Posts tagged ANIMATION
Review: Annecy International Animation Film Festival (2019)

Located in Annecy, France, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival was founded in 1960 and has been held annually since 1997. This year, the festival took place 10-15 June, boasting its usual range of screenings and events: features, shorts, student films, television shows, commissioned works, and VR works. The shorts in particular displayed a wide collection of animated techniques and materials.

Read More
Fantasy, Animation, Violence

A little while ago I did some work on fantasy cinema and, while I’m keen to avoid the slightly unedifying spectacle of trawling through that material again, I would like to spend a little time thinking about a couple of its omissions: animation and violence. One reason for visiting these topics now is that I wonder whether violence in fantasy and/or animation may run the risk of not being taken seriously at all, possibly on grounds of realism. If the violence is so obviously signposted as fictional through its animated or fantastical nature, aren’t we missing the point if we start talking about its meaning and significance?

Read More
Niggun by Yoni Salmon

Niggun is a science-fiction hand drawn animated film that mixes the theme of spiritual quest with a space odyssey. It takes place in a post apocalyptic future where earth is gone and Jerusalem has become a legend. The original idea for the film began with a small illustration I made of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, depicting major Tom floating in a tin can. The theme of being lost in space representing some kind of existential crisis made me look for a story behind that astronaut

Read More
Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019)

Billed as the first “live-action” Pokémon film, Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019) adapts some of the franchise’s core themes and mechanics. The film also continues the endeavour of augmented reality game Pokémon GO (2016) – which on release sparked a sensation that saw players from all walks of life hunting Pokémon in the spaces around them via their mobile phones – to bring Pokémon into the real world. These efforts are pursued through various forms of transmedial dialogue with other Pokémon texts.

Read More
Review: Eyes Unclouded - The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

An academic conference on the key creative figures and animated feature films of renowned Japanese production house Studio Ghibli seems an obvious - even borderline ideal - candidate for working through the interplay between fantasy and animation. Our earlier podcast on their third cel-animated feature My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) - whose primary spirit character Totoro now functions as the company’s logo image (Fig.1 ) - suggested just how much there was to say not only about the adventures of the eponymous creature, but the studio’s origins and evolution, production practices, and their relationship to anime as a creative medium, if not Ghibli’s longstanding critical repute and ongoing commercial acclaim.

Read More
The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Superhero’s Ambivalent Relationship with Technology

The term ambivalence was coined by the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler to describe two opposite ideas that coexist in uneasy union. While superheroes are often understood as narratives of assurance, comfort and security, it is ambivalence, or even anxiety, that provides the more useful concept when it comes to interrogating the dynamics at work in the cinematic superhero phenomena. This is particularly the case in its relationship with technology, both aesthetically and philosophically.

Read More
The Relationship Between Fashion Film and Animation/Fantasy

My own initiation into fashion film was a hesitant one, uncertain as to whether fashion films could ever be situated on the same spectrum as traditional film. The role that fashion film plays within cinema is still relatively undiscovered. Films dissected by Stella Bruzzi have often explored both fashion and film as two separate entities which combine in challenging identity and metaphorical gestures, as well as for aesthetics (1999); whilst auteur of the early fashion film, Guy Bourdin, created voyeuristic moving images which have only in recent years, begun to emerge to a wider audience.

Read More
Review: Emerald City Comic Con 2019

The Emerald City Comic Con attracts guests of upwards of 100,000 fans and 100s of celebrity guests from the worlds of fantasy, science-fiction, animation and gaming. Now in its fifteen year, the three day event – of which we had the pleasure of attending just one day – is professional in every sense of the word, and worthy of every connotation it denotes.

Read More
Notes from an Angry Queer: Compulsive Heteronormativity in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

All too often, when a new game or film or television show that includes the barest representation of the LGBTQ+ community is announced, an inevitable, angry chorus of cisgender, heterosexual people shout out in unison: I’m fine with gay people, but why do you have to shove it down my throat like this? Thankfully, the media producers in question usually forge ahead, much to the delight (or chagrin – no one piece of media is perfect) of the LGBTQ+ community. But then, if even the smallest crumb of queer representation is enough to make cishet people choke, then is the same true for a queer person forced to navigate society’s constant stream of compulsive heteronormativity?

Read More
Creating People Cat People

My name is Eric Polley, and I am the creator of People Cat People (2018-). People Cat People is an animated web series that focuses on the day-to-day lives of the characters of a small group of feline humanoids that inhabit a fictional planet called the People Cat People Planet. There is no main character or single overarching plot line. Instead the series focuses on several shorts that aim to introduce and resolve conflict within one standalone episode.

Read More
Laika and the Two Worlds: Deconstructing the Illusion of Stop-motion Animation

André Bazin’s “Ontology of the Photographic Image”  states that “the photograph as such and the object in itself share a common being, after the fashion of the fingerprint” (2005: 15). For Bazin, the fingerprint is symbolic of an imprint of the material object; the finger. Yet I cannot help but think of this symbol of filmmaking when I watch stop-motion animation – a process by which an animated world is created; often out of clay but also other materials, and brought to life by a series of photographs documenting miniscule movements to imitate life.

