for theatrical projection. All the grit and grime of an editing bed are embedded into the image but the overall color and fidelity are exceptional. It's a treat when it goes to the watercolor temp drawings because you can see so much texture in the image.

On the other hand it's also very disruptive as it bounces continually between a few seconds of finished material, a few seconds of watercolors, a few seconds of pencil drawings, some filler, and back again. It's such a relief -- and Amazing -- when you can see several minutes of finished footage play out, it feels masterful in those sections that are finished.

That said, the story is pretty poor, overall, from the still haphazarad plotting, scene arrangement and on down to the awful character names (yumyum, nod, zigzag, oneeye blech). But nothing can stop the genius of the film when it is in full Looney Tunes mode with Coyote--I mean the Thief--performing his audience slaying antics.

I've only seen bits and pieces of whatever release showed up in a clamshell VHS case in the US, so this was a revelation. The film is wildly ambitious and incredibly visually dense, I can understand why so many people want to see it finished, you ache for everything to work, and the workprint just highlights how badly it needs it and how close they were (it seems like they weren't that close, if they were working 2-4 years from 1988 to may 1992, the film still seems like it's only at 50-60% when it should be closer to 85%). But I could also understand why it may never be finished, or if Williams doesn't really want to see it finished, because it does represent the last efforts of so many now gone Golden Age animators, and perhaps it just just exist as it is.

The film was preceded by Williams' Christmas Carol which has a freaking stunning visual design/style of animation that mimics the original woodblock illustrations of the 1880s and also was color timed to resemble parchment, giving it a phenomenal look. otoh, 20 minutes is too compressed to do the story justice, and the film often pained me at what it was leaving out. Zemeckis' hyper-literal-to-the-text (excepting the awful producer required chase thinger at the end), Christmas Carol, clearly owes a visual debt to Williams' take as well.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#678 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:05 pm

If you get a chance to see the fancut, I'd be really interested to know how it compares to what you saw in the theater- the fancut gets from one place to the other using storyboards and such a lot, but overall the plot (and more importantly, the visual flow) mostly hangs together. Is that still true of the version you saw?

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#679 Post by movielocke » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:13 pm

the plot's what I would call deliberately fat. As an editor you often leave things in you know are going to come out, or leave things in an arrangement you know won't be final because it's an 'easy note.' There's almost nothing worse you can do than deliver a piece of television that doesn't have room for notes. Leaving a cut deliberately fat results in easy to identify places for producers to make a note--that makes the producers feel smart and important and necessary and creatively valid etc--and you don't have to do anything you didn't already want to do or plan on doing. So it very much feels like it's not yet been tightened up audiences. The things you'd expect to change are pretty obvious, introduce Zig Zag's plot a scene earlier, bring in the threat of one-eye earlier. I imagine the fancuts do something like that, is there a good resource that talks about the various differences?

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zedz
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#680 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:23 pm

movielocke wrote:The film is wildly ambitious and incredibly visually dense, I can understand why so many people want to see it finished, you ache for everything to work, and the workprint just highlights how badly it needs it and how close they were (it seems like they weren't that close, if they were working 2-4 years from 1988 to may 1992, the film still seems like it's only at 50-60% when it should be closer to 85%). But I could also understand why it may never be finished, or if Williams doesn't really want to see it finished, because it does represent the last efforts of so many now gone Golden Age animators, and perhaps it just just exist as it is.
According to the documentary, the big problem with the film, and the reason why we'll never see a finished version, is that there isn't even a finished script. They were still writing and animating new stuff to try and hold the set pieces together as the axe fell. Unbelievably, nobody ever actually planned out the entire film, so nobody at any stage - not even Williams - ever knew the true scope of the production.

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zedz
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#681 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:28 pm

movielocke wrote:the plot's what I would call deliberately fat. As an editor you often leave things in you know are going to come out, or leave things in an arrangement you know won't be final because it's an 'easy note.'
This is fair enough for a live action film, but it's fairly suicidal for an animated feature. The last thing you want to do is waste thousands of workhours animating a complex sequence that you can't use.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#682 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:19 am

Don't know where else to post this, but the lost 70s Sesame Street short Crack Master has finally emerged (who knows for how long).

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#683 Post by swo17 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:32 pm

That's really cool. This link provides some background.

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Emak-Bakia
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#684 Post by Emak-Bakia » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:51 pm

It's a Crackmas miracle! Thanks for sharing, Cold Bishop.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#685 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:57 pm

I'd never heard of the controversy/quest to track it down before, but I don't really see what's so unnerving about it-- I thought the whole thing was cute!

