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Our favorite things from the Incredibles 2 home release

Blu-Ray, Brad Bird, Incredibles 2, Pixar Employees, Review

Posted by Simoa • November 19, 2018

How many times did you see Incredibles 2 in theaters? But maybe the more important question is how many times do you plan on watching it now that it’s been released on digital and Blu ray? You can watch the movie again (or for the very first time!) in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere else with your laptops, iphones, and other devices. But the really amazing thing is that you don’t have just the movie at your fingertips, but a wealth of bonus features. As is the case with Pixar home releases, you can expect both quality and quantity.

 

Joanna and I were so excited about the special features that we teamed up for this post to break them all down. Read on for our favorites!

Audio Commentary

Here, Joanna found some pretty cool highlights:

I’m always a fan of the Pixar audio commentaries, and I remember especially loving it on the original The Incredibles DVD because you had the choice to listen to either the director’s commentary or the animator commentary. The animator commentary makes you see the movie in a whole new light, and it really gives you an insight into how the whole animation process works. It feels like such a treat to have the commentary on Incredibles 2 led by animators again (supervising animators Dave Mullins, Alan Barillaro, and Tony Fucile, and animation second unit and crowds supervisor, and also the voice of Kari, Bret Parker). These animators all worked on The Incredibles back in 2004, and it was so interesting to hear about the technological advances and how much has changed (for the better!) in how animated movies are created.

There are also some great Easter Egg reveals in the commentary – the Godzilla-like creature shown on the TV during the motel dinner scene is actually Jonesy the iguana from “Toy Story of Terror!” And the ‘num-num cookies’ that Jack-Jack will do anything for are based off of the apparently delicious cookies that are served in the Pixar cafeteria.

If you missed Kari the babysitter in Incredibles 2, then you’ll want to keep listening right to the end – in what can only be described as the perfect finale to the commentary, Bret Parker brings her back to life as the credits roll down the screen.

Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird

Brad Bird’s passion for animation is irresistible. Running about 20 minutes long, “Strong Coffee” is a tribute to the director. Joanna says that this featurette really shows how much Brad Bird pushes the team. She always thought The Incredibles was a leap forward for Pixar – there was such a noticeable improvement in human animation, facial expressions, gestures, and performances. Incredibles 2 feels like Pixar have bounded forwards again.

In Simoa’s view, “Strong Coffee” functions as a mini documentary, where the subjects are Brad and animation. The director discusses his beginnings at Disney Animation, where he was mentored by the legendary Milt Kahl when he was still a child. (And that mentorship preceded any official program offered by Disney). Fans of Kahl will also be delighted to see some footage of him, as well as Brad’s fond reminisces of his mentor and Disney’s other elite animators, known as the Nine Old Men, who continue to influence him today.

 

Here is a young Brad Bird, looking exactly the same as he does now, with Classic Hollywood and Disney Legend, Fred MacMurray. Unfortunately we don’t have any more details on this photo, but we’re glad it exists!

Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes

Love hearing Pixarians describe their jobs and the challenges and joys of each film? Paths to Pixar gives viewers just that, but the director, producer, artists, technicians, and animators talk about another job they do at home that’s just as inspiring and challenging: parenting. You may be surprised by this featurette, as some of these Pixarians reveal their vulnerabilities and uncertainties when it comes to both jobs. I think parents and aspiring parents will appreciate this featurette because it’s so honest. Anyone with children of their own can relate to the struggles depicted here, the overwhelming love of family, and the determination, particularly of the women, to be working mothers who don’t have to sacrifice family or work.

Super Scene Breakdowns

With Elastigirl front and center in Incredibles 2, it’s only fitting that one of the bonus features focused on her. A team of women, including producer Nicole Paradis Grindle, animators Amanda Wagner and Jessica Torres, and tailoring lead Fran Kalal were on hand to discuss her expanded role. But that’s not all! They also provided insight into their own roles on the film and how excited they were for her to be in the spotlight.

