Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome to Toon-arama Tuesdays

We’ve decided to dedicate Tuesday’s to Toon-arama! Each Tuesday, we’ll run an article related to the world of cartoons, everything from the classics like the old Disney and Warner Brother cartoons, to their modern brethren the Pixars, to sitcoms like The Simpson’s and tons and tons more.

To me, the classic Disney films are the Holy Grail of cartoons. They were larger than life in so many ways. They were better drawn - whereas Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbara characters walked in perpetual loops, passing over the same five feet over and over, Disney characters had whole worlds to explore. They had depth too. Fred Flintstone did anger. Scooby did scared. The Transformers sold toys. But Disney characters evolved from the start of the story to the end. They learned lessons and became better beings.

Disney did other smart things too. I once read that Disney paid his staff $50 for every original idea they came up with, like shaping the smoke coming from a pipe or having a hippo fly through the air and crash down on a nervous alligator... I love that moment. Disney smartly limited the availability of his films too, to make them something special. They were the first “event films,” and nobody missed those events.

But that doesn’t mean they were my favorites. And that’s the fascinating thing about cartoons. People think of cartoons as “a thing,” in the sense of being all alike – animated, short comedies... for kids. But they really aren’t. Cartoons are as varied as films, if not more so. There are comedies, dramas, action films. There are cartoon versions of literary classics, like The Hobbit. Comic book heroes like Superman and Batman had their animated versions too. The Flintstones is a version of The Honeymooners. Jonny Quest was a spy thriller equal to many James Bond films. Some are musical, like Jabberjaw and Josey and the Pussy Cats or Heavy Metal. Some are adult like Futurama or a lot of anime. In the end, what makes a cartoon a cartoon is that it’s an animated story, that’s it. After that, all bets are off. So join us on Tuesday’s and let’s see where this takes us.

What are some of your favorites?


Backthrow said...

I'm a huge fan of classic cartoons and animation in general, though I don't watch nearly as much of the newer stuff these days, other than some features and a few odds and ends.

Favorites? Too Many!

Virtually any Warner Brothers cartoon made from 1936-1963, and while most people think of them as all being directed by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson, some of the very best were directed by Bob Clampett (my fave, and maker the looniest cartoons of them all!), Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin (later a big live-action comedy director) and Art Davis. Prior to 1936, the majority of WB's cartoons were quaint but dull; post-1963, the studio closed shop and subsequent cartoons were independently contracted from DePatie-Freleng, which were uninspired (lots of Daffy vs Speedy, and the non-Jones Roadrunner cartoons), running on the fumes of the glory days of the 1940s-1950s.

Any Fleischer Studios cartoon, from the silent era to their closure in 1942, especially the black and white Popeye cartoons, Betty Boop and the first round of short Superman cartoons --including the best o the best, MECHANICAL MONSTERS . Their attempts to emulate Disney's style too much in their latter days is part of what did them in, robbing them of their uniquely surreal appeal of the 1920s and the first half of the 1930s.

Tex Avery's MGM cartoons(Droopy, Screwy Squirrel, Wolf & Girl, numerous one-shots), made after he left WB in 1942, and his best work. Hanna-Barbera's popular Tom & Jerry mostly left me cold, apart from a few select shorts. Two great, forgotten MGM shorts were directed by newspaper cartoonist Milt Gross: JITTERBUG FOLLIES and WANTED: NO MASTER.

The Walter Lantz cartoons of the 1940s and early 1950s (Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy), particularly those directed by James Culhane, Dick Lundy, Don Patterson and Tex Avery. Some of Lantz's 1930s cartoons are good, too, but are mainly hard to find.


Backthrow said...

Disney's features that he supervised (up to and including THE JUNGLE BOOK), the short cartoons of the 1930s (especially Mickey Mouse and the Silly Symphonies), the Goofy cartoons of the 1940s/1950s, and the wartime shorts and various one-shots through the 1960s. I never was a fan of the solo Donald Duck films, however.

Some of the better UPA cartoons (the studio of Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing), which were made by a pack of liberal animators who quit Disney after striking in 1941. Notable mainly for the modern design in the cartoons, which influenced nearly everyone else (including Disney) in the 1950s, the cartoons were embraced by high-brow critics, won a bunch of Oscars, but weren't nearly as popular with audiences (other than Magoo). Most of the shorts were striking-looking and creative, but also rather mild and/or dull. There were some high points... ROOTY TOOT TOOT (which Andrew might get a kick out of), THE TELL-TALE HEART, A UNICORN IN THE GARDEN, GERALD MCBOING BOING and some of the earlier Mr. Magoo cartoons.

