Dr. Toon: The Animation Critic's Art - Part III
One thing that I have found upsetting: characters are rarely allowed to show their acting chops these days. Scripts of the 1990s and 2000s have become so talky and dialogue-heavy that some animated films have up to 80 voice artists. Dialogue on TV tends to be non-stop, exposition constant and animation left increasingly to poses which require very little acting. More on this in another installment about the balance between dialogue and action. So, until next time, a fast guide to evaluating character design:
Fun Things to Do:
Think about an animated character that you consider attractive. Why do you think so? Is it design or is it the use to which the character is put?
Think about how much character design does (or does not) affect your evaluation of a cartoon series or movie that you hated. Did it play a part in your opinion?
Now sit down and write your descriptions and thoughts about these characters. Be as descriptive and imaginative as possible.
Try to picture popular animated characters (as originally designed) in modern productions. Could they still get the job done? Would they seem out of place?
Better than the modern design?
Which cartoon characters do you consider to be outstanding actors? Does their design facilitate that? How? What cartoon characters do you find dull and uninteresting? Does their design play a part in your opinion?
Make two lists: one with the best character designs you have seen (or worked with), and another with the worst. Any similarities within the categories?
Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman is a longtime student and fan of animation. He lives in Anderson, Indiana.