 

“Racoon Fight” was of course about the film’s scene stealer, Jack-Jack, and how that epic fight came to be. Here, Brad Bird is joined by producer John Walker, story artist Pete Sohn, animator Kevin O’Hara, and layout artist Mike Leonard. This scene was so popular back when Teddy Newton pitched the idea for the first film, and Brad was adamant that it be in the sequel.

Getting to learn about the behind the scenes is always a treat, because everyone’s passion and enthusiasm is tangible, and the details are fascinating.

Easter Eggs

Joanna’s a pro at finding these!

On the UK Blu-ray for Incredibles 2, one of the bonus features listed on the case is simply ‘Easter Eggs’, and I think I may have found them. In the Bonus Features section, while you’re hovering over Bao, press up twice, and you’ll be shown a couple of animation outtakes. One shows Evelyn stroking a teddy bear (?!) while watching Bob and hypnotised-Helen fight. And the other shows Evelyn talking to Helen through the glass of the cold room, pausing to rub off the condensation her breath has made.

If you press right twice while hovering over Bao, you’re shown a hilarious clip of Brad Bird telling a story about the inspiration for the iconic raccoon scene – Brad’s dog had a scary encounter with a raccoon at his old house, and Brad was forced to (in Brad’s words) punt the raccoon off of his beloved pet.

“The raccoon flew maybe 5 feet or something, landed and then just CUSSED ME OUT. And then it was like, ‘I’M COMIN’ BACK FOR YOU, POODLE. THIS ISN’T OVER.’”

It’s absolutely worth a watch just to see Brad’s impeccable impersonations of his dog and the raccoon. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded Brad adding ‘Raccoon’ to his list of voice acting roles in Incredibles 2.

Heroes and Villains

Once again, I’m just blown away by the amount of attention and detail that characterizes Pixar’s approach to filmmaking. So much about these bonus features is illuminating. I guarantee everyone will learn something new and come away with even more appreciation for the film itself. For example, character and costume designer Deanna Marsigliese based one of the wannabe supers, Brick, on herself.

See the clip below detailing Winston Deavor’s design and personality.

Deleted Scenes

A total of ten scenes ultimately didn’t make the cut, but they would’ve been great additions to the film! Thankfully they are included here, and what I wouldn’t give to see them as actual fully animated shorts! But the storyboard versions are really appealing. Fans who were hoping for more screentime of Frozone’s wife Honey may be disappointed by “Frozone and Honey,” since it rehashes the supersuit gag from the first film. Brad Bird’s favorite of these is “Kari Revisited,” which you can watch below.

This is yet another gem to be added to your collection, if you love Pixar and love moviemaking.

Have you had a chance to watch any of these and the other bonus features? Let us know your favorites!

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Piper – The Pixar Short Of The Week

Piper, Pixar Short Films Collection, Shorts

Posted by Joanna • November 13, 2018

The Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 3 is out on Digital and Blu-ray today – why not give “Piper” a watch and then dive into this little Pixar short exploration?

Since premiering before Finding Dory in June 2016, “Piper” has quickly become a firm favourite with Pixar fans, and even went on to win the 2017 Oscar for Best Animated Short. This is our first post in our ‘Pixar Short Of The Week’ series, where our Twitter followers vote on what short they’d like us to delve into next. “Piper” won with over 50% of the votes in this week’s poll – I think that alone tells you how beloved it is. It ticks all the boxes – very cute, heart-warming message, a sense of humour, beautiful to watch… And I’ve found that I appreciate it even more now in 2018 than I did when I first watched it in theatres two years ago.

Piper concept art

This is, in part, due to my new-found passion for birdwatching. I don’t know how many people share this joint interest in Pixar and birdwatching, but if any of you are out there, I’m sure you’ll agree that “Piper” is the dream.

Fun fact (maybe): On pixar.com, Piper is described as a Sandpiper – director Alan Barillaro was inspired by ‘watching Sandpipers react to waves and run on the beach’. But ‘Sandpipers’ are actually a large family of birds. Piper is in fact a Sanderling (Calidris alba, as opposed to Hungrius Littlus Birdis) – these are the birds that run in and out with the waves, poking around in the ‘intertidal zone’ for food. They are also the only birds in the Sandpiper family that lack a hind toe – and look!