Ub Iwerks, who left Disney for a time in the early 1930s to run his own little studio (and where Chuck Jones got his entry-level job in the business), made some great cartoons, like ROOM RUNNERS and STRATOS FEAR.

George Pal's stop-motion/replacement animation Puppetoons, particularly TULIPS SHALL GROW.

The National Film Board of Canada's THE CAT CAME BACK and GET A JOB are great as are Aardman Animation's Wallace & Gromit, especially THE WRONG TROUSERS, and Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka's JUMPING.

And that's just some of the short-form stuff...

K said...

I'm a bit more selective than Backthrow.

Warner Bros: Anything directed by Chuck Jones between 1942 and the mid 50s, Robert Clampett between 1942 and 1946. The rest of the WB directing talent were two cuts below these giants.

MGM:Everything done by Tex Avery at MGM.

Disney:The "classics" - pretty much every animated feature and a fair percentage of the shorts. The original Fantasia is an overall favorite.

Post Disney "Disney": I consider the Eisner-Katzenberg period to be one of profitable mediocrity punctuated by incidences of animation atrocities. The ones I can actually watch would be Beauty and the Beast, Lilo and Stitch, Emperor's New Grove and Treasure planet. 2d animation RIP

Pixar: The Incredibles, WALL-E, Brave.

Random favs: Despicable Me, Cats Don't Dance, Kung Fu Panda.

Dave Olson said...

The most under-rated duo in the American comedy pantheon: Chuck Jones and Michale Maltese. Their animated shorts were about as close as one can get to perfection. Ask anyone what their favorite WB toon was and chances are it will be a Jones/Maltese masterpiece, even if they don't know the actual titles:

-the one with the singing frog
-the opera with "Kill da Wabbit!"
-the bulldog carrying the kitten on his shoulder
-any of the (later) Road Runner cartoons where the "orchestra" wasn't an accordion and a xylophone
-Duck Dodgers
-Bugs at the bullfight
-Porky and Sylvester in the haunted house
-Duck Amuck
- Marvin the Martian and the Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator
- "Duck Season!" "Wabbit Season!"

And so on. There might be a few stragglers from the "B" and "C" teams of Friz Freeling and Robert McKimson, but the Jones toons were the real gems.

Anthony said...

I'm going to skip the previously mentioned stuff but I'm still going to write a small book, so I apologize in advance.

I don't bother to watch the Simpsons anymore and haven't for years, but when it was younger it was golden. Episodes like Bart the General, Itchy and Scratchy and Marge, Kamp Krusty, Homer Goes to College and The Flying Hellfish were classics which make me smile just thinking about them.

King of the Hill was a show I was really expecting not to like (its from the people who inflicted Beavis and Butthead upon the world) but it was a remarkable show. It was grounded, character driven and boasted some interesting plotlines. The abusive, racist Khan was an awesome character.

Avatar is amazing. Its a really great kid's action with strong plotlines, lovely visuals and interesting characters.

The first half of Gargoyles (before it morphed into the bland Goliath Chronicles) was really good stuff. It boasted great action and lengthy story arcs one didn't normally see in Western cartoons back then.

The DCAU has done a lot of great work. If one wants to understand why I hate The Dark Knight Rises with the passion of a thousand suns watch the beginning of the first episode of Batman Beyond, which shows the only way I could see Bruce retiring. Other DCAU favorites are Justice League Unlimited (which had literally dozens of superheroes though of course the core was a lot smaller than that), the Wonder Woman movie and Batman, but DCAU very rarely puts a foot wrong.

The Japanese take their animated movies a lot more seriously than we do and while that can sometimes be disturbing, sometimes its awesome. Akira (insane visuals and incredible action), Ghost in the Shell (great visuals and a nice story), Ninja Scroll (gory as hell, but awesome fights), Grave of the Fireflies (one of the saddest movies I've ever seen), Spirited Away (the best animated movie ever made), The Secret of Arriety (a clever movie which shows how even someone meaning well can wind up doing a lot of harm) and Samurai Champloo (one of the only anime tv series I'm both familiar with and fond of, filled with great action and a nice dynamic between the three principles) are all just great entertainment.

