Remember when Frozen first came out and the portion of the Intertubes passionate about such things got into a long and detailed fight over whether or not the two new princesses had exactly the same facial design, and as well as that, the exact same facial design as Tangled’s Rapunzel? Well, the argument is back with the newly released posters for Disney’s upcoming CGI movie Big Hero 6, which features all sorts of characters (many of whom have been race-bent away from their original ethnicity, but that’s another kettle of fish), including a white blob in a suit, some superhero kids, and a girl who looks almost exactly like Rapunzel.
Well. This is no longer something that even needs to be argued about, it’s just kind of awkward at this point.
There are some interesting things at play here. “Same Face Syndrome” is a well-known and somewhat damning phrase in the art and animation world, meaning, naturally enough, that all of your character designs have the same face. It’s something, as far as I understand, that’s either associated with beginning artists still getting comfortable with their style and reusing the strokes they know best (fair enough), or, at this point, big industry movies trying to make their princesses look pretty (less fair enough). As this artist points out, it’s much more associated with female characters—Elsa and Anna may look very similar, but the argument that the Frozen character designers were simply conforming to a certain aesthetic falls through a bit when you look at the two male leads of that movie, who are both meant to be handsome but ended up looking very different. So, what, princes and bad guys can be designed differently but pretty, likeable heroines can’t? Continue reading
I finally got around to watching Rise of the Guardians—such an arduous, complicated task it is to sit down and watch a movie, I know. In any case, I can now join in WB’s adoring mouth-frothing over the visual spectacle that is this animated delight, and sit and ponder the key concept of film, which is one that I’ve noticed popping up all over the place.
The Guardians, for the uninitiated, are a crack team of magical spirits tasked with protecting the children of the world—Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy, joined reluctantly by a mischievous and somewhat angsty Jack Frost. The great evil this squad of awesomely re-imagined childhood heroes is combating is Pitch the Nightmare King, alias the Bogeyman, who’s crawled out of the woodwork with a flourish and is concocting a plot to do away with the Guardians and snuff out all the hope in the kids of the world.
And how does he go about this? Why, by destroying the children’s belief in them. The entire reason Pitch is so bitter and fabulously maleficent is because kids stopped believing in and fearing him, causing him to lose power and fade into the shadows. He can’t be seen or touched by humans, but he can swan around blasting us all with Jude Law’s evil monologues, and he can defeat the Guardians by killing the idea of them.
This is the idea that fascinates me: the concept that belief in something gives it power. Continue reading
It’s an experience we’ve all had: sitting down to enjoy a few hours of G-rated fun with friends or family, and then bam — you find yourself staring at the screen with your mouth agape, and this cry seeps from your slackened jaw:
“How is this in a kid’s movie?!”
Take DreamWorks’ Shark Tale: the plot kicks off when a car wash employee is left to die by mafia hitmen when he loses the money he owes them on a horse race. He then witnesses the accidental death of the mafia boss’ son and claims fame for it, leading us into a story of greed, fame, violence, revenge, kidnapping, a tense and emotional love triangle, and the internal struggle of a shark who wants to be a vegetarian. (minus the last bits, that sounds like the freaking intro to Chicago!)
The mafia, and gambling. In a children’s film. Granted, the mafia are sharks and the hitmen are jellyfish (and the racehorse was a seahorse, badum tss) but the point remains. Continue reading