Saturday, November 9, 2013

Setting Animation Back 50 Years

Hayao Miyazaki's swan song The Wind Rises is getting closer to closer to American cinemas, although the film is being shown in Los Angeles right now so it can compete in this year's animated Oscar race…

And already, the film is getting complaints

There are concerns over how American audiences will respond to the film's themes, as it was already very controversial in South Korea, they saw it as a "celebration of Japan's wartime aggression". It also generated a lot of brouhaha in its home country, the New York Times states that Japanese conservatives didn't take too well to the film, declaring it unpatriotic.

But this is the usual for animated features. Need I bring up how many Americans embraced WALL-E? Or how about when someone freaks out over something as harmless as The Lorax because of a lightweight environmental message?

The other complaints are idiotic. Concerns over smoking? Seriously? Imagery of bombs and tuberculosis? My goodness, think of the children!

Oh wait, this is not a children's film. It is not a family film, either. It's carrying a PG-13 rating and it's being released under Disney's Touchstone banner!

This is proof that we have a loooooooooong way to go. Animation still doesn't get the full respect it deserves in America, we're still in 1966 apparently. Everything animated must be "for kids" or "childish" to some degree, animation can't tackle "serious" stories. This is one good reason why more artistic foreign films or films with adult-oriented content in them have a hard time catching on here… Unless the films in question have innuendos, raunchy humor and crap that makes immature 12 year olds laugh. A Family Guy Movie would easily make $150 million domestically.

Then there was the whole issue with the film's 126-minute running time, and how some people at a screening said it was too long. Yeah, because animation can't cover two-hour epics, right? Right? They can't be serious films, they gotta be short-n-sweet romps with dancing farting animals and goofy action! To people used to 90-minute diversions, something this long is apparently unheard of.

Animation just keeps getting sent back to the kiddie corner by the ignorant adults here… Oh well, here's hoping that The Wind Rises tries to reverse this and is actually something of a domestic box office surprise hit. Pipe dream...

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I'm pretty conservative in terms of culture myself. However, that doesn't mean I think animation should just be aimed at kids. I do think animated movies should be aimed at the entire family if they're made by a studio like Disney, Pixar, or in the case of Japan, Toei Animation and Studio Ghibli. If Disney or Pixar did a PG-13 movie, that probably would cause a bit of controversy. Ghibli however can get away from their comfort zone every now and then because they're no stranger to PG-13 movies (Princess Mononoke and Tales From Earthsea, anyone?). I do agree with one thing though, animation should not be sent back to the kiddie corner just because of complaints from some overprotective parents or certain groups like the Parents Television Council. No doubt, I think most of what Brent Bozell (the founder of the PTC) says is true, but he can be a bit nuts most of the time, especially when it comes to animated movies.