Get Animated ; Next Generation of Animated Films Takes Audiences into a Rich and Diverse Galaxy

By Stephen Humphries and Lisa Leigh Parney writers of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2001 | Go to article overview

Get Animated ; Next Generation of Animated Films Takes Audiences into a Rich and Diverse Galaxy


Stephen Humphries and Lisa Leigh Parney writers of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


If you think Jennifer Aniston's hair requires a lot of attention for a "Friends" shoot, consider this: Of the four years it took to make the sci-fi film "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," nearly a year was spent coiffing the 60,000 hairs on the head of its new digital Hollywood star, Aki Ross.

"Final Fantasy," the first digitally animated movie to feature photorealistic characters like Ross, is just one of many animated movies to challenge Disney's dominance in the brush-strokes and pixels domain this year.

In the past, only a trickle of animated feature films made it to the big screen. Now, studios like Sony, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon have joined Disney in producing such a rich variety of animated films geared toward kids and adults, that Oscar has taken notice. Disney's coming "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and "Monsters, Inc." are possible Oscar contenders in the new feature-length animation category next year. But they'll face stiff competition from films like "Osmosis Jones," "Jimmy Neutron," and "Shrek."

Animation is experiencing vibrant changes in both style and direction. "I think being able to go to worlds you've never been before, and to places you've never been before keeps people's imaginations alive," says "Shrek" co-director Andrew Adamson. "It's the public wanting to be refreshed with something."

Veteran Disney animation producer Don Hahn says the animation boom started when studios took notice of the success of "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and "Beauty and the Beast" (1991).

"I also believe that [with] movies like 'Men in Black,' 'The Phantom Menace,' and 'The Mummy Returns' ... I think you're seeing a blurring of the lines between what is animated and what is a live- action movie these days," Mr. Hahn says. "All that adds up to a reinvigorated medium."

In particular, people are responding to cartoon movies of the CGI (computer-generated imagery) kind.

"It's sort of the year of the CGI," says Nickelodeon president Albie Hecht. "Between 'Shrek,' 'Final Fantasy,' 'Jimmy Neutron,' and 'Monsters, Inc.,' [there are] probably more movies done in CGI now than [hand-drawn] cel animation."

The first movie to employ computer-generated imagery from beginning to end came in 1995 with Pixar studio's "Toy Story." It revolutionized animation because it allowed computers to create three-dimensional models of characters that could then be manipulated by the artist. Director John Lasseter won a special Oscar for this animation milestone.

But the traditional divide between hand-drawn animation and computer animation is increasingly an artificial one - cel artists are quickly becoming as fluent with a mouse as they are with a sketchpad or paintbrush.

Computers were first used in Disney's "The Great Mouse Detective" in 1986 and were later used to create sequences like the ballroom scene in "Beauty and the Beast." The three-dimensional, deep-focus backgrounds of Disney's "Tarzan" and coming "Atlantis" are also computer generated.

But although traditional animated movies of recent years, such as "The Prince of Egypt," "Mulan," "The Emperor's New Groove," "Anastasia," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and "Pocahontas" have performed well at the box office, few have replicated the sheer drawing power of earlier bonanzas like "The Lion King" (1994) or "Aladdin" (1992). Other features, like the acclaimed "The Iron Giant," and Japanese "Princess Mononoke" failed to find a US audience, while 2000's "Titan A.E." sunk Fox's animation studio weeks after its dismal release.

At the moment it's the eye-dazzling, fully computer-animated films, such as "Antz," "A Bug's Life," and the "Toy Story" movies that have a "buzz" factor working in their favor.

"Video games have changed kid's aesthetics with film. They are used to deep focus and detailed backgrounds," says Chris Lee, producer of the $100-million-budget film "Final Fantasy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Get Animated ; Next Generation of Animated Films Takes Audiences into a Rich and Diverse Galaxy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.