I’ve got this thing about how, in order to make it to a theatrical setting, most computer animated stuff seems to have to have the style completely drained from it leaving you with what looks like cereal mascot levels of blandness. Even in animated films that I really like because of the story and overall effectiveness of the animation, I’m often left wondering why there isn’t a greater sense of style compared to the smaller screen counterparts where a clearer creator’s style is more apparent.
I loved How to Train your Dragon, but really, the only bit of design that stood out to me as a clear product of some personal sense of style was the design of Toothless, an undeniably Chris Sanders design, a design that really looked nothing at all like the rest of the dragons in the movie.
Those first few minutes of Kung Fu Panda, those first few beautiful, 2D minutes, are so much more amazing looking than the rest of the movie, and it’s almost painful watching that transition to very nice looking, very slick CG that has so little of that sense of personal style.
I asked someone who, at the time was working on Dragon, about why there’s a more visually identifiable approach in television animation with greater variety of stylization than the theatrical stuff, Dragon included, which all seems to exist within a much narrower spectrum of design. Her answer was to shrug and eat another forkful of mashed potatoes.
I’m as amazed by a fake blade of grass looking exactly like a real blade of grass as the next fan of technology, but a lil’ change now and then would be nice to watch on the big screen. Would a general audience really be so alienated by a bit more style?
Anyhow, saw the lil’ animation included here and thought it looked pretty damned nice.