Friday, September 11, 2009

Hulu Recommendation Friday: The Secret of NIMH

Sometimes it seems as if we've forgotten how wonderful hand drawn animation can be and the sense of marvel it can convey. Digital Animation can be, and often is, a wonderful medium in which to view stories, but there is something about hand painted cells that -- when well done -- captures the imagination in a spectacular way. Don Bluth's 1982 masterpiece, The Secret of NIMH is a film that manages to show off many of the advantages of hand drawn animation, while exhibiting few of the weaknesses. Digital animation still lacks the fluidity of well executed hand drawn animation, but that is only a matter of time.

What is special about this kind of animation is the same quality that is special about paintings in comparison to photographs. Photographs, particularly digital photographs, have a crisp quality of realism where paintings -- even spectacularly realistic paintings -- have a sense of the surreal about them. The same is true when comparing digital animation and hand drawn animation, the digital always "feels" a little more real than the hand drawn -- somehow more abstracted from reality.

Both types of animation have a well deserved place in entertainment, but sometimes we get so obsessed with the new that we forget the transformative nature of the old.

The Secret of NIMH is one of the rare movies that Jody and I own actual animation cells from and they are among our most prized possessions.

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