Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Dying Breed

One night, I really can't remember when, I can't even remember where I was (for some reason i think it was a hotel), but I up late watching TV. And when there's nothing to watch, I usually turn to my 'kid' channels like YTV and Teletoon. Anyway, when I hit YTV I saw this strangely animated cartoon. The strangeness about it was how good it was animated. Like the quality just seemed beyond TV. I later discovered that it was the Ultimate Avengers movie. It's part of a straight-to-dvd high quality animated series that Marvel has started. And let me tell you, they are damn good.

So far, 3 movies have been released, Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, and The Invincible Iron Man. I think what's really cool about them, is that they're really well executed mature movies. When comic characters are brought to life on the big screen, there's a real gamble that it'll be screwed up. Even if the movie is genearlly good, there are things that don't translate that well. Now, I will say, hollywood has done an amazing job recently of doing pretty sick translations, but still, there is something missing. There's something about classic, 2D animation that just works so well. You can have your characters do things and have it still look really cool. I guess the thing is, the way characters can bend and move in animation doesn't translate well to real life. Like try putting Tobey Macguire in a Macfarlane Spidey pose.

WIth that said, it's really too bad to see that 2D animation is going the way of the dead. I mean, Treasure Planet was the last 'major' 2D Disney release in the theatres and due to its abysmal box office results, it just became a bad thing to invest in. It's not that I don't love 3D animation - Pixar has some of the greatest films in recent memory, but I just think it's sad that companies are investing less in 2D animated features, because after seeing this Marvel animated series, you realize that there's some really good stuff there. I would have loved to have seen these movies on the big screen, but alas, there just isn't the audience.

Marvel plans on continuing this series well into 2008 with announcements of Dr. Strange, a Spider-man feature, and many more. They've recently packaged all 3 of the current releases in a single gift set worth checking out. Either way, I think everyone should check out these movies if only to support this dying art. With movies like The Lion King, Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker, Ultimate Avengers, Tarzan, Balto, and many more, I'd hate to ever see 2D animation become a thing of the past. Thanks for reading.