I'm going to end my novel with a tip of the hat to Genndy_Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken, two guys who (separately and together) were involved in a lot of Cartoon Network's stronger non-DCAU series including but not limited to Samurai Jack (incredible action cartoon), Powerpuff Girls (which combined cute and violent with a skill rarely seen), Symbionic Titan (which died too young, but had some great episodes) and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (cute but very clever).

Anonymous said...

The three categories of cartoon that I am most interested in are Disney, Pixar, and stop motion animation (from Davey and Goliath and Rudolph to Aardman.) I've loved them from the time I was a little kid both as entertainment and a subject of academic interest.

In fact, I think Disney films might be the first topic I got really nerdy about . . .

Also, Disney films are responsible for my enduring interest in (obsession with?) Sherlock Holmes: The Great Mouse Detective (the first Disney film to incorporate CGI into the traditionally animated film) was my super ultimate FAVORITE EVER Disney film. :-)

I have seen my fair share of Looney Tunes and other Merry Melodies stuff, Hanna Barbera, Rankin/Bass, That Lord of the Rings with all the poorly done rotoscoping!!!! I've even watched all of Star Trek TAS. But other than the LotR-related ones, I've never had that much interest in them. I never appreciated the aesthetic.

I'm so excited about Toon-arama Tuesdays!

djskit said...

If I had to pick one moment in animation that can surmize the power and art it can accomplish - that would be the scene in Disney's Dumbo where the mom is locked in a cage, and she interacts with Dumbo only with her trunk.

The amount of emotion conveey with a elephant trunk is astounding and make me tear up every time I see it.

HuuskerDu said...

Let me put in a plug for Japanese anime. A lot of people think it is niche stuff for otaku weirdos, and it is true that, per Sturgeons' Law, 90+% of anime is utter crap. The same can be said for any form of entertainment. But the best anime seiyuus (writers) beat the pants off the best of Hollywood's screenwriters in terms of creativity, plot, and sheer writing ability.

Here's an example from a romantic anime series, 'ef: A Tale of Memories':

Chihiro is an anterograde amensiac (13 hour memory limit), who can fall in love all over again each and every day. She wears a paper eyepatch because, after the auto accident, when the doctors tried to fit her with a glass eye, she would wake up each morning and panic and literally rip the thing out of her eye socket. (A paper eyepatch is easier to replace every day.)

Keep in mind that Chihiro's brain damage is permanent. It cannot be fixed. There are no miracles anywhere in ef: Dead people stay dead, dying people remain dying, and in Chihiro's case, brain damaged people stay brain damaged.

Renji is Chihiro's totally dedicated lover. Everybody warns him off, but he stays faithful. She writes in her diary about the growing relationship, and she re-reads the diary every morning to get up to speed. But the pages grow and grow and grow.

She can't read them all. Eventually she realizes that it will never work, so she tears up the pages of the diary and throws them to the wind, thus effectively killing Renji in her mind. She does it because she loves him. She doesn't want to put him through the torture of restarting a love relationship from scratch literally every day.

Renji heroically runs after the flying pages to try to collect them. He frantically searches for them everywhere, all day and all night. He mostly succeeds.

He returns the next morning with the torn-out pages, despite the fact that by now Chihiro has forgotten him. Her memory of him is now completely gone.

Chihiro knows that she is trapped by a 13 hour chain. The chain is her mental prison.

But wait, she had not forgotten Renji after all. She somehow still remembered him after 13 hours! Wait, how could that possibly happen? Simple. She thinks about Renji. This refreshes her memory of him in her brain. As long as she thinks about him within the 13 hour window, she can roll it forward. And thus she can remember him indefinitely.

And so she has her epiphany. The chain breaks and she is free. This is shown graphically and symbolically. She is free. She doesn't need the diary any longer to keep him in her heart. And so they commit.

You can see the highlights of this story on YouTube. Search for 'Epic Ef Scenes ~ Her Lost Pages' by MistyDecember (1:01) and 'Epic Ef Scenes ~ Breaking Chihiro's Chains' also by MistyDecember (1:45). This is where Chihiro has her epiphany.

I've gotten hooked on this stuff. It blows away the Hollywood crap. Another huge recommendation is CLANNAD and CLANNAD After Story. It is transcendent. Don't believe me? Read the reviews on Amazon.

And then there are the feature length films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Pixar film director John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars) has raved about Spirited Away and creater/writer Hayao Miyazaki's genius. Lasseter had said that Miyazaki is a big inspiration for a lot of the writers and artists at Pixar.

