My last post seems to have struck a nerve.
First, I want to emphasize that when I said “writing is more important than art in animation” I did not mean that the artwork is of no importance. High quality drawing and animation, when combined with good writing, can improve the viewer’s experience enormously. If you want to scale the peaks of the art form and achieve true artistic immortality (as opposed to mere commercial success), you must show excellence in both areas.
On the other hand, if you have good artwork without good writing you will probably end up with something like Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings; technically impressive but a commercial and artistic failure. (And no, I’m not blaming Tolkien for the incoherent screenplay.)
“I wouldn’t say that writing is more important than art in animation…” says Ogiue Maniax.
Personally WOULD say that. In fact, I’ll say it right now. Writing IS more important than art in animation. If the writing is good enough you can get away with artwork that’s pretty bad. (It will probably be hailed as edgy, unconventional artwork that defies conventional notions of beauty.) On the other hand, if the writing is bad, the most beautiful artwork in the world won’t save it.
Consider: what’s the most successful American animated TV series ever? Obviously The Simpsons. Why do people watch it? For the witty, satirical writing. Let’s face it, the artwork is pretty crude. In fact, to call the character designs “crude” would be flattery.
What’s the second most popular American animated TV series currently on the air? Probably South Park. In this case the artwork isn’t too bad, considering that it’s obviously done by a bunch of sixth graders with a budget of $16.56 per episode. Nevertheless I’m pretty sure that most people tune in for the vulgar but hilarious writing.
I can’t believe we’re paying to see something we could watch for free on TV. Everyone in this theater is a sucker! Especially YOU!
Regrettably it has been an awfully long time since an American movie studio released a 2-D animated feature. The last one I can remember was Waking Life in 2001, and that was a very obscure art-house picture. So The Simpsons Movie is notable on that basis alone.
If you are familiar with the TV show (and who isn’t?) then you pretty much know what to expect: sharp, funny writing, good voice acting and grotesque character designs. The animation quality is somewhat better than on TV, but not so much that you will really notice the difference.
The plot is fairly standard: Homer adopts a pig and as a result ends up triggering an environmental catastrophe. He has to flee town before an angry mob, but in the end he manages to more-or-less redeem himself.
The main reason that I am giving it a high rating is that it is the funniest thing I have seen so far this year by a substantial margin.