[New Blog Category Following!] <– I seriously need to find a way to make this blink with neon lights.
With this blog I will add the category “Nerdishness” to my other new category, “Might be a Rant.”
I just realized that last category could fit around half my posts.
Anyway, on with the posting!
A Very Brief History of Animation
The golden age of animation to most critics was the period between the late 1920’s to around the 1950’s and early 60’s. During that time, you had the beginnings of Walt Disney Studios and great animators like Tex Avery, Ub Iwerks, Max Fleischer, and of course Chuck Jones, and the beginnings of Hanna-Barbera.
Cartoons were winning awards and taking notice as a medium for entertainment. You even had the first animated TV show on prime time titled, The Flintstones,
which was the first of its kind premiering in 1960. This was groundbreaking.
And then along came the 1970’s, and with that was Saturday morning cartoons like Scooby Doo and Josie and the Pussycats. Hanna-Barbera were suddenly the premiere animation studio. What kid from the 70’s doesn’t remember waking up after a long week of school and sitting down from 8 am to around 12 pm watching Saturday morning cartoons on ABC?
And this only blossomed and grew into the 1980’s to the 90’s, with more networks getting involved. This would take over programming for four decades. Soon, just about every household had at least one television set, and more than likely that TV set was playing Saturday morning cartoons.
When this happened, all cartoons were created alongside merchandising. You had a set audience for your product every Saturday morning for a few hours. Merchandising suddenly became the main component for every animation. Will it sell toys? I used to own the full set of Biker Mice from Mars. (Yeah, from 1993.) Do you still own toys from the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s? Pop culture is the reason we have collectibles.
Here’s an in depth commentary on why we no longer have Saturday morning cartoons by Saberspark.
So, lots of stuff happened. As with most change, it occurs over a period of time, upheaval, competition, laws, crazy parents who think they can micro-manage their children’s thoughts, this and that, and suddenly there is a change.
Change is never sudden. It’s like lobsters cooking slowly. They are dead before they realize, “Oh wait, this isn’t a sauna?”
Why am I writing this?
Because there is something that has irked me recently. You see, I am a verified nerd. I watch YouTube videos and commentary on nerd-related things. And so, I realize I am no expert. I am simply a fan who every so often likes to vent; which is, like every one else on the planet.
Who doesn’t love to complain?
What has been irking me lately is this lack of creativity in Hollywood. Like much of today, it’s all a rehash. The first decade of the millennium is now known as the remake decade. You have TV shows suddenly becoming movies: Starsky & Hutch, I Spy, Charlie’s Angels, The Addams Family, Lost in Space, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Miami Vice, The Mod Squad, Mr. Peabody, My Favorite Martian, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Scooby Doo, S.W.A.T., Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, The Wild, Wild, West, The Twilight Zone, Mission Impossible, McHale’s Navy, Maverick, Leave it to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, Land of the Lost, Inspector Gadget, George of the Jungle, The Flintstones, Fat Albert, Dukes of Hazzard, Dudley Do-Right, Dark Shadows, CHIPS, Bewitched, Baywatch, The A-Team, and 21 and 22 Jump Street, and Six-Million Dollar Man.
…to name a few?
Some of these were late 90’s films, but for the most part those were some remakes of the new millennium. And, I didn’t even name all of them!
I didn’t even cover the atrocity of taking wonderful pieces of children’s literature and ruining it with a silly movie. Don’t remind me of Peter Rabbit. I still cry when I watch the trailer.
(I need a moment.)
(Okay… a much longer moment. That was just painful because I was then reminded of what they did to Dr. Seuss.)
This decade is becoming the do-it-over decade. And not for the better. It’s “do-it-over much more poorly.”
It is only made to turn over a quick profit.
Do you think all the suits in a room are pondering, “How can I make a beautiful, quality movie that will live on for the ages?”
No, they are not thinking that.
They are saying, “Okay, what can we make with little issues, turn around big profit, and the simplest? We can even hire a bottom bin writer for little cost.”
And so, for this decade they are going to take something that was beloved by a fan base and ruin that too: Star Wars, Star Trek, great literary works by Dr. Seuss and Beatrix Potter, and classic Disney films.
Each of the above categories could make their own list, but for the semblance of time and space, I will only write on Disney because they have been popping onto the big screen right and left. I can barely keep up with it.
Please enjoy my musical addition to this blog post, again by Saberspark (you should go check out his channel):
And my biggest qualm is the beloved and quality animation that came out of the Disney legacy becoming live action films. Why?