No hind toe! (Especially obvious if you look at Piper’s mum’s feet).

This is what I love so much about “Piper” – it achieves this perfect balance of realism and magic. On the one hand, the level of detail is such that I can do bird identification, but it’s also a short about a precious baby bird expressing real human emotions and overcoming her fears through a friendship with a tiny crab. It’s a technological triumph, but – and this is the key to the success of the film – it’s also a wonderfully told story.

“Piper” actually started out as a project to push the limits of new animation technology, which is made apparent when you see the animation of individual grains of sand, the frothy movement of the waves, and the independent fluttering of feathers. I love that people appreciate the sheer skill that has gone into the creation of the short, but are also able to just enjoy it and immerse themselves in it.

Look at that feather animation! Look at the sand!

Piper concept art. They even got the Sanderling plumage spot on.

The birds are stylised, but realistic. You can tell the aim wasn’t to fool the viewer into thinking they’re watching a live action sequence. Honestly, it looks better than live action. It looks better than real life! The way they experimented with camera movements and depth of field makes it all so captivating. And the “Piper” crew was able to design the characters in such a way that they can express more emotion.

This is important, because “Piper” is also amongst the many Pixar shorts that have zero dialogue – the connection you feel to the characters is not brought about through words, but is instead completely reliant on their facial expressions and behaviour, along with the music (by the legendary Adrian Belew). It’s the subtle yet complex animation that makes all this possible. Barillaro was inspired by Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E when finding ways to animate communication between non-speaking, non-human subjects. Their gestures are understandable, but the birds haven’t been so heavily anthropomorphised that the ‘otherworldly charm’ is lost.

The message that I take away from “Piper” is that fear is there to be overcome, and life will feel all the sweeter once you’re on the other side of it. By the end of the short, Piper not only gets over her fear of the waves, but completely submerges herself in them! It’s not unlike what Poppa told Arlo at the beginning of The Good Dinosaur in the warm light of thousands of fireflies: “Sometimes you gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.”

“You gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.”

Some more fun facts:

  • Yes, Piper is a girl.
  • The composer for Piper, Adrian Belew, is perhaps best known for being in the band King Crimson and working alongside stars such as David Bowie and Frank Zappa.
  • Barillaro took a go-pro to a Hawaiian beach, where the water was nice and clear, to get research footage for the underwater scenes.
  • They recorded pieces of the soundtrack being played underwater in the Pixar pool – these recordings were used in the surround sound during the underwater scenes.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter so you can vote on what next week’s Pixar Short Of The Week should be!

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Ducky and Bunny react to Toy Story 4

teaser, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • November 13, 2018

Are you excited for Toy Story 4? Are you looking forward to it as much as Ducky and Bunny are? The film’s first teaser premiered yesterday, and now there’s a new one! Perhaps in a nod to all the reaction videos on YouTube, this latest teaser is just that – a reaction to Toy Story 4, but by a pair of carnival plush toys.

Here’s our introduction to Ducky and Bunny (the comedy duo of Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele).

Check out the latest character posters too!

Forky, who appeared in the first teaser yesterday, is voiced by Tony Hale. His poster is great; who knew sporks could have an existential crisis about their dual identity?! And maybe Forky is the most intriguing addition to this series. Ducky and Bunny seem like they’ll be a lot of fun, and in this teaser, their wisecracks are inspired by the actors voicing them.

These latest teasers focus on the humor rather than the emotional punch both Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have promised us. A trailer shouldn’t be too far off! More toys (maybe even Bo Peep?!) and surprises await us.

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The Toy Story 4 Teaser Is Here!

teaser, Toy Story 4

Posted by Joanna • November 12, 2018

Toy Story 4 is set to release in June 2019, so we knew it was only a matter of time before a teaser was coming our way. But that doesn’t make this news any less exciting!