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colinr0380
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#686 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:56 am

As with the horror list, I'll try and throw films in here from time to time, even though we've done with the voting. I actually voted for the below in my animation list, although perhaps this neatly illustrates the fluidity of genre, as it could easily have gone into the musicals section (or sci-fi when we get to it!):

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is a neat animation entirely built around the tracklisting of Daft Punk's space opera album Discovery. It gets a little bit frantic at times as the action and edits regularly move along to the beat of the music, but it puts across its interesting sci-fi story well.

Here's the story: an evil record producer visits a galaxy of blue-skinned aliens (playing One More Time), raids their latest concert show, gasses everyone and takes the band back to his lair (Aerodynamic). One fan in love with the main female singer on his guitar shaped spaceship (singing along to Digital Love while cleaning the outside of the ship and then to the singer's poster in his room) gets the distress call and jumps into action to pursue the kidnappers.

Meanwhile the band are given a robotic makeover and sprayed with human-coloured skin (to the strains of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, and this section also has strains of the robots trying to wear human masks from Electroma. Not to mention the sequence features a beautiful recreation of the dream-recording machine from Brainstorm!) and put on the stage and relentless touring (to the track of Crescendolls, which becomes the band's name) by the producer to perform for him.

The rest of the film follows the same tracklisting as the album, as the band are saved, but at a cost, and then work to bring down the evil producer (who it is suggested has done this with every famous music act in Earth's history!) before getting back to their own dimension for their next scheduled concert.

Surprisingly for a music film Interstella 5555 also throws in moments of tragedy (a mid-film funeral and soul-returning-to-the-ether section to the Voyager track) and a subplot about the coercion of the music business (a little like Derek Jarman's Jubilee only with punk exchanged for dance music electronica!) and relentless touring that eventually gets contrasted against music bringing two galaxies together without the need for kidnapping!

And (spoiler) I love the final scene of the film in which it is all revealed as a child's dream-world creation involving his toys all whilst the album was playing in the background, with the child being put snugly to bed by his parents as the final comforting image of safety.

The entire film is available here at the moment.

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#687 Post by movielocke » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:30 pm

Finished Vol. 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden collections, over 200 Looney Tunes. yipes!

Disc one is one of the best discs they've put together, it collected many of the masterpieces that got tons of television circulation (at least I remember seeing some of these dozens of times) that had not yet been covered in the first three sets. If you watched Looney Tunes on TV in the 80s, this disc probably contains some of your favorites:

Operation: Rabbit
Southern Fried Hare
Sahara Hare

are the three best films of the disc, but it is probably the strongest disc of the set, with Grey Hounded Hare, Rabbit Hood, Mississippi Hare, Forward March Hare, Barbary-Coast Bunny, To Hare is Human and the brilliant 8 Ball Bunny all worthy of consideration (next time around), just from Disc 1!

Disc 2 is more haphazard, but it has the highlight, Plane Daffy, which might be the best WWII era Looney Tune that I've seen. absolutely brilliant, definitively, the best early Daffy cartoon made, imo.

also on disc two are the following outstanding shorts, which are terrific but not quite up the the greatness of Plane Daffy: Cracked Ice, Puss n Booty, I Got Plenty of Mutton and the delightful Stupid Cupid.

There are plenty of cartoons on discs 3 and 4 that are excellent, of that caliber, but none that achieve the perfection of the main four I highlighted. Disc 3 is all Speedy Gonzales, but the best Speedy was already on an earlier volume. Unlike Road Runner, Speedy never quite hits that next level of brilliance. These other standout shorts from disc 3 are. Cat Tails for Two, West of the Pesos, The Pied Piper of Guadalupe, a Message to Gracias, Pancho's Hideaway, and The Wild Chase.

Disc 4 has no standout cartoons, unfortunately. Several are above average, and quite funny, but none are excellent.
edit
Adding in my thoughts on Volume 5

Overall, Volume 5 is one of the strongest entries in the Golden Collection series and is a huge step up from Volumes 3 and 4.

Disc One is a superbly strong disc with two standouts, Translyvania 6-5000 and the Abominable Snow Rabbit. These two were in heavy rotation in my youth, so some of my fondness my stem from familiarity, but I still felt they were the best of the lot.

The embarrassment of riches on Disc One is really superb, 14 Carrot Rabbit, Ali Bab Bunny, Buccaneer Bunny, A Star is Bored, Stupor Salesman, Super Snooper, Up Standing Sitter and Hollywood Daffy are all top notch, most of them better than the vast majority of cartoons on volumes 3 or 4. This disc, and disc three, are two cannot miss revisits for any future iterations of the animation list.

