Simply put: are
studios creating animated feature films with only an eye to short-term profits
at the expense of long-term gains?
Consider Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A bone
fide smash hit when originally released and steadfastly popularity over the
course of the 20th century.
In contrast, CGI
features from today seem to made to follow a specific formula when it comes to
their success, i.e. use a tried
and trusted story formula, garner a massive box office take, whip up
massive publicity for whichever celebrity gets to work in jeans, sell millions
of DVDs (yes, people still buy them) and above all, flog tons of merchandise.
features are a business, it’s difficult to see films that follow such a formula
through a cultural lens. What does, say, Wreck-It-Ralph
contribute besides basic entertainment? Will we talk about it in ten years the
same way we do about Who Framed Roger
While Roger was
entertaining in more ways than one, it at least used timeless characters. Wreck-It-Ralph on the other hand, cashes
in on the current craze for all things 8-bit and video game-related; a fad to
be sure and one that will look old pretty quick.
So with the likes of
Pixar busy raiding their back catalogue and others content to push either
sequel upon sequel on us or to create films designed to follow the protocol,
where are the films that are genuinely unique in a cultural way and that
(intentional or not) are likely to remain popular in the way Snow White has?
Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.