Pixar posted a Toy Story 4 teaser today – you can watch it below:

It’s surprisingly touching to see all these beloved characters in action again, even though we have been spoiled with Toy Story Toons over the past few years. It seems very little is being revealed about the plot at this stage – the toys are simply joyfully holding hands and spinning around in slow motion with the classic ‘Toy Story clouds’ as their backdrop. It’s oddly dreamlike, especially with Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now playing in the background.

With the news that Bo Peep is making a return in Toy Story 4, I was almost expecting her to slowly come into frame as the camera panned round, but perhaps that would have been an obvious twist… The strange spork creature, on the other hand, is not something I could ever have predicted.

Forky – a spork turned toy?

Here is Pixar’s description of Toy Story 4 so far:

“Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”) and produced by Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”) and Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”), Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.”

So is Forky going to be a central character of sorts? Is the movie going to explore the concept of what makes a toy a toy? Can we assume these ‘old friends’ will include Bo? All will be revealed in time, but it’ll be hard to stay patient!

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Woody’s Round Up 11/6/18

Auntie Edna, Bao, Incredibles 2, Round-Ups, The Pixar Story

Posted by Simoa • November 6, 2018

Welcome back to Woody’s Round Up! Today’s installment features amazing costumes, more details on Incredibles 2, out on DVD today, and an addition to Netflix.

A Very Pixar Halloween

We can always count on the folks at Pixar to get into the Halloween spirit with their creative costumes! This year was no exception. Check them out, courtesy of Pixar’s official Instagram page. Baby Bao is the clear winner!

Edna in Auntie Mode

Incredibles 2 is now on DVD today, so be sure to pick up your copy! But even if you’ve got the digital version and have already watched “Auntie Edna” (lucky!), you should still check out this interview with the short’s director and story artist, Ted Mathot. Audiences would need to see a new side to the iconic character while Mathot had to remain faithful to her essence. “Getting her out of her comfort zone a little bit, because she’s always the boss, always in control, was really fun to explore. What happens when she loses some of that control? What does that bring out in her character?” Read more from Mathot’s interview at Animation World Network.

Concept art by Matt Nolte.

Special Effects

Art, story, and technology define Pixar’s approach to filmmaking. Each of those are fascinating to learn about and gives audiences a chance to gain more knowledge about everything that goes into the storytelling we admire so much. Effects supervisor Bill Wattral was interviewed by Shack News about his role and the unique challenges that come with the job.


Wattral discusses the tools Pixar uses; existing ones that serve as foundations and the new programs created by the studio itself. These tools are necessary in making the film look as appealing as possible. One of Wattral’s main priorities is foreseeing problems in the tech department before they become unwieldy. A very informative look at the technical aspects of Pixar’s process.

Coming Soon

The Pixar Story (2007) comes to Netflix on November 18th. The documentary was directed by Leslie Iwerks (granddaughter of legendary animator Ub Iwerks) and is now ten years old. Although much has changed since 2007, the doc is sure to still be a great watch all these years later.

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Toy Story 4’s historic moment

sequels, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • November 2, 2018

What could possibly be worse than that infamous incinerator scene in Toy Story 3? Tom Hanks knows…but don’t worry, no spoilers! The actor recently appeared on BBC’s The Chris Evans Breakfast Show to discuss his role in Toy Story‘s fourth installment.

“The way you record Toy Story, you’re in a room with the team that has created it. When I went in for my last day of recording, I wanted to have my back to them, because usually you’re facing him so you can look right up and you can talk about it. But I didn’t want to see them and I wanted to pretend they couldn’t see me. When I realized what they were going for, I realized, ‘Oh, this is a moment in history.’”

A moment in history. That’s quite a reveal! Of course, we still don’t know much about Toy Story 4 beyond these sparse details, and the blogosphere will be humming with theories about what Hanks could mean. Is there anything in Toy Story 4 that could equal or even rival the devastating third act in the previous film? Will Toy Story 4‘s ending be the perfect conclusion for this series? It’s still too early to tell, and no doubt people will remain skeptical. But all we can do now is put our faith in Josh Cooley and his crew and hope a teaser is on its way!

