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Feature FilmIdeas/Commentary

Henry Selick Slams American Animation Biz

Director Henry Selick (Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas) states the obvious about the American animated feature industry:

“It’s too homogenous. It’s way too much the same. The films aren’t really that different one from the other. Despicable Me could have been made Pixar, by DreamWorks. It’s not a great time for feature animation if you want to do something even moderately outside the formula.”

  • There are a handful of great artists in the industry that are willing to try something different. The problem is half the time they’re just not profitable, and at the end of the day, that’s what the studio wants, a profit, and not an undying love letter to the medium. Dont get me wrong, I dislike the way things are and I can see his point, but unless someone can break this cycle, we will have Despicable Me 3 to 6 (Which honestly….I kinda enjoyed #2. I’m a sellout like that)

  • IJK

    He’s right, we need more spooky stop-motion being mistaken for being all Tim Burton.

    • samjoe

      Yes!, and everything else should look like “Adventure Time” and the “Regular Show”.

      • Jason Cezar Duncan

        That’s TV, totally different playing field. But in a rather similar way, does kind of lack diversity when it comes to creators. While I think they’re all great people, I’m so sick of only seeing male Cal Arts grads. Really looking forward to Rebecca Sugar’s show.

      • Barrett

        Would be nice if some TV shows could get greenlit that didn’t reek of that whole “hipster/street art” style that seems to have taken over. It’s just another revival of the “cruder the better” mentality that took over TV animation after the success of The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Nothing animated for adults that’s aired on mainstream TV has tried to have much visual flair or draftsmanship since. (Well, Allen Gregory had a kind of “economical” slickness to it, too bad the show itself was incredibly mean-spirited and not all that funny.)

    • Tim Elliot

      It surprises me how many people think Tim Burton directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.

      • Ryan

        Well, it is called “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

        • SarahJesness

          I think Disney only started adding his name in the title when he got popular, but you can correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Ryan

            Believe it or not, the actual onscreen title to the movie is “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.” His name was used prominently in the advertising as well. He was the selling point.

      • Animator606432

        I’m an animation geek just as much as the next person, but for the longest time I thought it WAS directed by Tim Burton. As the person below pointed out, it has his name in the title.

    • Ivan

      Sarcasm aside, I’m sure he’s referring to the lack of productions like Persepolis, The Secret of Kells, The Illusionist, Chico and Rita, A Cat in Paris, and Howl’s Moving Castle. All of them were nominated for Oscars for their ability to push the animated film in new directions. None of them look like a “spooky stop-motion being mistaken for being all Tim Burton.”

      • Ject

        I’m with you there except for “A Cat in Paris”. Art style aside, that was a big let down. It felt fake.

  • Blasko

    “Slams”? Seems like a thoughtful critique from somebody who probably knows the terrain fairly well.

    • Yeah, but “slams” makes for an attention-grabbing headline.

  • TStevens

    Homogenous might be one way of describing it though, I think the studio system is more incestuous than anything else. From the crews to the directors, and even the executives, the feature level productions are made by a very small group of people moving from studio to studio. It is inevitable, that if the talent pool migrates from one studio to another, that the product will end up looking the same. In addition, the pool of qaulified directors with feature level production experience are so few that studios are not willing to gamble money on rising talent.
    Several years ago I would have thought that, with technology and alternate sources of funding, the animation scene would have grown. However, while we see a a tremendous amount of creativity with short form animation, the top is basically stagnant. Selick is right – the formula is king in Hollywood. The bigger question then becomes, “How do you break the formula?” Crowd funding? Lower budgets with greater creative control? Corporate risk taking?
    There isn’t any easy answer. The major studios will continue to produce the same product until people stop buying tickets. We may think we are smarter than the audience but, when it comes down to it, studios will go the way of the ticket buyers. However, that being said, profit is relative to cost. If you can make a good film at $30 million and sell tickets in excess of $40 million then you clearly have a succes. If you have a cost of $100 million and sell $40 million in tickets then you are a failure.
    I would tend to say that creative diversity will only come about when the North American studios can learn to produce lower cost features that won’t break the bank if not succesful.

    • the Gee

      I’d hate to play a game of darts against you , T.
      Your aim is good.

    • Ikas

      how do you produce lower cost features ? ideas other than outsourcing ?

      • Emanuel Alfredsson

        Public funding through taxes like how we in Europe does it, maybe?

