Fresh Content Day 3: Remember the Old School

Yippee! It’s a post that doesn’t involve doctors.

The backstory on tonight’s post is bad I was watching a cartoon with my 14-month-old son tonight. We’ve been watching a lot of computer animated cartoons recently, and I wanted to throw something in the machine that was a tad more on the classic side. So I reached for the 1963 Disney animated feature The Sword in the Stone.

Before I go any further, I just want to say that I always knew a movie (or more than one) could be made from the Arthurian legend, a story that embodies the supernatural aspects of King Arthur in a way that Clive Owens’ role as the legendary king did not. That was a more grounded take, based somewhat in reality. But I’m anxious for a full on LEGEND and am excited that is finally coming to the big screen later this year with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

So the root of this post is I was watching The Sword in the Stone and I was reminded how drastically animation has changed, especially in the last 25 years. Even Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Lion King were largely done by animators at their desks drawing. And that doesn’t include the non-Disney animated features like 20th Century Fox’ 1992 offering FernGully: The Last Rainforest or The Land Before Time. 

I recall hearing that Disney Animated Studio’s first attempt at computer animation was for The Lion King when there was a wildabeest stampede in the ravine that ultimately (**SPOILER ALERT**) led to the death of Mufasa. Computer animation was more obvious in Disney’s Hercules in the scene where Herc battles the Hydra.

Now, I’m not complaining about the technical advancements that have led to the near extinction of animation as it used to be done. Do I miss the classic look from animation? Very much so. It’s a cleaner product now, no doubt about it. But I still yearn for the style of seeing pen or pencil marks on the screen. And let’s not forget that with computer-based animation, you also lose the ability as a collector to have an original animation cel like this in your home.

Animation cel from Disney’s FIRST animated feature. Thanks, Google.

But admittedly, it’s difficult to argue about the finished products. Companies like Pixar, Disney Animation, Dreamworks Animation and more are knocking it out of the park with the quality, and they all employ such talented artists.

But since I can’t just have anything nice without complaining about it, there’s my old man,”things were better back in my day” opinion.

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