Disc Two is themed for Fairy Tales, and is a solid effort, with no real misses, but very few actual hits. Tweety and the Beanstalk was the clear cream of the crop, a fantastically funny iteration of the fable.

Other excellent, but shy of great, cartoons include: Paying the Piper, Little Red Rodent Hood, Little Red Walking Hood, The Turn Tale Wolf and the atypical Tom Thumb in Trouble, which is early Chuck Jones trying hard to imitate Disney and succeeding.

Disc Three reveals WB to have been holding out on us, because it is singularly the best disc of all twenty discs I've watched. This disc is all Bob Clampett. It starts off a bit rough, with the letdowns of Crazy Cruise and Farm Frolics, but as soon as it gets to the fifth Cartoon, Hare Ribbin--a masterpiece of Bugs--it is hard to turn off the disc, and the brilliance doesn't let up. There are four back to back cartoons that are among the very best of all five volumes of the Golden Collection: The Old Grey Hare, Wacky Wabbit, Wise Quacking Duck and Wagon Heels, as well as the Tale of Two Kitties. Bashful Buzzard also makes an appearance, but is not quite as great as the above mentioned.

Clampett overall SHINES in this disc, and I think he is much better served by his dedicated disc than Freleng or Tashlin got.

Disc Four is inevitably a letdown from the heights of the Clampett era, but it features the fan-demanded thirties cartoons, as the theme of the set is "Early Daze". Many of these are indifferent, some rise up to good, but the best are pretty much the later Porky cartoons of the era. Porky's Double Trouble, Wise Quacks, Wholly Smoke, and What Price Porky are all excellent.

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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#688 Post by jindianajonz » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:54 am

Just saw this morning (via a sponsored Facebook ad, of all places) that Don Hertzfeldt's Bitter Films shop is permanently closing at the end of June. He says the shop is less necessry these days, and it's time to move in a new directions (I assume streaming). Still, if there's something you want, now is the time to get it!

EDIT: He's offering a bundle of all four of his DVDs for $35

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#689 Post by movielocke » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:01 pm

Ah, I see I forgot to ever put up a run down of Looney Tunes Collection Volume 6

After the exuberant excellence of Volume 5, Volume 6 was back to the bad old days of Volumes 3 and 4.

But WB does manage to sneak on 15 bonus cartoons, but they are also old telecines vs the new telecines of the 60 primary cartoons. so it's like having 5 discs of the previous volumes.

There are 5 standout cartoons on the entire set and they're all on disc 1 and 4.

Disc 1 is "All Stars" and it quickly peaks at cartoons four and five, the Chuck Jones Daffy Duck Porky Pig Western "My Little Duckaroo" is spectacular fun, followed by Bob McKimson's Sylvester, Henery, Foghorn cartoon Crowing Pains.

My favorite Duck and To Duck or Not to Duck and from the bonus cartoons Hippity Hopper and Rabbit Rampage are all excellent cartoons as well. It's a shame those latter two have old transfers.

Disc 2 is Patriotic Pals and it's mostly full of average WWII cartoons. There is one cartoon on the disc that is as good as the last four I mentioned, the Norman McCabe film The Ducktators which is a pretty stunning little Animal Farm esque allegory. Definitely much better than most of the rest of the inoffensive WWII space filler they filled the disc with.

Disc 3 is Bosko Buddy and the Merrie Melodies.
This disc is utterly dire. It's full of curiousities for animation scholars, but there's not a single noteworthy film on the disc. The closest thing is A Cartoonists Nightmare and it's not that great, just different enough or interesting enough with its self reflexivity to stand out.

Disc 4 is Most Requested Assorted nuts and one shots.
It starts off great with Horton Hatches the Egg, which is a slower burn of a story than I remembered, but damn does it manage a dramatically satisfying (and cynically comic) arc. The other two standouts are both amongst the bonus cartoons, so it's a goddamned shame we have to have them in old telecines: Chuck Jones' Punch Trunk and Robert McKimson's Sleepy Time Possum.

Punch Trunk in particular I am fucking delighted to find. I thought I had hallucinated the cartoon, this is the cartoon where a miniature elephent 'terrorizes' a city, it's goddamned brilliant, but never mentioned. I'd seen it as a kid, but since then I've seen One Froggy Evening so many times (and heard it praised and overpraised so many times) that as an adult I convinced myself that kid me had simply gotten a cartoon with a miniature elephant and a singing frog mixed up.

The rest of the disc is pretty strong, there are more standouts on this disc than the other three discs combined. Chow Hound, Rocket Bye Baby, Goo Goo Goliath, Hole Idea, Page Miss Glory and Wild Wild World are all excellent. And this being the fan request, even the other not-quite-as-good films are usually pretty fascinating from an animation perspective (like Now Hear This) even if they aren't all that great of films.

