Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Medium? A Genre? Does it Matter?

Scott Mendelson in Forbes takes a view I've long held.  Animation may be a medium, but Hollywood treats it like a genre.
"It can be argued, and has been argued by the likes of Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille) among others that one shouldn’t discuss animated films as if they are all to be lumped together, since technically the only thing they should have in common is the fact that they are not produced via live-action.  I wish that were wholly true. But when it comes to discussing mainstream animated films in America, it is unfortunately a question of genre. Artistically and especially financially speaking, films like Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 and Turbo are indeed cut from similar cloth in that they are basically targeting the same audience. We might decry this fact, but American animated films are still considered child’s play, a notion that heavily influences who they are aimed at and how they are made."
Unfortunately, when we get something animated aimed at adults, it's because it's unsuitable for children, not because it should be taken seriously by anyone mature.  Today's announcement of Sausage Party, an R-rated animated feature by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, does nothing to advance the cause of animation for adults.

We can argue over the terminology, but it doesn't change the facts.  North American animation is kid stuff.


Zartok-35 said...


Omar said...

Raunchy adult comedies may not be the pinnacle of storytelling, but to say that this does nothing to advance the cause seems a little much.

I assume this will launch theatrically, and should it succeed at the box office, studios WILL take note - especially when so many animated films aimed at children are released every year. Studios need to find a way to make money, and to do that they need to separate themselves from the crowd. The only reason (in my opinion) that the discussion of "too many animated films" even exists is because it's exhausting on parents to take their kid to the latest animated craze every two weeks. The films basically have to market themselves to the parents, who will then decide which film to take their child to. And after several crowd pleasing animated films straight, parents will forgo that excursion to the theatre. *cough* Turbo *cough*.

When the cost of making an animated film is so high, and the output of so many "similar" animated films only increase, it would stand to reason that eventually films will begin to break the mold in order to stand out and succeed.

Just my two cents.

Pete Emslie said...

The description of the film in question:

Sausage Party is a raunchy animated movie about one sausage’s quest to discover the truth about his existence. After falling out of a shopping cart, our hero sausage and his new friends embark on a perilous journey through the supermarket to get back to their aisles before the 4th of July sale.

Seriously, how does one create an interesting character out of a SAUSAGE?! And that being the case, who in their right mind would spend 100 million+ to finance something of such limited potential and audience appeal? I especially pity all of the animation staff that will have to suffer through creating this animated dog's breakfast of a concept. Their combined talent could be put to far better use on a much worthier venture, if only modern-day Hollywood still had some good taste and common sense to realize that.

Floyd Norman said...

Good taste and common sense in Hollywood? Ah, Peter. You're such a dreamer.

Steve Schnier said...

Uh... Pete...?

About 6 or 7 years ago, a friend and I had a development deal with The House of Mouse for a show called "Melvin the Magic Hotdog". It was actually very funny. Here's the theme song a friend created for the pitch (no we didn't make or use this video) http://youtu.be/7LGZov-wz78

It came "this close" to becoming a reality.