      • Derek Cernak

        i work for a small studio in north carolina… we made an independent animated feature for pennies, in two years, with a staff of 17… the film was not stellar for various reasons, but the quality or the art, cg and the animation was top notch… and it was very different stylistically… it CAN be done :)

      • Barrett

        Digital *should* have lowered costs, I can’t imagine that it cost less to buy millions of acetate cels, gallons of paint, and tons and tons of paper vs. the mostly/all digital production pipeline most 2D productions use these days. I realize this is mostly talking about features, which for the moment aren’t really 2D, but even before the decline of 2D it seemed like costs kept rising even though more and more of the work was being done digitally. It doesn’t take the same kind of “render farm” IT to produce a Princess & the Frog as it does to make Despicable Me or Ice Age, for instance.

        The cost for “labor” has already been driven down way below what it was in the mid 90s, so there’s not much to cut there unless you want a crew of amateurs. (Digital Domain certainly got “creative” in that area!) The cuts if any would have to come from production costs and executive overhead.

      • Pedro

        Write a story and stick with it.

  • zantetsupowaa

    Speaking of being unoriginal, when is Selick going to cop to ripping off Spirited Away for Coraline? :)

    • dude

      you’ve got to be kidding. how is it a rip of spirited away? You do realise it was an adaptation of a book?

      • zantetsupowaa

        A book that came out after Spirited Away, and which was coincidentally written after Gaiman visited Ghibli.

        • Capital_7

          Both owe a lot to Alice in Wonderland, and Alice owes a lot to The Odyssey. Your point?

        • Christian Z.

          Which might mean Gaiman, not Selick, did the ripping off.

    • Tim Elliot

      I’m still waiting for him to cop to ripping off James and the Giant Peach from some Roald Dahl book.

      • Scott550

        It was based on the book? Could have fooled me.

    • Joey Gallagher

      They’re both variants of Alice in Wonderland.

      • John A

        and yet, last year’s film version of Alice in Wonderland was NOTHING like Alice in Wonderland.

    • CG Animator

      Spirited Away was the last thing I thought of when I saw Coraline ;-)

  • Mesterius

    I REALLY, really hope that Despicable Me could not have been made by Pixar. They do still have a certain dignity left…

    • jmahon

      a lot of people seem to really despise that movie, and I don’t know why. It was one of the best animated movies this year, and what I believe an animated movie SHOULD be- original, hilarious, all stops pulled crazy character animation. They take advantage of everything they can do and it turned out great. I wonder how many(or how few?) people actually went to go see it- it was a lot better than the first one, that’s for sure.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    A problem I see time and time again with people who want to do feature film animation is they THINK WAY TOO BIG. I actually agree with his comment that there is a rather noticeable sensibility in feature film animation today, but at the same token I also hear that they cost of hundreds of millions to make, cater to a large and diverse worldwide audience, and are viewed in a system where people pay out of pocket directly and take their time to specifically go see it, thus panned under high expectations. You could make the greatest thing ever to a small cult of fans, and in TV and short films that might just be enough to keep it afloat for a little while, but when you’re talking 150 million dollar budget, good luck finding a studio that’s willing to go bankrupt for you and your fan club. But then again, that stupid Oogieloves movie that lost over 50 million got made and considering I could trust anyone here to make something far smarter, hell if I’m going to go bankrupt I’d rather do it not hated, maybe your dream just might come true. I just wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Max W

    He’s absolutely right, let’s get more variety out there. I can’t believe that any animator would disagree with this statement. All the big studios are striving for the same thing, the same “visual peak”. It’s too bad they can’t each have their own voice.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I agree with Henry. 100%

  • Matt Sullivan

    I wish producers would just have faith in the material they discover. If they like a script, make that script. Don’t spend 2-3 years pre-producing the hell out of something until it’s a watered down, formulaic yawnfest. Also, stop hiring A-listers to voice the characters.

    • Beamish Kinowerks

      This is one of the biggest problems with Hollywood filmmaking in general. Obscene amounts of money and time on the development process; one of the most egregious examples is John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion’s experience with UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, which Disney paid for three DOZEN drafts of in order to create a watered-down piece of garbage that everyone ended up being embarrassed by.

    • Derek Cernak

      amen on the voices!

    • Barrett

      So, is “development” just Hollywood code-talk for “let’s get a bunch of cluless suits who have no background in film, writing, or storytelling of any kind, and have them cut this treatment to death with a million notes?”

      I mean, I’m not really all that plugged in to how Hollywood works behind the scenes, but this seems to be the jist of it.

  • Brad

    Ummmmm “Despicable Me” was made in France? So how is he slamming American Animation?