I edited my above list at the top of this page to include the breakdown of the greatest films from each set. It works out to 33 films. I would revisit all of those in particular before another list

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zedz
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#690 Post by zedz » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:48 pm

Just stumbled across this English-friendly release of the complete works of master Estonian animator Priit Parn. Does anybody have this set?

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#691 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:59 pm

No, but I've been meaning to pick it up the next time I place a big order from Europe.


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Timec
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#693 Post by Timec » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:37 am

That's fantastic news—the first set is one of my most treasured discs.

Perhaps re-post this in the crowdfunding thread so more people get a chance to see it?

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zedz
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#694 Post by zedz » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:15 pm

Timec wrote:
That's fantastic news—the first set is one of my most treasured discs.

Perhaps re-post this in the crowdfunding thread so more people get a chance to see it?
Obviously it's a great project, but I'm definitely ambivalent about supporting CVM.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#695 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:41 pm

Why? I hadn't heard anything about them.

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knives
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#696 Post by knives » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:33 am

In trying to find out if he was alive and if so hold old he is I found this great interview with Depattie-Freleng director Art Leonardi that he did a few years ago for the animators guild. It's long, but well worth the listen. By the way the answers seem to be yes and between 79-98 respectively.

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#697 Post by swo17 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:13 am

Oskar Fischinger's Raumlichtkunst will be exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from Oct. 28 through February!

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jazzo
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Discombobulations

#698 Post by jazzo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:40 pm

Just offering an idea for a roving topic, which would (will?) contain random thoughts and observations on films, old and new, that would not (and probably should not) cotton to full discussions. Could be big or small. I’ll leave that where it lies and offer a couple of examples to start off.

MODERN ANIMATION

As my two children (4 and 6) delve deeper in modern animation, I’ve come to the conclusion that John Lasseter and the whole Pixar team never met an ethnic/racial stereotype they didn’t like. They’re, of course, not alone as a studio, with plenty of racist characterizations populating the cinemas. And it’s just there, and so benignly accepted. I wonder if it can be traced down to generational DNA of the filmmakers, speaking more to their obliviousness than malevolence. I don’t think that they do it on purpose, but it honestly isn’t that far removed from the racism in the cartoons from the 30’s 40’s and 50’s, without the benefit of societal ignorance as an excuse.

What offends me almost as much is, it’s just lazy shorthand in lieu of actual depth of character. Almost all of the ethnic characters are played only for laughs, or simply relegated to support or sidekick status with no real impact on the development of theme/story. I’m half-Maltese, a quarter Scottish and quarter Irish. My wife is Macedonian, but for all intents and purposes, we are both white. So are our children. So from that point of view, not only is this patronizing depiction of other cultures and peoples their first exposure to ethnic characters in cinema, it is also in direct opposition to any actual persons of different cultural backgrounds that they might have met as friends or classmates or extended family members.

And, while I’m not happy that my children are being exposed to this at such an early age (especially when they impersonate the Cheech Marin or Jennifer Lewis characters in CARS, or Kevin Hart in PETS {and, Jesus, is that picture one unfunny piece of shit}), I also don’t want to prevent them from seeing something simply because it might contain something offensive. And at least when it is there, we can have a discussion afterwards about why dad thinks it’s so wrong.

But I will also offer this realization:

BIG HERO 6, while not my favourite animated film in the world (though I was very pleasantly surprised by it), is the first time that I can recall a modern populist piece of North American animation that has a protagonist and most of its supporting characters made up of different ethnicities and/or mixed race. Even more impressive, the production cast voice actors that mirror the ethnicities of their characters, yet all speak without a hint of racial stereotype or diction. Which seems a very progressive step forward from when the world took two steps back last November.


And this, too:

ZOOTOPIA’s very theme hovers around compassion and tolerance, and it plays it beautifully without a hint of condescension to other cultures. Removing how smart I think the film’s screenplay and world-building are, Zootopia is populated by a mosaic of races/ethnicities, but their only distinguishing features are the physical attributes of their species, not accent or language.

Bravo.

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Re: Discombobulations

#699 Post by swo17 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:38 pm

jazzo wrote:Which seems a very progressive step forward from when the world took two steps back last November.
But Big Hero 6 came out three years ago?

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jazzo
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Re: Discombobulations

#700 Post by jazzo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:41 am

swo17 wrote:
jazzo wrote:Which seems a very progressive step forward from when the world took two steps back last November.
But Big Hero 6 came out three years ago?
You're right. We've only just caught it because my kids are finally old enough to see/understand it. I just wasn't clear and meant on a personal level.

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