Old School Animation

Yesterday I made circus popcorn with my son while DKC was off canning tomatoes. We finished (he chose to color it orange this time), and I popped in the old Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe animated movie. I hadn’t seen this in years and years, but I watched it quite a bit when I was growing up, and my sister gave it to us a while ago for Christmas. TRC hadn’t wanted to watch it, because he was convinced it would be too scary for him (there was a picture of the White Witch on the cover, and I think she freaked him out). Anyway, we watched it and had a great time.

But in the process, I was amazed to see just how ghetto the animation in that movie is. I mean, I could do a better job drawing than that. But when I was a kid, I didn’t notice anything like that. The movie was fun to watch, and it showed one of my favorite stories. What was there not to like? And despite the crazy animation, I still have to say that I like the movie, though I’m not sure how much of that is because I was exposed to it so often as an impressionable child. The movie starts right after Lucy gets out of the wardrobe for the first time, which was an interesting choice, but then it chose to show everything that happened before then via a flashback with Lucy narrating, which was fairly lame. It got better after that, managing to tell the story in a capable fashion. While we were watching, TRC reminded me why I liked it so much as a kid: Peter and Edmund are in the final battle, duking it out with swords against a horde of baddies. TRC sat up and said, “Yeah! Those kids are really good at fighting!”

Lesson learned? Connect with kids on their level in a way that is meaningful to them, and you can get by with a whole lot of inferiority. TRC didn’t care about the animation or the weird plot devices. The story made sense, there were characters he could relate to, and it was interesting and exciting to watch. I think sometimes as a writer I get too hung up on this detail or that detail, forgetting that it’s the essence that you’ve got to get right. If that works, everything else is forgivable. If it doesn’t, does it really matter that the prose is pretty?

4 thoughts on “Old School Animation”

  1. It’s true–and I was still able to appreciate the film. Not as much, true, as I had when I was a child, but I was amazed that despite just how awful the animation was, I was still able to get into the story. That’s impressive.

  2. Woo-hoo!!
    I’m glad you still liked it and that TRC enjoyed it, too! I did a paper in my “Lit/Fim and the Bible” course comparing the cartoon version to the BBC version, and I think your comment about connecting to kids is right on, to a certain extent. Granted, I’m not a kid, but the incredibly fake-looking beaver costumes in the BBC version (basically a person standing in a brown-colored barrel with really bad make-up/teeth) would have to be distracting to any child. Until the newer movies, which have the special effects to back up the fantasy aspect of the books, the cartoon genre was much more suitable medium for the Narnia stories for kids. Just my thoughts. 🙂
    I want circus popcorn now.

Leave a comment