So I was talking with some friends at work and the topic of Animaniacs came up. I don't think I'd seen it since I used to watch it after school every day, but I remembered I loved it (especially Chicken Boo, haha). One of my friends has the DVDs, and I asked her if they were as good as they seemed back when they aired (cause when I watch a lot of the shows that I used to love as a kid, I see them in a whole new, and less golden, light). Of course she gave me a confident nod, and I immediately headed to the glorious vault of vidoes known as You Tube to look up my long lost love. Here are some gems that I found:
Chicken Boo (Spielberg/Warner Bros. Animation)
The Ballad of Magellan (Spielberg/Warner Bros. Animation)
The creativity in these shorts is awesome, especially considering the TV schedule they worked on! I have always loved music and animation, and when they're used intelligently the result is a level of entertainment unachievable by any other means. Music is a language of its own, and I think it's a shame that so many people look down on musical animation, especially in Disney films. It's the same as the false argument that 2D animation is dead, and CG is the only medium people want to see. If the music serves to enhance the story and entertainment value, we shouldn't be afraid to use it! Our goal as animators is to communicate a story through emotional character acting, and music is able to communicate emotions in ways that dialogue and pantomime alone can't. Music is felt.
Take the Ballad of Magellan. Would it be nearly as entertaining had the characters only spoken the words? I'm sure a version could be done without music that's certainly entertaining in its own right, but it still wouldn't be able to communicate in the same way. With or without music, our goals are the same, but certain stories and emotions are more suited to certain methods than others. The Incredibles as a musical? Probably not. It's a super-hero movie. The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King? I'm convinced they would have been lesser movies without their great songs that pushed the story forward. It's not about having a soundtrack. Soundtracks are passive, they play in the background in transition between scenes. But songs like Part of Your World are so expressive, take an active role in telling the story, and maybe even influence the animators to produce even more expressive animation. The combination can be overpowering, and one I hope to see again.
The same argument can be used for musical score of movies. One of my favorite movies is Back to the Future. Think about how powerful and exciting the main theme is, and the score throughout. Can you imagine how different that movie would feel had the main theme been soft and soothing?
Anyway, don't know how I got on that topic for so long :P That's what blogs are for I guess! Enjoy the Animaniacs vids, I just might go get the DVDs!