Saturday, November 18, 2006

Animation Character

Animation Character
Cartoons and animated films are my favorite means of entertainment. I grew up watching Disney movies and I'd rush home from school to see my favorite animation character on TV. Animation is much more sophisticated now of course, and painstaking hand drawing has given way to computer aided images. I like everything, from the lush colors of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to the latest state of the art Pixar creation. The important thing for me is the creative invention of the animation character. It has to be presented well but with good characterization and story.
The shows that gripped my imagination when I was young were Top Cat, Yogi Bear, Popeye and Tom and Jerry. I especially liked the animation character of Top Cat, or TC, as he was known to his friends. He ruled over his alleyway, was the king of his gang and rang rings round the local cops. He was my introduction to anarchy! My mother hoped that my devotion to Popeye would lead to a love of spinach, but it never happened. Tom and Jerry still plays today and is probably the most enduring of the old cartoons. The slapstick translates into any language and adults seem to like this sort of animation character as much as the kids do.
I also loved the Pink Panther series. He was such a cool dude, and I liked the jazz score that played. I guess I warmed to the type of animation character that went against authority, the rebel or anti-hero. They were a contrast to the goody two shoes that usually filled a Disney film. Of course, Disney had great villains too, such as the wonderful Cruella da Ville from 101 Dalmatians. She has got to be the greatest baddie animation character of all time and was really scary for small children.
Today, there are some great TV animated series around. The Simpsons is an amazing success story, remarkable for its high standard maintained over many years. I like it for its cultural and political references and I think adults get more out of it than kids. Some animation character shows are openly aimed at an adult audience, such as Family Guy and King of the Hill. All these shows have a lot to say about American society. You can do a lot of satire with an animation character and make them say things that real people wouldn't dare to.