Read More
Fantasy and the Re-Animation of Othered Cultures

The intersection of fantasy and animation is increasingly also an intersection of nationalities and cultures. The world’s best known animation studios often look beyond their own cultures for inspiration, exploring and representing people, mythologies and folklore from across the globe. Japan’s Studio Ghibli, for example, frequently adapt Western sources, creating fantasy-inflected variations on European countries (Howl’s Moving Castle [Hayao Miyazaki, 2004]) or indeterminate settings bearing both Japanese and European influence (Kiki’s Delivery Service [Hayao Miyazaki, 1989]; Arrietty [Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2010]; When Marnie Was There [James Simone & Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2014]).

Read More
The Fantasy of Animated Documentary?

When I attended the BFI launch of the book edited by the estimable conveners of this blog, Chris Holliday and Alex Sergeant’s Fantasy/Animation, I was that annoying person in the audience to ask the first, really obvious, question. Admittedly one that betrayed the fact that I hadn’t yet read their book (something now, ahem, rectified) and also my own research interests and agenda. Isn’t all animation, due to its constructed nature, in some way fantasy? And if so, if animation implies fantasy and fantasy implies animation, I queried, where does that leave animated documentary? And that, dear reader, is how you find yourself pressganged into writing a blog post…

Read More
Documenting Fantasy: The case of the animated mockumentary The Last Dragon (2004)

If animation and documentary make an anomalous couple, fantasy, animation and documentary make an extremely far-fetched threesome. Yet, in Justin Hardy’s mockumentary The Last Dragon (2004) they conjoin. This TV movie purports to be a partially animated documentary that attests to the existence of one of fantasy’s iconic symbols: the dragon. More precisely, the film takes the form of “an evolutionary natural history “what if?”” (Foley in Murray 2005: 67) documentary that, similarly to Peter Jackson and Costa Botes’ staple live-action mockumentary, Forgotten Silver (1995), is composed of two interwoven stories.

Read More
‘Wonderland Drama with added Kitchen Sink’: Electricity (2014)

I have to admit that the first time I watched Electricity (Bryn Higgins, 2014) I was not prepared for my emotional response.  This was not only because the film presented its subject material and female protagonist in a compelling way, but also because it appeared to chime with my own research interests into fantasy genre and British cinema (Fig. 1).  I was later delighted to contribute a chapter on the film to the Fantasy / Animation collection, as it certainly embraces both themes, and challenges existing ideas and preconceptions attached to aesthetics, genre and national cinema.

Read More
Inventing Yourself: The Cinema of Robert Zemeckis

Several years ago I had the good fortune to interview the animator Barry Purves about his work. He made the point that if you give a person a mask it’s only then that they’ll you the truth about themselves. This interplay between playfulness and truth certainly has a vital role in one of Robert Zemeckis’ most fascinating moviemaking achievements: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Amidst all of that film’s visual spectacle and invention, its protagonist, the sombre gumshoe Eddie Valiant, learns to laugh, play and imagine once more. Whilst Zemeckis’s movies are largely synonymous with the genres of fantasy and science fiction, a little more reflection on them suggests that these entertainments are exploring subjective experiences. Zemeckis’s films have often deployed animation and the principles of the medium as part of the cinematic world-building toolkit.

Read More
Reimagining the Hollywood Teen Movie: Animation, Fantasy, and Teenage Subjectivity

At first sight, Alex Strangelove (Craig Johnson, 2018) starts as a predictable genre film, part of a growing cluster of Netflix teen movies such as The Kissing Booth (Vince Marcello, 2018) and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Susan Johnson, 2018) available on the streaming platform. It opens with a montage sequence replicating what Roz Kaveney terms as the “anthropology shot” (Kaveney 2006: 56): students representative of social groups and cliques are introduced, as in the opening scenes of 10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger, 1999) and Not Another Teen Movie (Joel Gallen, 2001).

Read More
When Hobbits Go Bad: Ralph Bakshi the Fantasy Provocateur

When Christopher Holliday and I first conceived of Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres, the animator Ralph Bakshi sprung to mind immediately as an example of an individual whose work I thought would benefit from the methodology we were hoping to inspire within both our edited collection, and through future collaborations on this research network. If you are unfamiliar with who Bakshi is, chances are you are nonetheless a fan of either an animator or live-action filmmaker who has been inspired by his productions.

Read More
Stitching Sound - How to Create Your Own Monster Soundtrack

For the most part the evening air, schools and events will be peppered with the sounds of those going about their Halloween business. You might engage with one of the many cinematic offerings or a spooky audio drama where the images evoke terror but more importantly the sound of classic horror.  In the year where we celebrate 200 years of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), written when she was 19 years old, you may even revisit or be introduced to classic horror via the sounds of the monster’s re-animation. The classics we refer to are usually remembered as a visual feast evoking terror but the sound of the film adaptations of Frankenstein also deserve their place in the homage to horror classics.

Read More
Review: The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Eli Roth, 2018)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Eli Roth, 2018) marks director Eli Roth’s first foray into family-friendly fantasy, following a career established largely within horror cinema thanks to his directorial debut Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002) and the Hostel films (Eli Roth, 2005-2007), which consolidated the much-maligned and highly graphic “torture porn” subgenre as a strong current of post-millenial Hollywood (see Jones 2013; Kerner 2015). Alongside Death Wish (Eli Roth, 2018) released in March of this year, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is also Roth’s second feature to hit cinemas in 2018.

Read More