Update: Tom Hanks is not the first cast member to discuss the film’s emotional toll. Tim Allen, aka Buzz Lightyear, reported that he “couldn’t even get through the last scene.”

Allen also expressed his disbelief over the film’s ending, since he thought the third film was amazing. How could they top it? We’ll know in about seven months time!

Toy Story 4 opens nationwide on June 21, 2019.

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Your first look at Auntie Edna!

DVD, Incredibles 2, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • October 16, 2018

Although brief, this new look at the highly anticipated short film on the Incredibles 2 DVD is something of a throwback to “Jack-Jack Attack.” Unlike Kari the babysitter, Auntie Edna found inspiration in Jack-Jack’s powers. The memorable ending to the previous short had Kari seriously out of her depth, exhausted and relieved to hand the exploding baby over to someone else. In fact, Bob was suffering in a similar way when he discovered his son’s powers, and luckily Edna the babysitter came to the rescue. But as we see in the clip below (and as Edna herself hinted in the film), there was a bit of trial and error when she took on the heroic task of babysitting Jack-Jack.

“Auntie Edna” will feature more of Jack-Jack’s powers and more of the super bond between this powerful and tiny sized duo. We can’t wait to laugh and fall in love with them all over again!

You can see the brand new short when Incredibles 2 drops digitally on October 23rd and on Blu Ray November 6th. Preorder your copy at this link today.

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Auntie Edna short to be included on Incredibles 2 DVD!

DVD, Incredibles 2, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • September 11, 2018

Jack-Jack and Edna stole the show in Incredibles 2, no easy feat for one of the year’s best movies and best sequels overall. Their brief scenes together inspired incredible fan art, and lots of movie goers wished they’d had more screentime. Well, ask and Pixar shall deliver!

Just add this to the other features that will be available on the Incredibles 2 DVD, which includes 10 deleted scenes, listed below:

  • Suburban Escape
  • Kari Revisited
  • Return of the Supers
  • Chewed Out
  • Late Audition
  • Slow Day
  • Frozone and Honey
  • Restaurant Robbery
  • Fashion Show
  • Security Breakdown

Three of the most intriguing deleted scenes are Kari Revisited; what has Jack-Jack’s poorly equipped babysitter been up to?; Frozone and Honey, which will hopefully give us a glimpse of the wife we’ve only heard but never seen; and Fashion Show, because Edna’s designs are always worth seeing.

Other features:

Heroes & Villains: a collection of short documentaries about the origins of the characters and their designs.

Strong Coffee: a lesson with Brad Bird (!!!) on animation.

Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes: featuring the parents of Pixar as they discuss their careers and connections to the film and its themes of family.

All this and plenty more! Pre orders are now available on Amazon, cover art to be determined. The digital release drops October 23rd while the DVD and Blu Ray are released on November 6th.

But Incredibles 2 isn’t the only home release fans can look forward to. An all new Pixar Shorts collection will also be released on the heels of the former. Volume 3 includes the latest shorts, like “Piper” and “Bao.”

There might still be two months left of waiting, but we’re counting the days down until we can add all these gems to our collection!

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Incredibles 2 – Digital And Blu-Ray Release Dates Revealed

Blu-Ray, Incredibles 2

Posted by Joanna • August 21, 2018

We now know just how long we have to wait until we can finally watch Incredibles 2 from the comfort of our own homes. The reveal has come a little earlier than expected – Incredibles 2-themed treat bags being given out at the ‘Not-So-Scary Halloween’ events at Disney World were sneakily footnoted with the Blu-Ray and digital release dates. Incredibles 2 will be available for digital download on October 23rd, and can be bought on Blu-Ray on November 6th. Have a look at one of the treat bags below, posted by @laughing_place on twitter.

There’s no news on any special Blu-Ray features yet, but let’s keep our fingers crossed for plenty deleted scenes, commentaries, and behind-the-scenes peaks. No doubt the equally incredible short Bao will be included in the Blu-Ray (we’re kind of hoping for lots of Bao special features too).