Aladdin, Mulan (just around the corner), Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid (just around the corner), The Lion King, Jungle Book (this wasn’t too bad), Tarzan, Dumbo, 101 Dalmations, Christopher Robin, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and I’ve just found out Pinocchio, Sword in the Stone, Black Cauldron, and Bambi are in the works too?! (Oh wait… this just in, they will also be taking on Atlantis and Treasure Planet.)
Why? We all let out a collective sigh, but you know what?
They do well at the box office. Parents want to see how their beloved Disney animation was made into live action, and their kids just want to see Simba, Dumbo, and the Genie played by Will Smith. Nostalgia sells.
Now, I won’t get into the politicizing and ideology politics also being played out; such as, male characters are suddenly female, and red-haired characters are suddenly… different ethnically? That is also an entire post worth of stuff, but I will say they are really trying to appease a certain audience.
There was a time long ago when you basically write a script or book. You do it because you love the character, and enjoy the story. You get invested. You write it engagingly. You want to share something you enjoy as a writer. When I write I am not trying to figure out who will be bothered or who can I appease? My audience is not considered because if I love it that will transpire on the page. That will transpire from a script to the audience organically.
A good story with fleshed out characters speaks for itself.
But what you have today in film is a constant micro-management of ideology and demagoguery. This is translating to television also.
What made Star Wars so great is that you saw a new filmmaker making a story he loved.
He created a world he loved. It was a personal endeavor that everyone got caught up into and brought along on that ride.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide. Harry Potter’s world. Star Trek. These were all passionate endeavors from creative people.
They were not created to turn a profit. That was the natural and organic end result because this was really good and the audience related to this fantastic realm of creativity.
Back to Disney
I have not really wanted to watch any of the new movies, and I only watched Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (she can’t sing, btw) because it was on Netflix (now that I’m paying more, I might as well use that subscription).
I can’t do an honest assessment of every film remake, but I will say that I have watched trailers. These I find unappealing.
Shouldn’t a trailer entice me to want to go watch the movie?
I’m a Designated Wuss
Now to be honest, I have no great affinity for some of the older Disney movies. Despite being excited to go to a theater or drive-in to see them as soon as they came out, I was always scarred afterward. This is because I am a wuss.
When I was a kid, I honestly didn’t like Jungle Book all that much. I’ll be completely honest. I just couldn’t relate to Mowgli and found him irritating, and monkeys scare me in general, so I was terrified by King Louie. Dumbo and Bambi killed off, or horrifically took away, the moms. Boom, right at the beginning! I was a mamma’s girl and it just bothered me and made me feel unsettled. After Peter Pan I was afraid to go to sleep thinking something might fly into my window and carry me off. Peter Pan creeped me out more than Captain Hook. I really didn’t understand the appeal of some of the early Disney animated movies. The mop scene and the Chernabog scene scared me in Fantasia.
And, 101 Dalmations had a woman wanting to skin puppies and wear their coats? That was terrifying!
Pinocchio had that haunting carnival scene when he went off to see the world.
And so Disney animation was lauded as these wonderful works, but the movies were unsettling and terrifying for a kid. Or, to me since I was a wuss.
Disney Renaissance – A Happier Time
And so along came the 90’s and my kids were young and Disney had a renaissance of animation and quality, with soundtracks and art that were amazing.
These were uplifting and sweet films that took an old story like The Little Mermaid – which the original tale was very tragic – and made it a happily ever after story. Lilo and Stitch were so sweet. Beauty and the Beast was my favorite. The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules were animated so beautifully. And then Aladdin was just the best. They would then do this over and over with some beautiful films and movies my kids loved. The only downer was The Lion King, but it was still well done despite the dad being murdered at the beginning.
Wow, just typing that seems weird. A child saw his dad murdered, went off to sing and dance with friends, and then came back to reclaim his throne. Hakuna Matata!
Anyway, despite my childhood trauma, I loved those films. Maybe I grew out of being a wuss?
There were so many I didn’t even name. I’m sure you could add those in the comments. I loved Rescuers Down Under and The Great Mouse Detective. Lesser known, but still a wallop of good story and animation.
Wrap this Up
And so, I am just a little fed up with all the remakes. I think it lessens the brand and legacy. Is that just me and other older types like me? Am I being too critical to think leave well enough alone? Be original and make something new?
Make… a whole new world?
I hope you all have a great day of kindness and goodness and good searching! 🙂
Question of the Day: By the way, what were your favorite animations, and do you like the remakes?