    • AmidAmidi

      “The Simpsons” is considered an American series even though it’s produced in South Korea. In the same way, “Despicable Me” is an American film even though the production studio was located in France.

      • T_God

        Is there a resource that shows all of this info by studio/project?

  • Tim Elliot

    He had his opportunity with Disney for Cinderbiter. From what I’ve read (here on Cartoonbrew/Variety), I assumed he was he was dropped for being behind schedule, not for his out-side-the-formula vision.

  • Roberto Severino

    Selick took the words right out of my mouth and I agree completely.

  • Ant G

    The problem with his statement is there’s always a level of homogeneity until you reach self indulgence. Other animators could accuse Selick of not being that different than what Dreamworks and Blue Sky make. In the end, he’s still making animations with a “cartoon” style. Why even make representational or narrative animation; “true” animation, some would claim, is abstract and experimental. “pure” art, others would say, is a personal expression, not at the service of any audience.

    The animation feature film industry instead is aware and in service to an audience. It’s formulaic but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is so in the sense that the foundations to build a house are “formulaic”, but one could style their house as they wish, and it’s those nuances that differ a Pixar movie from a Dreamworks one. They all look alike, and that’s on purpose, it’s a marketable style that lures in an audience. But once you watch the movies, you can tell the studio, and the skilled from the not-as-skilled artists and writers who work on these films.

    • iloveanimation

      I disagree with your first paragraph, but I sort of agree with the “nuances” you mentioned in the second. Selick wouldn’t have said this 10-15 years ago. 1. Each studio follows a different pipeline, using different technology (even as software is sort of closing the gap a little. each company sticks to that one thing that makes them unique despite the way the end product comes out). 2. if you look at each company’s timeline they each started off with different aesthetics. This is where the wrench got thrown in: 3. The tech boom that we’re living in now doesn’t allow a lot of breathing room for companies to go outside the box, and instead sort of forces them to pick up directors who have worked on other films simply because they’ve been in the industry for years. Everyone has a huge team now, and they need to get paid or the machine stops. 4 Every once in a while you’ll find a company making something that doesn’t feel like their aesthetic and it flops. Its about Trademark more than style. I think the homogeneity is a biproduct of it all, that eventually someone sticks onto like flypaper. hollywood doesn’t favor the inventor or pioneers of our age. instead it still feeds off that very age of filmmaking and authorship that took years to get us to where we are now. the very one that hollywood shelved and left to collect dust.

  • PixelKnot

    I agree with this. There’s still plenty of people today that will look at a CGI animated film and assume it’s Pixar. More variety of art styles in film animation would be absolutely wonderful.

    • Hunter

      In the 90’s, anything 2D “was Disney”.

      People still think anything creepy (IE: Paranorman) “is Tim Burton”.

      And many people still don’t know the differences between Marvel and DC even though both companies have very, very different styles in their superhero films.

      Even something as visually different as Igor will get generalized one way or another due to ignorance on the audiences behalf. That’s kind of why trailers shove in the “FROM THE MAKERS OF….” tagline everytime, so people can identify them better.

  • Ben Fleischman

    Films today are plenty different. Of course they’ll recycle themes, tone, and maybe even humor. They’re just trying to hit that sweet spot. They want to make films entertaining, and for a variety of people. I think films LOOK different enough. They try to tell new stories. But think about it like this. If you look back at Greek Mythology, you’ll run into some pretty familiar stories. That’s because these human problems are still relevant today. Movies will often feel familiar. I’m sorry you don’t understand that the general population doesn’t want to go see your Halloween freak shows. Although, LAIKA’s done an amazing job making them more relatable and entertaining. And that’s exactly what audiences want. They want to feel comfortable. I think feature animation has plenty to offer. Now get back to your play-doh and yarn, Henry Selick.

    • Axolotl

      Yes…Greek mythology is a lot like recent animated features, for instance, the part in MONSTERS UNIVERSITY where Sully returns to his childhood home, finds a bunch of other monsters courting his old sweetheart, and kills all of them.

      • Ben Fleischman

        Haha! So not all stories! But you have to look at them metaphorically.

  • smoothoperator350

    I say that this statement applies to TV animation too, but I wouldn’t call it “slamming”, Henrys just being honest about his opinion.

  • the Gee

    This is the right time to diversify.

    If the economy is picking up and people are taking their families to theaters instead of staying home then having different looking and different types of feature animation would work great. You’d think.’

