When many think of animation they imagine a piece of juvenile media: some colourful adventure with an animal protagonist and a thinly veiled moral lesson.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Animation is a playground for creativity, allowing whatever story that comes to mind to be told. It allows the creators to break the boundaries of human capability on screen, manipulating anything into doing the impossible.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is a stop motion animation film that utilises this playground to the max. The film may be preconceived as childish due to its connections with the classic children’s fable. The wooden boy come to life, his mentor cricket, and comically large nose all sound like the perfect concoction for a children’s movie.
Yet, in the plot, Del Toro explores grief, war, and religion with frankness and an aesthetic maturity that would appeal to any age group. The use of colour, texture and cinematography around the stop motion figures contributes to the dark and spiritual ambience throughout the film.
The stop motion animation medium requires such intricacy and is extraordinarily labour intensive that deserves immense producorial credit; it’s a skill to be revelled by any viewer who recognises it.
Despite this, the animated tag and the link to classic Disney will have potential audiences cast it aside for fears of it being ‘too childish’.
Even then, animation can be childish and still be enjoyable for older audiences. Shows like South Park and Rick and Morty are created for the goofy ‘over-grown child’ adult. Then we have BoJack Horseman and Big Mouth that are also comedies but have a darkness and realism in them, allowing them to have some emotional substance amongst the comedy the viewers look for.
Films such as Shrek and Finding Nemo are genuinely made for children but have sly, crude jokes designed to fly over the heads of younger viewers whilst bemusing their parents – and they do have moral lessons that anyone could do with learning.
The gist here is to not limit your options – just because you enjoy swimming, doesn’t mean you can’t like tennis, and the same goes for movies. Yes, the emotion and talent shown by on-screen actors can be beautifully intense and sophisticated, but animated films can have that complexity too. Do not write them off, or risk losing an entire field of beautiful movie craftmanship.
Feature Image Credit: Netflix