Keep an eye on our blog for when the special features do get announced, most likely within the coming month. So – will you be buying Incredibles 2 on October 23rd, or will you wait until November 6th for a physical copy? And how many evenings in a row are you planning on watching it?

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The kids only table

editorial

Posted by Simoa • August 15, 2018

If you follow Brad Bird on twitter, (and if you don’t, you really should, he’s a riot), you’ve probably noticed that he’s responded to some complaints about the nature of Incredibles 2. With its PG rating, the film contains the superhero violence we see in all manner of live action films (significantly toned down) and just old fashioned cartoon violence, somewhat heightened. But fans, mostly parents of young children, have another gripe; the film’s language. Apparently, characters saying ‘I’ll be damned’ and ‘what the hell’ is unacceptable in a children’s film. And as Bird has continuously repeated, both on twitter and off, animated films are not solely for children. (Never mind the fact that the first Incredibles features a suicide attempt and references to marital infidelity, but that’s another topic for another day).

Your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here to straighten some of these misconceptions out.

Joanna: Children deserve quality entertainment, after all.

This phrase is a little predictable in these discussions now, but only because it’s a fact: animation is a medium, not a genre. Animated movies are just that – movies that are animated. Saying that animated movies are for children is just as ludicrous as saying that movies in general are for children. This statement isn’t wrong exactly – there are movies, and animated movies, made with children in mind – but it’s failing to take into account the impressive variety of films that have been created through animation.

I loved watching Watership Down as a kid, but it gave me nightmares. Watership Down was not made into an animated movie to appeal to a younger audience – animation allowed the film-makers to bring a very surreal story to life. That’s what makes animation such a magical and unique medium: you can create entirely new worlds; imagination can become a tangible thing; rabbits can speak! As a kid, I liked watching the rabbits in Watership speak. I did not like watching the fields slowly turn to blood, or rabbits getting horrifically trapped and slowly choking to death. This is not a movie for kids. I think my parents were also under the impression that animated movies were automatically filed under the ‘okay for my kids to watch’ category, because I also remember watching Animal Farm (1954) a lot. Once again – I enjoyed watching the animals talk, but the political messages went right over my head.

Even though I’m arguing that animated movies are for everyone, not just children, I think it’s worth noting that animated movies that have been made with young kids as their target audience shouldn’t be looked down upon. Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki famously creates his movies to inspire children, and I think this is what makes them so pure and moving. Ghibli movies have simple messages, but never stray away from tackling important issues. They don’t patronise their audience.

Pixar movies aren’t exactly directed toward any age in particular – they’re made for everyone to enjoy. I love that I can watch a Pixar movie with my entire family, from younger cousins to an elderly grandparent, and there’s something in there that resonates with each and every one of them.

Simoa: Respect animators and their work.

When I was twenty years old, I revisited Pinocchio (1940) for the first time in years. I think I had only caught fragments of it when I was a child. This time, I knew I’d appreciate it more because I was going to pay attention to the full thing. I not only appreciated the film, I was also grateful that I’d never watched all of it when I was young.

Pinocchio is a frightening movie. It probably would have given me nightmares. I didn’t go to the movies often in my childhood. It was the age of VHS and I had an impressive collection of classics: Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life to name a few. These movies were treasured in my childhood and still were as I got older. When I watch those films now, it’s not because of nostalgia or because I want to feel like a kid again. I watch them because they’re good movies.

I hadn’t grown up watching the Disney films of the 1940s and 1950s. They’re stunningly animated with awe inspiring moments of beauty and terror. Like fairy tales, the wicked in these films are punished gruesomely. And in a film like Bambi, the elements of nature are harsh and unrelenting, while the evil force that must be reckoned with is man’s cold disregard for other living animals. Yet films like Bambi and Snow White are derided as childish while the Disney films of the 1990s are praised for their adult appeal. Why exactly is that? There were talking animals in the older Disney films, but they didn’t dominate the films or the marketing, nor did they seem shoehorned in, like much of the comedic sidekicks of the renaissance period.

