#12: The Disney Version of American History in “Pocahontas”

Pocahontas was one of the first films that I saw in theaters growing up. I owned the VHS tape and really enjoyed the “Romeo and Juliet” narrative style. Unfortunately for most of America’s 90s youth, we were all in for quite a shock when 4th grade came upon us and quashed all of our preconceived notions of Native Americans and love and a phrase that we became all too familiar with: artistic liberties through historical inaccuracies.

My impressionable brain had seen the founding of our country through a very skewed view. While putting history into songs makes it easier to learn, it doesn’t always mean the history is accurate. Continue reading


#11: Working with Stop Motion Animation

For my animation project, I decided to work with stop motion animation.

“Stop motion animation is also known as stop frame or claymation. The oldest form of animation, stop motion is the technique of moving and photographing objects or specially articulated models frame by frame. This method is used less often in modern animation, but it has a timeless appeal,” (Cavalier, Glossary, pg. 400).

I figured I could make a cool Godzilla short animation with my Godzilla action figure, some green Army men, and a camera. Continue reading

#10: The Spin-Off – “Puss in Boots”

Shrek¬†was an animation sensation when it hit theaters back in 2001. Shrek 2 (2004) kept the series afloat with more clever fairytale culture references and jokes. However, the only thing that really came out of the sequel was the furry feline sidekick Shrek and Donkey acquired along the way, Antonio Banderas’s Puss… In Boots! While this kitty cat stole the show, did he necessarily earn a spinoff prequel? Since this film was originally intended to be a Direct-to-DVD feature… Not really.

The adorable stares don’t save this film from mediocrity.

In this animated re-imagining of Puss In Boots’s¬†origins, we find Puss growing up as an orphan with his only friend, Humpty Dumpty. Years later, Puss is branded as an outlaw and no longer associated with Humpty. In need of dinero for cream and milk, Puss undertakes a quest, with his new friend Kitty Softpaws, to steal magic beans. Continue reading

#9: “Shrek 2” and the Status of Animated Sequels

Can you think of the last time you saw a sequel that was really really good? Like better than the original? (Try and exclude adapted literary works because that’s cheating.) Now try to think of the last good animated sequel you saw. If you’re like me, this just keeps getting harder. With the mind-blowing exception that is the Toy Story franchise, I’m hard-pressed to think of a good animated sequel. Most of the older animated sequels ended up going straight to VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray, particularly the Disney Princess sequels. Suffice to say, straight to DVD essentially means that they are dead on arrival for me.

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#7: A Re-Evaluation of “Snow White”

This past week in class, we watched the first animated feature film, Die Abenteur des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). Directed by Lotte Reiniger, it premiered in 1926 and was revolutionary in its use of the multiplane camera and cutout animation. “The multiplane camera was used to give an illusion of depth to traditional 2D animation. To achieve this, pieces of artwork were moved past the camera at various speeds and at various distances. Some areas of artwork were left transparent so that layers below could be seen behind them” (Cavalier, pg. 89).

Fast-forward eleven years and you’ve reached Walt Disney’s first feature-length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Seven DwarfsThe film was wildly successful both commercially and critically. It has gone down in animation history as a major advancement for the medium due to Disney’s work in combining rotoscope and hand-drawn animated characters, complex color palettes, real human feelings over the whole emotional spectrum and expansive landscaping through multiplane cameras.

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*Update for Midterm* #6: “Get A Horse” Is a Blend of the Old and the New in Animation

This past Sunday night, the 86th Annual Academy Awards premiered on ABC. After months of build-up and anticipation, the ceremony came and went without too many surprises. One of the biggest upsets of the night, however, occurred in a category that historically doesn’t garner much attention at all, no matter how shocking the results end up being. I’m referring to Best Animated Short Film. Get A Horse was the extremely popular and well received short that ran in theaters before Disney’s Frozen. The short film that ended up taking home the prize was a Fraco-Luxembourger production by the name of Mr. Hublot. While I don’t pretend to understand the minds of Academy voters, I’ll just take it on good faith that Mr. Hublot is a wonder to behold. But this post is about Get A Horse, so lets get back on track and discuss how this classically-inspired short captured the hearts of so many people with its blend of fundamental animation and modern-era storytelling.
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#4: Letting Go to Embrace Womanhood in “Frozen”

If you’re in an animation class, chances are that you’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s latest princess tale, Frozen. Besides breaking records at the box office, the official soundtrack is also breaking records on the Billboard charts. One song in particular is the driving force behind the current obsession with Frozen. That song is, “Let It Go,” sung by the misunderstood queen Elsa, a.k.a. Idina Menzel.

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