Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It had to happen some time:

That's right, Mickey and I have started a cartoon watching RJO (registered Jewish organization) at Hillel. We are hoping to have some interfaith events in the near future. It is already up and running; going to request a remote control for the TV now.
On the subject of cartoons...
When I was in Philly recently I saw "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"- one of the best movies of all time. It is the first live action/ animated movie produced and the only movie to have both Walt Disney and Warner Brothers characters in it. I remember hearing that the movie was a critical hit, but a box office flop. After all, who watches cartoons...?
It occurred to me that the movie highlights just this point. In 1988, when the movie came out, cartoons were a dying genre. Many new shows, while near and dear to many in my age demographic, were very formulaic and geared to a very young audience. When watching Tundercats again I just want to hit FF on the dialogue, it is that slow.
Roger Rabbit asks why. While Doom did not succeed in his *crazy* idea to create a freeway, we know L.A. has the worst public transit outside Detroit, and to my knowledge at least, there is no ToonTown. While Eddy Valiant saved ToonTown from the wrecking ball, in the long run it seemed doomed. The movie forces the question upon us: Where are all our beloved toons? The response has been alarming. The 90's were a solid decade for cartoons, with shows like Batman reinventing animation. Cartoon Network began in the late 90's capitalizing on the 18-29 age demographic. Animators have imported ideas from across the globe and the Oscars now awards best animated picture.
I am not going to be so bold as to say Roger Rabbit caused this watershed in animation, but it certainly signaled the time was right.
5pm next Monday: Be There.


Josh said...

First off, WFRR was NOT the first live action/animated movie. To I can think of offhand are Song of the South (Uncle Remus, Zip-a-dee doo dah, way back in 1946!!), and Mary Poppins (1964). Granted, they weren't nearly as cool in plot or tech stuff as WFRR, but they still did it before.

Also, WFRR had nothing to do with the current boom in cartoons. The reminders of WFRR was for specifically the "classic" cartoons of Steamboat Willy and Bugs Bunny. As you said, the main demographic are 18-29 types who basically grew up on cartoons, but not nearly of the same genre as WFRR. We grew up on pure camp, and dammit, we enjoyed it.

As networks realized that their target audience was getting older, they managed to keep them by making the cartoons darker or more mature - essentially growing with their older audience. Compare for example the half-hour toy commercials of He-Man (and She-Ra of course), GI Joe and Transformers with the new Batman series or Gargoyles.

The current interest is from 1. nostalgia 2. better art and storytelling 3. targeting towards a more mature audience (sometimes). Artists are innovating and advancing the medium beyond the simplicity of Duck Tales.

Zev said...

Josh, I believe WWRR it is the first full length movie which co-stars a cartoon character. While other movies certainly used both live action and cartoon characters, they were not incorperated into the entire movie. As for your latter point I direct you to the second to last sentence of the post.

Josh said...

1. You're certainly right about the co-star interaction at least regarding Mary Poppins. I don't remember song of the south well enough, considering that it was released a good 31 years before I was born.

2. You expect me to read the whole thing to the end???

Seriously, I still think that you're giving WFRR more cultural significance than it deserves. I don't even think it signaled anything. It was just a really good funny movie with a campy message that was really well done.

TBC Monday Night

jon said...

We are trying to find good lesbian movie to take the kids this weekend. Good lesbian movie reviews are hard to find

I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL