When I was growing up, I considered myself to be somewhat artistically inclined. Nothing too crazy but I dabbled in art and I loved to draw. My greatest muse? Animation. Fun fact: I actually planned on going to art school and everything but changed my mind preeeeetty much at the last minute. That decision wasn’t a matter of giving up on a dream so much as it was a matter of re-prioritization. I had come to the realization that, while I had a passion for animation, I lacked the specific and disciplined type of passion that those in the art-side of animation seem to posses. Ultimately, I was better suited to just fawn and enjoy and leave the creation up to the people who eat, sleep and breathe art.
But my love of animation never ebbed, it just changed direction a bit. I consume animated films the way some people take to music. I pore over concept art and fangirl over complicated execution. I’m a treasure trove of useless cartoon trivia and harbour a secret fantasy of moonlighting as a voice actor.
While I’m certainly an equal opportunity animation lover (Steven Spielberg’s ”An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” played a big part in my childhood and DreamWorks’ 2010 hit “How to Train Your Dragon” has withstood the test of back-to-back viewings), Disney will always have a very special place in my heart.
Childish as it may seem, my obsession with Disney is more than childhood nostalgia at play (although I’d be lying if I claimed that nostalgia doesn’t have anything to do with it because it totally does). I love the beautiful, boundary-breaking artwork, the imaginative storytelling and the fascinating history involved (if you can swing it, do what you can to visit the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream gallery at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, or, at least try to get a viewing of the short documentary that they show by the same name. It’s Walt’s story and will give you a completely new appreciation for him, his work, and the impact he has had and continues to make on the world of animation as we know it). Two of my favourite TV shows are even out of Disney animation studios: the long-running hit Phineas and Ferb and the relatively new Gravity Falls. Both are cleverly written and wonderfully animated. Better still, they treat young viewers with respect (both shows acknowledge the intelligence of their younger audience in ways than some series don’t seem to give them credit for) while artfully managing to catering to older audiences at the same time. Seriously, Phineas and Ferb literally makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is one of the best written characters I’ve seen in a long time.
While I’ve got a lot of love for the amazing things happening with 3D animation, my heart truly belongs to traditional 2D (yes, I understand that a lot of the 2D work that we see today involves many computer generated elements but you know what I mean!) I was beyond thrilled when I found out that “Paperman“, the animated short that accompanied 2012′s “Wreck-It Ralph” (SO good. SOOOOO good!) was going to be in 2D (and obviously I was even more thrilled when it won an Oscar!) and I’m happy to see more and more classic 2D projects coming out of both big name and independent studios alike.
If you haven’t seen Paperman yet, check out the trailer below.
All of this fangirling and drabble is leading up to something relevant though, I swear.
Recently, Disney announced that they’d be getting back to their roots with a new series of animated shorts featuring none other than Mickey Mouse and the gang. Everything about this series is classic – from the cast of characters to the slapstick story lines and especially the animate style. It’s something that makes both the animation enthusiast and Disney fan in me very, very happy.
You can check out the first release from the series, “Croissant de Triomphe“, over on SlashFilm. It’s in French but easy enough to follow. Hurry though, no idea if/when it may get pulled!
As mentioned before, it makes me happy to see that this more traditional form of the medium is making a comeback. I love the way that Disney studios in particular is paying homage to over 80 years of history and introducing younger audiences to where it all began. I don’t know how much this has to do with the company reacquiring Walt’s “first son” and original break-out creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a long story but a really is an interesting piece of animation history) back in 2006, but whatever is influencing this animation renaissance, I like it!
What about you? What sort of niche interests are you shamelessly passionate about? If you’re a fellow Disney/animation enthusiast definitely leave a comment so we can connect!