Saturday, 9 April 2011

Pixar and the total truth

You can't ever be let down by a cartoon, can you? You have characters smashed to the ground with a frying pan in the face, but they get up and carry on, maybe running off a cliff until they realise gravity exists. Then they crawl out the hole in the ground with lumps all over their face.

I love those fantasies, because they're so human. I don't know about you, but I already skulk between the emotional worlds which give those cartoon moments their compelling power. I lurch between predictable sequences of blind optimism and crushing realisation towards quiet resentment, driving grudge and self pitying misery without any prescience whatsoever. It's like experience teaches me nothing! I am destined to fall off the cliff after the frying pan moment time and time again!

So it's an easy leap from here to totally believe that houses can be lifted by balloons, cars can talk and toys do live. It's a great world to inhabit, where anything can happen! Except intense emotions like joy or despair, such as arise with sex or death. Cartoons can't do either of those properly, so even that is pretty much like most normal life round here on any average day of any average week.

The result of inhabiting an emotional and thematic landscape much the same as Toy Story (e.g., maturity, loss, loyalty, optimism, self-delusion, crushing reality), means of course I must visit the exhibition Pixar: 25 years of animation. It's opening in Hong Kong but travelling round to you soon.

The delight I feel on seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff which makes up real/cartoon life must be like getting high on drugs. But who needs those when you can see a beautiful 3D crafted model of Darlene from Finding Nemo? Or find out that there is indeed a job of fur grooming on a computer animated pink teddy bear? This is fantastic reality indeed, and I take to bouncing around the exhibition like an irritating six year old, pointing at stuff and squealing.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger put up with it all, and tell me that none of it is really real. They try to persuade me that dogs do not really talk when you strap an electronic translating sound box collar to their throats, and neither does an elderly person carry a lone party balloon up a garden path to a solitary house, itself about to be airlifted to a jungle where humans must struggle with their place on the line that threads together brutality and civilization.

But children, they do, they do.


sharon said...

When my younger son first discovered cartoons as a small toddler he was terrified of them! It wasn't until his language was better developed at the age of two that he could explain why. Turns out that he realised that cartoon animations were neither puppets nor people, which he 'understood' both in reality and as fiction, but something else entirely! Once he found out how they worked he was fascinated and remains committed to the genre to this day.

MadameSmokinGun said...

Toy Story series and Up - blubbed through them all. More real than the kids realise!

I love cartoons. Sometimes think I am one.