    Mark Mayerson wrote up something on ‘The Day of Crows’. I’d really be curious if an English dubbed version with a good marketing budget could crack here sometime soon, maybe by Spring?

    But, even ignoring the theatrical release as being the first goal, maybe streaming/VOD would be the easiest and quickest way of testing the waters. I haven’t seen any numbers from Amazon (which tends to brag without empirical data to back it up) from Netflix (did ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Arrested Development S4 plus the other first runs perform well in terms of viewership?). With the streaming services as is, is iTunes the only one which sells content and doesn’t have a subscription a la carte model?

    Like most people, I got ideas for what probably would work well, in terms of the type of content/films that would be well-received and potentially successful. Obviously, the chances for established directors, writers and producers have a better shot than most people. And, the TV shows that get their moments on the Big Screen have a better shot, too. But, since those things (like the supposed ‘Family Guy’ feature) are established, few would be surprised by it.

    One thing Mayerson wrote is how he didn’t know what was going to occur next in ‘The Day of the Crows’ and that he liked that. I think most would like something fresh and less predictable. It would be more engaging for audiences.

    Until more different stuff breaks the ceiling and starts in-studio and does so soon, I will be pessimistic about theatrical releases. (this includes more adult animation, too, like the Linklater rotoscoped stuff).

    Maybe “The Dot and the LIne” in 3D would be a good way to start!

    Until new North/American features have standouts, import some some good, different ones and budget on getting interest from audiences.

    • the gee

      bah. I wrote this prior to watching the Academy panel of 9 directors speak. Selick goes into some of what I wrote (with better information, of course) than some of the points I made. I should have watched that prior to writing this though. I wouldn’t have bothered writing that much and focused on one thing.

      If you haven’t watched that video where he and others talk shop, I’d recommend carving out an hour and a-half to watch it. The link is down the main page, as of today.

  • Hunter

    At what point was feature animation NOT formulaic? That’s not so much the animation industry as it is Hollywood… and if you don’t want formula, don’t go to Hollywood. Just like if you want streamlined, DON’T go to an animation/film festival.

    He kind of says this as if feature animation had, or even will have, an “experimental era”, which as far as I know, has never happened. And his feature films follow the Joseph Campbell monomyth anyway so…?

    If anything, this is the BEST time to pitch your idea for an animated film. There’s actually studio options now and a good chance that it will succeed even if it doesn’t have the Disney brand attached to it.

    But yeah, if you don’t want formula, don’t go to Hollywood. I wouldn’t go to a nail salon expecting them to do my hair.

    • Wannabe

      There have been several periods in the history of not only the art form but the business where animation studios experimented with styles and techniques. Grab any history of animation book. Hell, grab any history of Disney animation book. Research is a good thing.

    • Max W

      Well, while there may not quite have been an “experimental era” of feature films, there have been experimental american animated features in the past, such as Twice Upon a Time (which he was a part of) Dirty Duck, Ralph Bakshi’s films… Consider even; Fantasia.

      Back when films (both animated and live-action) were made for less money, there was more room for experimentation. These thoughts of his still ring true.

      • Nikolas

        Don’t forget foreign films like Yellow Submarine, Fantastic Planet and Miyazaki’s works.

    • Barrett

      If “Hollywood” means films have to be made a certain way, that’s one thing. Let the “Hollywood” brand proudly be itself int he marketplace. In keeping with that concept, let’s let some OTHER brands of film into the theaters and major media outlets! Give the customers some choice. Right now, anything “indie” is usually consigned to small, often outdated arthouse theaters, which are usually quite rare outside of major cities. Give the public a chance to actually choose to spend their money on something non-Hollywood. Otherwise, it’s just a rigged market, and the box office numbers tell you little about the actual quality of the films produced because the market is rigged.

  • grumpy-pants

    True, but how is that different then the way it was in the 1990s?

    • wannabe

      The mid 90’s was an anomaly and (in a way) an abomination in the history of animation. The problem then and to an extent now is that the people in charge at most animation studios, big and small, feature and television are not now nor ever have been either artists or interested in animation in any way, shape or form. They simlpy want to make a buck they couldn’t care less about the art form or the creativity.

      • Jason Cezar Duncan

        I thought that’s what the 1980s were notorious for. Disney was running dry on ideas for films, which were little more than Don Bluth to begin with. TV, which I have a better idea of, was nothing but kiddie toy commercials and rehashes of older 50s/60s cartoons with all the characters as kids or an annoying relative added. The early 90s on the other hand, from what I gather, was a refreshing Renascence. Disney came up with up with new ideas and new ways to make movies. Not to mention the rise of Pixar and 3D. And in TV, the idea of letting actual artists make TV shows had returned and was stronger than ever. I know it kind of relapsed a little in the mid to later 90s, but I can’t see how that was a big turning point as to what the scene is today. Which, IMHO, has been improving quite a bit over the last few years.

