Saturday, August 31, 2013

40 Years Ago Today...

...John Ford passed away. His films and the man are endlessly fascinating to me. And truth be told, if I had to choose between never watching another Ford film or never watching another animated film, animation would be gone. With the possible exception of Disney in his early features and some of Miyazaki, no animated feature director comes within hailing distance of Ford. That's both a comment on Ford's greatness and on animation's failure to engage with the complexities of human life.

3 comments:

Roberto Severino said...

It really is telling when we're still examining Ford's films for inspiration. The man's legacy will continue to live on. Good post.

David Nethery said...

"With the possible exception of Disney in his early features and some of Miyazaki, no animated feature director comes within hailing distance of Ford. That's both a comment on Ford's greatness and on animation's failure to engage with the complexities of human life. "


I must reluctantly agree with that assessment . The big question for me is WHY ? What has kept animated feature films (with very few exceptions) locked in a tower, unable to grow emotionally ? It would seem that drawn animation in particular offers the potential for such freedom of expression for the filmmaker with a high degree of control over every frame , but for the most part mainstream feature length animated films just keep going over the same old ground .

Looking back on it , I think there was a time in the 1980's and 1990's when my generation were simply focused on trying to learn the craft , trying to recapture something which had been developed to a very high level in the Hollywood cartoons of the 30's , 40's , and 50's , but then had been lost, so for the longest time it seemed to be good enough that we could make films which approached that same level of craftsmanship ... and then just as we were starting to figure it out and get almost good at it ... the rug was pulled out from under us and everyone either had to shift gears to learn a new skill (CG) or find a new way of earning a living , apart from working in animation. We had the technical skills , but some really bad decisions were made in terms of the type of stories that were being made in hand drawn animation. The audience lost interest and I think the same will happen (is happening) with CG animation.

Torgo25 said...

I would say part of it is companies like Disney playing it safe, but mainstream audiences don't seem to want to see anything different from the norm either.

It doesn't help when people react to anything that looks different from Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar with statements like "the creators of this had to have been high when they made this."