KRS said...

I'm not going to comment on the classics.

HOWEVER ... I will say that Fineas and Ferb is a series that is easily the equal of the best that has come before it and the master over all that remain. They have a tight concept, smooth animation, engaging characters, imaginative music and lyrics (by the estimable group, "Love Muffin") and wonderful subplots. They are also trope stompers of the highest order, and they seem to easily span the humor range between kids and grown ups.

Now that I have embarrassed myself, back into my hole.

HuuskerDu said...

Correction: The gushing reviews on Amazon are for 'CLANNAD After Story' (the second season).

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Wallace and Grommit are fantastic. They are some of my favorite characters. I'm especially amazed at how emotive Grommit is despite not having a mouth.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's an excellent list. Despicable Me stands out in the modern age to me as well. Too much of what I see today just strikes me as bland, cautious and predictable. That one was different somehow... very enjoyable.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, That is an excellent list of very memorable cartoons -- and that is how most people will remember them. I especially like the "kill da wabbit" one. :)

Kit said...

One of my favorite Disney scenes:
"Little April Showers"

Every single raindrop was hand-drawn. But that alone does not make it brilliant. Its the ways the parents strive to keep their younglings dry and the occasional comic reaction of a drop hitting the head or nose of one of the said younglings that makes it a joy to watch.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I'm definitely going to talk about Samurai Jack. I didn't expect that to be a very good show when it first started. The initial promos looked kind of uninteresting and poorly drawn. But wow was that an amazing piece of work. I think the problem with the promos is that there is no way to convey what they were doing until you saw 5-6 of the episodes and then it all started to come together.

PDBronco said...

I always found the Chuck Jones WB shorts (especially the later ones) a bit boring. There were a few good ones (What's Opera Doc) but the humor wasn't always there in the later ones. Plus, most of his characters looked alike.

I prefer the earlier WB work - Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery... not only was their work funnier but I found the animation more interesting.

Tex Avery really hit his stride at MGM. He did a number of classics there. And I'll disagree a bit on Tom and Jerry - the early (pre-Chuck Jones) ones done for theatrical presentations were typically quite good.

There is a huge difference in quality for both WB and MGM cartoons between the movie house cartoons and the TV cartoons.

I do want to mention the "silver era" of WB animation - the TV cartoons done by WB in the 90's. With shows like Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures, Freakazoid!, Histeria, and Pinky and the Brain (spun off from Animaniacs), they tried to recapture the style of humor of the 30's and 40's - humor aimed at both kids and parents (or other adults like me). And with shows like Batman, The Animated Series, they showed that they could do great drama and action as well (plus, they gave us the second best Joker - after Cesar Romaro - Mark Hamill).

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion, I'm glad to hear it! I know we have a lot of toon fans, so it seemed like a nice addition.

I love the Rankin Bass stuff too. I grew up on that as well and you knew each season when they would start to appear.

PDBronco said...

For modern animation, it's hard to beat Studio Ghibli. Great stories, beautiful animation, and wonderful voice actors - in the original Japanese. Forget the American dubs, listen to the emotion of the original actors and read the subtitles.

AndrewPrice said...

djskit, It's amazing the kind of emotional power a cartoon can convey, isn't it?

AndrewPrice said...

HuuskerDu, I've actually found that the Japanese are very strong when it comes to love stories. They seem to accept a bunch of classic ideas (like loyalty) which Hollywood considers too sappy and is too cynical to use.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. "ef: A Tale of Memories" sounds like the love story version of Nolan's Memento.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, LOL! There's no shame in enjoying any cartoon. :)

K said...

Andrew: Thanks for starting "Toon Tuesday". I look forward to blithering about something I really enjoy.

Some suggestions for future subjects:

1. WTF happened to Disney animation after Lion King?

2. Can 2d animation make a comeback?

3. A review of "Despicable Me" and how did a couple guys take on Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks industry monsters and kick their butts profitability wise.

4. What are the characteristics of some animated features that can often make them more enjoyable than live action?

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I miss the hand-drawn stuff. The computer stuff all feels fake to me... generic.

AndrewPrice said...

PDBronco, There was a real "Silver Era" wasn't there right around that time. Disney was doing well too with things like Scrooge McDuck and Duck Tails. There were some very enjoyable cartoons right around that period!

AndrewPrice said...