  • SarahJesness

    I like to think that we’d get a bit more variety in American animation if we just got out of the “animation isn’t for mature works!” mindset.

  • The market’s become really crowded recently and has certainly grown in some ways. But yeah, I agree with Selick. Hollywood films (not just animated ones) do tend to stick to certain formulas in order to ensure success. It’s hard because many studios are having financial difficulties right now, so perhaps they feel that they have to play it safe.

  • Kendall

    So true~

  • Hiram Rodriguez

    I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly though as long as the movie going public continues to pay to see these movies, Hollywood will continue to pump them out.

  • Robert Schaad

    If anything, his comment is a little too sugar coated (but spot on). Big-eyed characters that look like plush toys (ooh, look at the realistic textures of everything). They do all look the same. Has the public been brainwashed into disliking 2D hand drawn looking animation (on a feature length scale)? I hope not.

  • Ken Martinez

    I just think this is a bad time for feature animation in general.

    It’s not like indie films haven’t been made outside of the big CGI factories. And it’s not like any of them have been any good (Delgo, Battle For Terra, etc.)

    We’d need a Ralph Bakshi if we want to reinvigorate features.

  • Crystal

    I agree with most of that quote, but wasn’t a lot of it “the same” in past decades as well (meaning the same to its own decade, not that it’s similar to the present)? I don’t see how that’s restricted to this era.

  • m(_ _)m

    Sorry, not sure if your first sentence is sarcasm. But, Japanese animation isn’t very varied at all. And, the truly experimentally varied stuff is often derided for not fitting the visual formula. The varied stuff dies and is forgotten, while the projects which embrace the more common visual approach are given much more acceptance.

    anime is more incestuously formulaic than hollywood. (with the exception of a few titles here or there, which truly can only be included because of the broad definition of “anime.”)

  • Ant G

    But Japanese animation while diverse, all share the same “anime” style that markets those films/tv shows as distinctly Japanese. We seem to give Japan a pass at their homogeniety but “slam” the 3D industry for doing the same with their own look.

  • SarahJesness

    Agreed. When the industry demands that everything produced be “big”, you raise the bar too high and getting variety can be difficult. (this seems to be a problem with the video game industry right now, actually)

  • SarahJesness

    Agreed. Animation in Japan doesn’t have the same level of stigma so the creators and studios have a bit more freedom. You have kid stuff and you have immature stuff, but you also have more mature works aimed at different audiences and there are a lot of adult works.

    Speaking of Adult Swim, I do wish that block was willing to experiment a bit more. Most of their shows are poorly made, and they’re all aimed at the same type of audience. (which seems to be 18-34 year old manchildren) Adult Swim is the only prominent time block on American TV that mostly features animation, so I like to think that if they can make some good stuff and succeed, it could encourage other TV studios to try and do the same.

  • SarahJesness

    Agreed. There was nothing Pixar about it, not in the designs, writing, or humor style.

  • Roberto González

    I agree 100% with Mr. Selick. Yeah, the ‘scary’ stop-motion style is sort of a fashion on itself too, but I think Laika’s films are still pretty refreshing compared to most of the other films, and Nightmare Before Christmas was really different on its day.

    Pixar style was also revolutionary at first but now everything is too influenced by Pixar (and a little by Dreamworks). With the possible exception of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Rango , which also had some hints of Pixarism, but very little, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was pure Wes Anderson.

    While I don’t think Pixar would have done Despicable Me exactly the way it is, it’s true that it’s not completely different either. The Minions are a little like the martians in Toy Story 2 and some of the gags and the emotions are kinda trying to copy Pixar’s and Dreamworks’ styles, only with less structure.

    I also have a problem with Disney/Pixar as I said in the Brenda Chapman post. I like what they do but at the same time I would want to see something different from them. Nowadays even 90s Disney looks like more variety to me. They had fun movies like Hercules and serious ones like The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. The designs looked different. Not to mention that in 1988 they had experiments like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I feel like WFRR or Fantasia couldn’t happen under Lasseter’s reign. Wreck It Ralph is NOT Roger Rabbit. WFRR was noir cinema, with a sexy woman and some adult jokes. There was some emotion but it wasn’t very sappy. Lasseter didn’t approve American Dog and I doubt he would approve something like Roger Rabbit without making it more wishy-washy. Not to mention Lilo and Stich (best Disney movie in decades) or Atlantis (which wasn’t great but I thought it was an interesting film). And while I liked The Muppets I still felt it was a little on the Toy Story 3 side of films. I hope the sequel to be wackier and more irreverent, but I wouldn’t bet for it.

