Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 8: Sealab 2021

I’ve been a fan of Sealab 2021 for quite a while now, along with other Adult Swim shows which have the same stylistic elements, such as Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman. It looks like the animators use motion tweens to control the characters as if they were puppets, but these days the bone tool would be used to more efficiently do the same job.

Sealab is great a satire of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Johnny Quest, which is where it derives much of its style from. Although there isn’t a wide range of movement within the characters’ bodies and facial movement like you would see in old episodes of Johnny Quest, the animation is still effective delivering the humor. Sealab doesn’t need a lot of action animations to move the story because it really isn’t for kids, but the humor is still there.

Narratives Exercises


I’ve seen this Listerine mouthwash ad on Hulu about a dozen times today. It fades in to a woman in a bathroom brushing her teeth, and the a narrator saying, “If you’re only brushing, add Listerine total care for a more complete oral care.” It doesn’t really have a set up, but the setting hints at what the commercial is about. There isn’t a narrative at all, just a bunch of claims by the narrator about strengthening enamel and fighting cavities. The woman really only appears for about three seconds before going into an animation of Listering swishing around in her mouth cleaning her teeth. After all the claims are made, we see the woman again for a brief second smiling then to a graphic of the Listerine bottle and text that says “the most complete mouthwash,” and the narrator saying the text.


I think the suspension of disbelief is much greater within animations than it is with live action. Since nothing in animations are ‘real’ the audience is more accepting of the exaggerations employed within it than they are with live forms of media. This is a great tool for narratives, since a point can get across to the viewer more quickly through the use of exaggerations in the story.

Also, there is a much less emphasis on continuity with animated shows than there is with live action shows. For example, if Bart rips his shirt in one scene and his shirt isn’t ripped in the next, the audience is okay with it.

I don’t think different styles of animation necessarily means different styles of storytelling, I think it is more the content of the shows that drives its storytelling. The Simpsons, South Park, and the Incredibles are all targeted towards different demographics, and I don’t think their forms of animation are what drives the content of their stories.

Week 7: I Met the Walrus

I absolutely loved this animation. Even though the audio drove along the piece, the animation added a whole new depth to the words. Animating Lennon’s words literally (like calling Levitan’s classmates squares and having them be animated as cubic children) and symbolically (when Lennon said “...the only thing they don’t know about is non-violence and humor” and showing the humerus bone for humor as a play on words), was a really powerful convention for this animation.

Stylistically, it was really well done as well. Being a fan of hand drawn art, I enjoyed the animated Lennon. Combining the hand drawn elements with real pictures in a Monty Python-esque way looked really, really amazing. I think that combination of imagery is what really made this piece as powerful as it is, to really visualize Lennon’s words in that manner.