Did CGI Change Animated Storytelling?

It’s an interesting question. The thesis of this video is that hand-drawn animation, by its nature, wants to tell stories about small numbers of characters in an isolated setting, because that kind of story is easy and less expensive to draw, whereas the nature of CGI and its ability to animate large numbers of objects at once pushes animation in the direction of telling stories in a larger, more cosmopolitan setting, like a big city. As a result, hand-drawn animation works well with traditional fairy tales, in which the old order is corrupted and it is the hero’s task to restore the status quo, whereas CGI pushes storytelling in the direction of a more complex society, one with injustices that the hero is called upon to redress.

It’s worth watching, because the video makes a convincing case, though I would quibble with the use of the words “conservative” and “liberal” to describe these two types of stories, as those two words harbor political implications that have nothing to do with the thesis and therefore muddy the waters. I would have described the two kinds of stories as “restorative” and “transformative.” Still, an insightful video, well worth watching if you’re interested in feature film animation, but try not to get hung up on the conservative/liberal thing.

“This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think!”

I hope not.

So there’s a new trailer out for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it looks pretty cool:

But do I have qualms? Of course I do!

The Force Awakens wasn’t bad—it had much to like, in fact—but it seemed an awful lot like a rehash of the original 1977 Star Wars. Similarly, this trailer suggests a film that rehashes The Empire Strikes Back. It seems a safe bet that Kylo Ren and Rey are related in some way. Siblings? Cousins? This is Star Wars after all. The trailer is hinting at an “I am your brother” moment. The loving shot of a line of classic AT-ATs does nothing to ease my fear. Please, please, please, can you do something new and not keep rehashing the original trilogy? Thanks.

It could be just the way the trailer is edited. If you watch it closely, you can see it’s mashing up moments from different scenes to make you think things are happening that aren’t really happening. So maybe the trailer editor just thought it would be fun to mess with us.

Also, the last time Star Wars did something new, it was Jar-Jar Binks, which is a pretty good argument that rehashing the original trilogy is maybe not the worst idea.

We’ll find out soon enough.