Spoiler Warnings for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
When I’m passionate about something, I’m really passionate. And something I’ve loved since I was a kid is animation.
There’s so much that goes into it! I have friends who animate and the amount of work they put into even a single project is insane. It’s not something I want to take up myself, but I can admire the effort from a distance.
But aside from seeing friends do it, most of my childhood was made up of animated movies and TV shows. From Disney and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network to anime and DC Animated films, this form of media is so important to me.
So when I see people talking about animation like it’s inferior to or “less than” live action, it kinda pisses me off. Animation isn’t “just for kids” and it’s not immature even if its targeted demographic is often made up of kids.
This culture of turning animated films into live action, CGI-ing the shit out of everything, is bizarre to me. And totally unnecessary.
Yes, live action is great and CGI has its own insane amount of work that goes into it. Yes, it’s fun to cast actors as the characters in our favorite books. And yes, seeing fantasy brought to life in a way that could be real is pretty damn cool.
But it’s not the only path in film.
Take my current favorite animated film as an example, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
This movie. My god. It is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of what animation can be. The blend of different art styles, the way color is used, how they took key comic book elements and brought them to life– It’s a gorgeous film and far beyond my ability to explain the importance of every single nuance but there are plenty of people who do have that ability, all of whom I’ll provide a link.
But let’s not turn this into an Into the Spider-Verse post. So let’s talk about another fantastic feat of animation. Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The Last Airbender is a show that I grew up watching. It’s fun, lighthearted, and shows off countless important themes despite being a “kid show”.
- It features a male protagonist that is unafraid of expressing his emotions and who believes in talking out problems instead of immediately resorting to violence.
- In the first five minutes, it shows a young girl of color calling her brother out on his misogynistic bullshit.
- It shows the importance of choice and how people can grow and change, no matter how terribly they’ve been wronged.
- It has a blind female protagonist who is ADORED by fans for her strength, wit, and–you know–just being a normal kid.
- It also has a young man of color admit to feeling weak and unnecessary due to his lack of special powers but more than makes up for that with his intelligence and creativity.
- It’s shown again and again that warriors who are women are still women. And that both are only facets of a woman’s overall personality.
- All the while, a war is going on and the show manages to highlight its effects from multiple angles.
And aside from all the important themes, cultural significance, and gorgeous art, animation is just FUN.
That’s it. That’s the main reason I adore animation.
In a world where we already see life in live action, animation is a breath of fresh air. It’s an art form and I will never not love it.
Until next time x