Posted by hyperpat on November 15, 2006
What’s with all the penguins lately? First we had a penguin logo for a certain flavor of computer operating system. Then came March of the Penguins (recommended! Darn few documentaries get this level of viewership, and this presents a view with as many harsh moments as those “Ahhh…” ones). Now we have Happy Feet (which I do plan on seeing this Friday) and Surf’s Up. Even Amazon tried to get into the game, adding a little penguin figure to their pages – although it disappeared today while they are trying to fix some software bugs.
I guess, like everything else, once someone starts something, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. At least this fad is a warm and fuzzy one.
It also points up something else that’s been happening in the movies lately: the large number of animated features that have been released in the last few years, only a few of which have been Disney flicks. From Flushed Away (also recommended) and Over the Hedge to the excellent Chicken Run and Ice Age, each one has seemed to push the limits of just what is possible in the world of animation. And that’s probably a good portion of why animation is suddenly hot again, after a long dry spell. Computation power + better software has led to the ability to deliver this type of film with much better graphics while still controlling the cost to something that is reasonable. As long as they can couple this with good, original stories, I think this trend will continue. The danger is if Hollywood, seeing the success of some of these movies, decides to make effective clones, without looking for good, original stories. Because nothing will kill this faster, regardless of how good the graphics are.