History of Animation

"Animation Evaluations"

Strange and Simple [Post 4]

on February 27, 2012

I admit I’m behind on my blog. So this week, to catch up, I’ve decided to do two themed entries on… rodents.

I’m guessing the most recent animated film involving rats that comes to your mind is Ratatouille. Now we all know Pixar has done great things, but I’m putting this film higher above the rest. Ratatouille isn’t necessarily about rats, or about characters named after pasta (Linguini), its simply about food. The contradiction of vermin being able to cook is what makes this film what it is. There are plenty of films about animals and humans working together, but Ratatouille is different because it takes out epic plots of magic, princesses, villain’s, and dragons. It all comes down to creating a meal. Often times, the animations with the strangest, but simplest idea at its core, blossom in brilliance. 

Some would argue that Ratatouille is not simple in the slightest. I believe Ratatouille is simple, but it’s strange as well. The craziness of the idea (a rat becoming a chef) along with the films simple goal (to impress a food critic) is the greatest aspect of this animation. Even the makers of the film thought it was strange: “Ratatouille began with a premise of the movie’s original director, Jan Pinkava. “When I heard this idea about a rat that wants to be a fine chef,” Lasseter says, “I thought, ‘Wow, this is the most extreme fish-out-of-water story I’ve ever heard’ (Time Magazine 1).

I’d like to give another good example of a weird, yet simple story. Lilo & Stitch was incredibly popular upon its release. The simplicity in this film is that its focused around family. Family becomes the whole moral of this animation. But what happens to bring them together is a crazy, outcast, alien experiment programmed for the destruction of worlds? That’s pretty strange.

I believe that when people are developing idea’s for stories (whether they be students or studio’s like Disney) it’s easy to get wrapped up in a complicated plot. We often think that if something is complicated, long-winded, and difficult to understand, that it’s good. But the trick is to think smaller. We hear the term “quality over quantity,” this applies to animation as well.

I bet that if the students in our class chose one theme or moral, and then picked one simple plot, character, or setting to go with it, the idea’s brought forth would be more creative and unique than some of the most famous animation’s we know. =)

“Savoring Pixar’s Ratatouille.” Time. 7 June 2007. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1630548-1,00.html&gt;.

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