The Power of Animation

Almost from birth we are exposed to animation of one form or another.

Whether we’re talking about Wallace and Gromit style stop motion animation, or the traditional amalgamation of film cells and paint, feature-length or 30-second sketch – we are surrounded by a variety of offerings on a daily basis.

And pretty much from the start we are taught to love animation. The slapstick humour of Tom and Jerry, the good-natured adventures of the afore-mentioned Wallace and Gromit, the magic of Disney and the madness of Studio Ghibli. As kids our parents let us lap it up, as adults we find a new appreciation for the beauty on-screen, and the subtle side to some of the humour.

Perhaps this image we have that animated shows and films are all about fun, frolics and happy endings is why they can on occasion sucker punch us with a real moment of heart wrenching pain, anguish or sadness.

Anyone who has seen Up cannot fail to have been moved by the opening 30 minutes. Practically the whole tale of one boy’s journey through life is thrown at us in those opening scenes, culminating in one abrupt and painful event which shotguns us in to the ‘present’ of Carl Fredricksen’s life.

Toy Story became an endearing tale of friendship and loss that spanned across three hit movies.

Need I even mention Bambi’s mother and the infamous gun shot?

Whilst both films have resulted in their fair share of tears shed, without question the most brutal punch to the gut I have ever received from a movie was as a result of the Studio Ghibli masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies.

Ghibli is, in somewhat simplistic terms, a Japanese Disney. It’s film are often utterly bonkers but also very good-natured and cover that old cliché of ‘fun for all the family’

Grave of the Fire Flies therefore sticks out somewhat, being a war film – and it is without any sense of irony I say it is by far the most powerful movie I have ever watched. A friend once described it as the “best movie I’ll never want to see again”.

If you haven’t seen it, do so, now. NOW! If only because it is the ultimate display of the power of animation.

Live action films have had their fair share of tearjerker moments, but somehow they never quite hit it out of the emotional park like the animators can…


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