K, You're welcome. It seems like this will be a fun topic. :)

Good questions! We'll definitely hit those. And man, didn't Disney totally fall apart at that point!

Kit said...

I don't mind computer-generated and it has produced some great stuff.

And some of the hand-drawn stuff of the 90s seemed generic, too. (When they were all trying to rip off Disney)

Kit said...

Actually the cartoons of the 90s are called the "Renaissance Age".
"Renaissance Age of Animation"

tryanmax said...

K, those are some good topics and I'll be wrangling with Andrew over who gets what. Although, I can totally swoop in and answer #2 very quickly and easily:

Can 2d animation make a comeback?

Yes and no.

If you mean traditional hand-drawn animation, then no. The financial and time outlays are very prohibitive. There's a reason why only one studio could ever make a good go of it, and much of that owes to their merchandizing prowess.

If, however, you are open to 2D animation via computer (sometimes referred to as flash animation, though Adobe Flash is rarely used by studios) I don't see any reason why not. A lot of television programming is done this way currently and I would venture the thing keeping it from the big screen it's relative crudeness. When the technique is more refined, I would expect it to make the big screen.

K said...

tryanmax: Way to steal a step on Andrew for one of the "hot" topics, dude! (fistbump!)

There have been a couple of Disney "2d" animations that are fairly watchable but are 3d to 2d computer based. "Tron" and "Paperman" most recently. Like you say, if the technique can be refined there could be hope. 2d has capabilities in terms of cartoon symbolism that 3d can't match.

Kenn Christenson said...

When I was younger I really liked Gumby. Always liked stop motion animation over cell. Probably why I got into miniature work. And, what would the Holidays be without the Rankin-Bass stop motion specials?

PDBronco said...

The stop-motion comments bring up a good discussion point. How do we define "toons" or animation? Do we include the Rankin-Bass stop-motion? Will Vinton's claymation? Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation?

AndrewPrice said...

PDBronco, I think that by and large, we'll stick with animation, but we'll also do some other areas at times -- like stop motion and claymation.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, True. What would the holidays be without those?

Rustbelt said...

Some random snobs said...
"Those '80's action cartoons are stupid and irrelevant because they were based on toylines and only used to sell toys. So commercial. So, therefore, they're good cartoons at all."

Laundry flies onto the field.

And Rustbelt the Ref says...
"We have two fouls on the play. First, heavy use of cynicism to draw away from the cartoons in question without actually looking at them. And second- identity politics. Assuming attributes because of a common characteristic."

I have plenty to say about Disney and WB as well, but I'm going to stick up for the much-maligned 80's action cartoons. I don't know about you, but my viewing as a child kind of revolved around 'He-Man,' 'Transformers,' 'G.I. Joe,' and 'TMNT.'
Now, I'm not going to lie. Several of them were rushed and had numerous animation errors. (But if we're going by animation quality, then Johnny Quest and Scooby Doo are at the bottom of the barrel.) But the great thing about those shows- which I've come to appreciate more these days- is that the characters had their own personalities and many of the episodes were actually character-driven. Plots came from some of the good guys having egos or being too impulsive (Shipwreck, Grimlock); and the bad guys weren't exactly united. Often, they suffered from power struggles (Cobra Commander, Zartan, Starscream).
So, here's to good, old-fashioned action heroes. Villains, beware!

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I enjoyed most of the 80s cartoons as well -- Smurfs, Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man, Thundarr, etc. There is only one that "went too far" to me, and that's "Centurions" where the characters actually showed you how to assemble the toys as their power move. That was too much for me. But I like the rest, even if they were meant as marketing for toys... I just didn't buy the toys. :)

tryanmax said...

Actually, Andrew, we've already folded-in stop-motion with last year's view on Coraline.

Generally, animation is defined as any technique using successive still images to create the illusion of movement. In the case of computer generated or computer assisted animation, the computational process known as "tweening" essentially keeps this definition intact. Therefore, the defining aspect of the process is that the motion must be illusory. Thus, marionettes and motion-capture techniques are excluded as the motion is real.

The definition of a cartoon (or toon) is more limited. Typically, a cartoon is understood to be a simple or stylized drawing that is non-realistic to semi-realistic. As cartooning has risen as an artform, it has come to encompass other artforms that utilize the cartooning technique, such as comics and animation.

