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#003. Mixing Mediums

The realm of animated films is certainly a world unto itself. While live-action films usually have to obey the laws of physics, animated films have free reign in a lot of aspects. When both live-action and animation are used together, the differences are made evident. And yet, in movies where there is a crossover between these worlds, the worlds still remain separate. Films like Space Jam take the actors from the live-action realm and put them in a world where anything is possible; whereas this week’s films force toons and Disney princesses alike into a world that is harsh and unforgiving: the real world.

Enchanted
Year: 2007
Rating: PG
Length: 107 minutes / 1.78 hours

The country of Andalasia is much like any other realm created for Disney princesses to find their true love. With the increase of CGI animated films, Enchanted takes its animation from its roots and introduces characters that fit the stereotypes of its predecessors. You have the naive prince and princess, the conniving villain, bumbling minions and talking animals. These stereotypes do well within their own world, but when forced to adjust to the reality of New York City, one can see that their street smarts are seriously lacking.

Since princess stories have a small amount of real-world “rule-breaking”, the transition from Andalasia to New York removes their animated styling and applies the rules of our world. Well, most of our rules, at any rate. While a song sung by a native of the animated world seems to have the magical quality to congregate animals, gather crowds, and immediately give everyone an understanding of all the lyrics and choreography, this gift cannot protect the singer from realizing that not everything in life goes according to a formulaic plan.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Year: 1988
Rating: PG
Length: 104 minutes / 1.73 hours

Now, consider if you will, a world that is fully integrated with that of animated characters. In this world, even if the toons are not in their own world, they still obey all the rules (or lack thereof) of their native format. The charm of this film is the groundbreaking visual effects involved with infusing animated characters into a live-action world. While this practice is pretty common today, in 1988, it was years ahead of its time (and won the film at least one of its many Oscars [Best Visual Effects]). Similarly, this is perhaps the only film to ever feature the iconic animated characters from both the Disney and Warner Brothers animation studios.

At its base, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a story of segregation and racism, although it’s a little difficult to take seriously when the animated characters are the ones being discriminated against. In fact, those who have seen the 1974 noir classic, Chinatown can see where some of this film’s Los Angeles sleuthing themes may have originally come from. In this film, Detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is trying to figure out who really killed a big studio executive, even if all the clues initially point to animated goofball, Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer). This ends up being a challenge for Valiant, due to his prejudice against toons, which he has to overcome in order to arrive at the truth and the key to cracking the entire case.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 mediums, 2 styles of integration

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4 responses to “#003. Mixing Mediums

  1. i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

  2. Pingback: End of Act One | Cinema Connections

  3. Pingback: #233. Best Animated Feature | Cinema Connections

  4. Pingback: #291. Treasure Island | Cinema Connections

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