Okay, so I lied in my last post, or at least I was mistaken. I decided to go one more week on the topic of animated mythology. Those following my blog might be a little surprised by this next and final selection for the series. Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast from DisneyToon Studios is obviously meant for a younger audience, but it contains the necessary elements of a myth. It features fairies, a creature with prescient awareness, and a a legend of prophesied cataclysm, so it should qualify as a suitable example. Some adults will be pleasantly surprised by the sophistication of the story line, and the artistic concept and image composistions are interesting and unique for the Tinker Bell video series. This is especially true for the monster’s transformation sequence, and the role played by this creature is different than one would expect.
So the last statement of the previous paragraph requires a full disclosure statement. Michael Greenholt, the Animation Supervisor for this project, is also my son-in-law, and I am obviously proud of his work. I do not think this invalidates my comment, however. A look at the quality of the animation on this video should confirm what I have written. To view some additional examples of Mike’s art, click here. To see a gallery post about Mike from More than Monsters (my other site) click here.
It is no revelation that we live in an increasingly visual society, so let’s get the obvious negative out of the way first. All too often, people who prefer to watch are also people who prefer not to read, and they miss out on beneficial interaction with the printed page. It is my opinion (along with those of many others) that reading more fully exercises the imagination by requiring the reader to visualize what he or she is reading. I will go one step further by saying that among those who read, some deny themselves the three-dimensional and tactile pleasure of reading actual hard copies of books. Digital devices are fine, but I see them more as a convenient substitute and second choice when carrying one or more books is too cumbersome.
Now for the positives. Good imagery on a screen can also stimulate the imagination and can sometimes capture nuance and impressions as well as words. It can also do so more quickly. A facial expression that lasts less than a second takes considerably more than that to describe, and this affects timing, which is also a major factor in determining the effectiveness of essential events within a story.
Compared to motion pictures with actors and digital special effects, animation has the additional capability of being more impressionistic. It can capture and generate a sometimes wider emotional palate. What I like about this is that it can re-engage the viewer’s imagination and thereby produce a similar effect to that of literature. Images that hint at something require something else of those who watch them. I will aslo mention here that, for the above reasons, I have a preference for animations drawn by hand.
Over the next series of posts, I will mention different examples of animated mythology that have impacted me. My purpose will not be to review these animations but rather to identify certain of their qualities which impressed me. Until next week…