For a variety of reasons, stop-motion and cel animation have been conflated from the beginning. Among these are lack of vernacular terminology and similarities of visual style. The advent of 3D computer animation essentially closes the gap between posed figurines and painted drawings. So, for the purposes of cinematic discussion, I believe it is fair to describe all three techniques as "toons."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I have no problem with that. And as you note, these things have always been conflated with cartoons from the beginning. So I think they will fit well enough.

As an aside, you also did a Rankin Bass Christmas article that brought in some of this as well.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, Kit, if Bambi is not one of Disney's most gorgeous films? Little April Shower is only the beginning. I think the sequence with all the male deer bounding through the meadow and over that log while Bambi hides is amazing. And Faline (sp?) being chased by the hunting dogs as well!

I know a lot of conservative types dislike Bambi for it's anti-gun/anti-hunting message, but I don't even care. I watch Bambi, and if I ever have kids, they will too. Even if we eat deer jerky while we watch it. :-D

Kit said...

I'm going to second Avatar: the Last Airbender.

I've watched most of the first season and it really is amazing!

Kit said...

Here is a fan trailer for the show: LINK

Great writing, animation, characters, etc.

Just a GREAT show!

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion, I agree. Bambi is probably Disney's most beautiful film.

LOL! deer jerky

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That looks great. At first, I thought you meant Cameron's Avatar and I was going to punch you.

Anonymous said...

Deer jerky beats the pants off of beef jerky. If you don't agree, then clearly you have not eaten deer jerky!


Anonymous said...

I thought Kit was referring to Cameron's avatar, and I was going to complain 1. that it wasn't _really_ an animated movie and 2. that it was the most terrible and infuriating piece of unutterable garbage I've ever seen. :-P

Dave Olson said...

Avatar is the modern equivalent of Song of the South, in that it mixes live action and animation. I saw SotS in the early 80s, when Disney could still re-release it into theaters without Civil Rights, Inc., protesting.

And if you want a real treat, forget beef or venison jerky. Try bison jerky.

AndrewPrice said...

goldvermilion and Dave, I've never had either jerky.

Totally agree about Cameron's Avatar. You should read my review. I did not enjoy it.

Dave, I saw Song of the South again about five years ago and it was a pretty lousy movie all around. I think that if it hadn't had the publicity for the race issue, it would have been a long forgotten Disney.

Kit said...

Avatar:The Last Airbender came FIRST! And, as the Nostalgia Critic said, "The best Avatar ain't that blue pussy turd!"

Kit said...

"Dave, I saw Song of the South again about five years ago and it was a pretty lousy movie all around. I think that if it hadn't had the publicity for the race issue, it would have been a long forgotten Disney."

That's what I've heard. I do not think I have ever watched it all the way through. I think I sort of quit after the "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da" song.


By the way, re Avatar: The Last Airbender, SKIP THE MOVIE! It was directed by M. Night Shyamalan post-Signs and, while I have not seen it personally, just about every fan I've heard of hated it.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Star Blazers (aka Battleship Yamato)... loved it.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo by Robert Scmigel for SNL is often hilarious...

Looney Tunes (1940s-50s) are the ne plus ultra of animation.

Anonymous said...

Damn, so many cartoons... When I was a kid I watched a lot of the aforementioned Looney Tunes, though I don't remember many specific shorts. I always was fond of Taz and the Coyote and Roadrunner shorts, though. Ninja Turtles was a big favorite of mine as a little kid, and I also watched Transformers and GI Joe, as well as collecting toys from all three.

One series that stands out to me as very well done on all levels was Batman: The Animated Series in the early-mid 90s. The intro alone let you know you were in for an intense episode, and it almost always delivered. I loved the way they handled Two-Face's story arc in particular and it's a big reason why he's my favorite Batman villain. Mark Hamill's incredible voice work for the Joker merits mentioning too of course, and I've been meaning to play the Arkham games partially to hear his Joker and Kevin Conroy's Batman again (aside from the fact they're supposed to be incredible gameplay-wise as well).

I slowly stopped watching it as I reached middle school, which was around the time I discovered and enjoyed Gargoyles as well. When I started looking at the voice list I was surprised to see how many Star Trek TNG actors were among the cast. I still remember how confident and composed Jonathan Frakes sounded as Xanatos.

I was never big on the Disney movies, but DuckTales and Darkwing Duck were big favorites of mine as a kid, too. Scrooge's adventures were always entertaining, and needless to say I was grinning big when he showed up in Kingdom Hearts II! Darkwing was also a lot of fun and he did have some good, memorable adversaries as well.