Take 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for example. Were the three talking gargoyles added to entertain the adults? No, they were there for the children, maybe because they provided comic relief in a dark tale about racism and persecution. But the gargoyles don’t provide much of a distraction at all. Can you imagine characters like that in Bambi or Pinocchio? Or in a Ghibli film? The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are brimming with moments so lovely they almost ache. Those films deal with tragedy, loss, war, and illness, not unlike live action ones. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is certainly not a children’s film, and anyone who feels differently ought to have serious discussions with children about war, violence, and trauma before allowing them to watch it. But it’s better to wait until they’re older so they can appreciate the magnitude of such a film.

Walt Disney didn’t make films exclusively for children but he still had a profound respect for them and knew they were part of his audience. He didn’t believe in dumbing anything down for children. People either think animated films should be sanitized so they’re suitable for children (as all the complaints against Incredibles 2 illustrate), or that all animated films are for children only, with some clever insinuations added for the adults.

 

Many people think we need more R rated animated films in the vein of Anomalisa and Sausage Party. What we need is more respect for this medium and the artists who work tirelessly to bring these stories to life.

Nia: Being amazed that a “children’s film” produced an emotional response in you is pretentious.

“Animation is for children,” she said, rolling her eyes and scoffing, “why don’t you pick another profession? Something more… respectable.”

These are the words I’ve heard for practically my entire life. Mostly from family, sometimes from friends, when I would profess my adoration for animation and my hopes and dreams of one day working in the industry I loved so much. Whenever I defended animation and explained why I could see myself doing nothing else, it would always end in a sarcastic, “well, good luck,” before they hastily changed the subject.

I can happily say I’ve worked in the industry now for over 3 years, but despite that achievement, I still haven’t been able to escape those condescending words. My family might’ve stopped making an effort to point that out, but upon going on twitter or reading reviews of animated films, the claim that animation is only for children persists. Reading how people still think that makes my blood boil and the hairs on my arms stand as tall as trees. I often catch myself having to do a triple-double take as I try to comprehend what I just read. How do people still not get it?

Animation as a preferred medium doesn’t mean the storytellers and directors involved in an animated film didn’t have intentions to make bigger impacts with their film. They just wanted to use the medium of animation to tell their story; just as all the writers and directors have been using live action as their tool for years. Like theater, novels, and so on, animation is an art form. It’s a medium within itself, another means of telling a story. There are so many more possibilities as to what animation can achieve, especially now with all the growing technological advances.

What I don’t understand is why do people have to feel ashamed for liking an animated movie, even when it’s slightly more mature and has adult themes? Why does going to the cinema alone, without children, to watch an animated film make people so uncomfortable? Why do people still make excuses as to why they felt emotional during a certain scene in a cartoon? Why can’t people just accept animation for what it is: a medium for ALL, and not inclusive to just children? Can’t we all still have a little bit of fun in our adult lives? What happened to all the whimsicality in our hearts? Yes, we’re all adults, but we were also children once.

When Paddington 2 was released earlier this year, I didn’t hear people making excuses when they fell in love with the sequel or the adorable Paddington himself. “I know this movie was for kids but man, I cried my eyes out!” Instead of reading those words all over twitter, which is usually what’s directed towards any Disney or Pixar film, it was praised for its story and visual elements. (Worth noting that Paddington 2 director Paul King was inspired by Pixar when making his film).

So much work goes into making an animated film, artists spend years of their lives putting detail into every single shot that’s on screen; everything is created from scratch and animation deserves the same amount of respect that goes to literally every live action film churned out by Hollywood; yes, even deserving to sit amongst the slew of Marvel films that are just never going to end.

Call me crazy, but I can’t wait for the day animation is finally respected and treated for what it is: another way of telling a story and captivating audiences all over the world. I even look forward to the day it wins the Academy Award for Best Feature.  It can most certainly be done, but the question is, how long will it take?

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