    The example is in tv and comic books. There is variety there. Yeah, Family Guy copies The Simpsons, but South Park is sort of different. Yeah, Adventure Time and Regular Show would have some simmilarities in style and tone but they are both very different to Spongebob and everything I mentioned is very different to Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks, in the visual style, the stories or the kind of humor.

    I’m really worried about the Peanuts adaptation. There you have a comic that has a very personal style, the graphic style, the humor…is totally different to most CGI movies. Considering the movies BlueSky has done I can’t see how could they manage something so distinct to what they are doing.

    I also feel Peabody and Sherman look more generic in the promos for their movie than they originally do, but here’s hoping the movie is still good. I read possitive commentaries about the clips they showed at ComiCon.

  • That’s the intention. They are not American. His point being being that American animation has not been as innovative or as risk taking as some of the more recent foreign features that have come out.

  • Emanuel Alfredsson

    One problem though; copyrights.

  • Mister Twister

    Which is why I always import great animation made overseas.

  • Hark

    “Varied”? I hope you’re joking. 99% of anime is the same cookie-cutter, cheaply-animated, lazily-designed, mass-produced, uninspired, conformist and regressive trash.

  • Edan

    I don’t see the variety in Japanese animation. With western art, you clearly know who made what: you could never mix up Matt Groening with Mike Judge, John K, Parker/Stone, Tartakovsky, Disney, etc. Most anime and manga looks exactly the same, with perhaps some subtle differences in the way eyes are drawn, but they all have the same bodies, the same colors, the same backgrounds, the same animation, etc.

  • Fbt

    I might not know much about animation but I think that these animation studios have enough money to make a good story but they just keep making similar films. It’s like they are cursed or something serves them right for caring too much about money

  • Choo bin yong

    I agree with him but at the same time, it ‘s not easy since most of the audiences might not appreciate or understand original creative content. It is a risk by studios and audiences.

    Indie film maker can definitely take the different route since they are not burden by those restrictions.

  • Roberto Ortiz

    Well I was at that talk. The writer exagerated the TONE of Selick comments. And besides theconversation was directed more towards artists developin their own content, conidering the about the dire state of employment for CG artists.

    You can see the full event here:

  • iseewhatyoudidthere

    The problems is that too many CG movies use the same art direction and aesthetics. Which is a shame because I love CG as well as 2D. There are too many films with the same bright colors, same doe-eyed, bobble headed, Disney Character designs, same “funky fresh” pop culture references, and the same over-realiance on sidekick mascots.

    But back to the aesthetics. If a CG film had the dark art direction of a Don Bluth animated film, or the scribbly character designs of a Henry Selick or a Tim Burton film, then that would be a world of a difference than what we are seeing now. The industry desperately needs diversity before they oversaturate the CG market with the same cliches that killed the 2D renaissance.

  • I know that film.
    One of my shorts played before it at a festival a few years back.

  • crab cakes

    Yes, Henry is right. But does it really matter? The state of US Animation is pathetic and the people in charge are too fearful of supporting anything different. Animation execs = losers.

  • Trololo

    If Pixar made that movie it would’ve been plagiarized from something else ;)

    • mark davis

      Sorry to disagree, but it is EXACTLY like a Pixar movie. It was racist, sexist, was full of wisecracks, was loud, full of action and movement, and the characters looked like shiny bathtub toys.

  • I think what happens is once a big studio gets involved you get the layer upon layer of “management”…artist/animators get a fraction of the budget. a movie can get made with ever budget you have, but when a studio does it it follows a formula so little risk is taken. You can watch any animated film and run down the check list of “you can do it if you believe in yourself!” type plot points

  • BongBong

    Why did he essentially say the exact same thing three times in a row, though?

  • yad S

    What I find ironic and funny is that everyone here is like “Henry is absolutely right!” And yet I’m willing to bet that everyone goes out to watch these homogenous, identical products.

    Just realize that these lame movie attemps will end if you simply don’t pay money to WATCH THEM.

    Personally, I want to see more CG features bomb. In the long run, it would be good for the industry.

  • Kirra

    Thanks for the inspiration Slams!