Hah, it feels like I could go on forever here, but I'll cut it off by saying that South Park is about the only animated show I currently watch. The Simpsons were great for a while and I watched them a lot as a kid, but I got out of it later. You are right about cartoons hardly being kiddy, though, Andrew. Batman, Gargoyles, and some of the anime mentioned above are all quality things that older viewers can appreciate.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I wasn't aware of this film you're talking about. I only knew the Cameron film and then the M. Night failure. So I'll check it out.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I have to say that I too was pulled in by "Star Blazers." LOL! That was really enjoyable.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I stopped watching The Simpsons years ago as well.

I only stumbled upon Batman: The Animated Series a few years ago and I was truly impressed. I enjoyed that a lot.

South Park is kind of hit or miss with me these days. I don't watch it nearly as regularly as I used to.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I was generally losing interest in animation when I stopped watching The Simpsons, though articles about their ratings stunts didn't impress me, though I still caught the odd episode now and then. I think what put me off of the series was the episode where Lisa became a vegetarian since the whole thing felt so ridiculously heavy-handed. From what I understand I haven't really missed anything since.

Batman: The Animated Series was indeed incredible. The series had a cool, dark feel to it and the way they handled Batman and his villains was always nice to see. As I mentioned above Two-Face's story arc remains my favorite from the series. They had built up Harvey Dent as good and likeable through his earlier appearances before doing the two episodes showing his injury and turning into Two-Face. Two-Face's subsequent appearances were very sinister as well and were some of the highlights of the series for me.

I'll admit South Park seems to have dropped in quality a bit lately. Out of the latest season the toilet safety episode had me cracking up and I got a good chuckle out of them making fun of internet memes and Honey Boo-Boo but I wasn't impressed at all with their Cash For Gold episode and the rest were either just OK or mildly amusing for me. I still plan on tuning in when the season starts back, though.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, The Simpsons went well for 6-7 years, something like that. Then they started believing their own press. They became very liberal and heavy-handed. They packed their shows with pointless guest stars. And they completely lost the edge that made them so interesting.

I really enjoyed the Batman series. Everything about it was cool and I love his relationship with Catwoman.

South Park is still funny at times and has its moments, but it just doesn't interest me anymore. If I end up watching it, it's by accident.

Kit said...

"Kit, I wasn't aware of this film you're talking about. I only knew the Cameron film and then the M. Night failure. So I'll check it out."

Avoid the movie. Just watch the cartoon TV show.

Anonymous said...

So, has anyone but me watched Star Trek the Animated Series?

Backthrow said...

I watched the animated STAR TREK series, around the time it first aired. It was well-written and performed, though suffered a bit from the static, super-low-budget Filmation animation. I enjoyed it at the time, but it wasn't anything I sought out later, though I did catch bits of it when Nickelodeon re-ran it in the 1980s.

Speaking of Filmation, the best thing they ever did was FLASH GORDON... but not necessarily the serialized Saturday morning cartoon of 1979-80 (though I loved it at the time)... rather, I mean the all-but-forgotten prime-time animated TV-movie it was derived from. It was actually made for release in 1978, in response to STAR WARS' success, but got shelved by NBC in favor of its footage being re-purposed (often re-drawn, and lots of repeated action and footage to pad the running time), re-voiced (with a partially different voice cast) and adapted (the WWII/Hitler background/subplot was ditched, action/violence toned down) into the Saturday morning serial version.

It didn't air in its original, superior movie form until 1982, broadcast maybe once or twice, and was never released on home video in the USA. Fortunately, someone uploaded FLASH GORDON: THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF ALL to YouTube, which is the only way it can be seen these days, if you have a spare 94 minutes. It really rocks... it's a little bit like like an off-world, animated RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

tryanmax said...

I've watched ST:TAS, as well. I think the Filmation style has a unique charm. It's amazing how consistent their "hero" style (Adventures of Superman/Batman/Aquaman, Star Trek, He-Man/She-Ra) stayed from the 60s to the 80s.

I would advise against basing any drinking games on spotting reused animation sequences--you'll be friendly with the carpet before you know it.

Dave Olson said...

Did anyone ever watch "Battle of the Planets"?

K said...

Yes, but I preferred Carl Macek's Macross by a wide margin.

PikeBishop said...

RE: Bambi:

You know that scene where Bambi's Mother gets shot. That makes me cry everytime.

The Father's at least an 8 point and he gets away clean......

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