From Paul Johnson’s invented history of the Disney strike to Mick LaSalle’s broad dismissal of a hundred years of animation accomplishments, it’s been a busy week for keeping track of misinformed animation commentary. Jaime Weinman has written a nice summary of what’s been said and explores the root cause of such statements.
There’s also a great thread going on at the CGTalk forums about Mick LaSalle’s comments. In that thread, Pixar lighting artist Jeremy Birn points out a link to A.O. Scott’s review of MONSTER HOUSE in the NY TIMES, where Scott pulls a “Mick LaSalle” and exhibits a similarly woeful lack of understanding about the animation medium. He writes:
Like Robert Zemeckis’s “Polar Express,” “Monster House” (for which Mr. Zemeckis served as an executive producer) uses the digitally captured movements of real actors rather than computer-generated algorithms as the basis for its animated images.
If Scott had any intention of writing with accuracy, he would have compared the digitally captured movements of real actors to the work of computer animators, not to “computer-generated algorithms” which implies that CG animation is an automated process created by a machine. To their credit, Mick LaSalle and A.O. Scott at least know they’re watching computer animation, which is more than can be said for USA TODAY’s Scott Bowles, who describes MONSTER HOUSE as “stop-motion animaton.” How are we supposed to take the opinions of critics like A.O. Scott and Scott Bowles seriously when they can’t even get their facts correct about how animated films are produced?