:Well sure, I see what you mean. But isn't that sort of like criticizing apples for not being oranges?
I suppose it is a little, in that Studio Ghibli is making exactly the films that it wants to. It isn't trying to have the quality of animation of say the Illusionist, but certainly its attempting to have the quality of storytelling. I was merely attempting to point out studio Ghibli's strengths and weaknesses. Studio Ghibli's animation is usually sufficient to help the story but it's not attempting to live up to the standard of animation movement that Disney set in the 50's and 60's, whearas the guys that made the Illusionist are
trying to meet that standard. This also comes down to the apples and oranges idea in that Japanese animation is coming from a bit different tradition than Western animation. They have always put more emphasis on backgrounds, and even movement (such as lights, flames ect.) happening around
a still drawn character. I'm sure that this is also partly to do with budget constraints, which is understandable. I respect Studio Ghibli's ability to tell story, and create wonderful worlds. Yet I really
respect TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE and THE ILLUSIONIST. Those guys have managed to make remarkable artful films on a shoestring budget.
So in that respect, I'm not sure if I'm really criticizing Studio Ghibli, just trying to point something out. This being that if one is looking for a studio that is passionately making quality 2-D films then Studio Ghibli fits the bill, but if one is looking for a studio that is passionately retaining the quality of the actual animation, of the movement as an artform in itself
, then I'd look elsewhere. I'm not trying to diss their films, or their filmmaking abilities, as they just have a different emphasis.
:I also wouldn't put The Secret World of Arrietty as the benchmark of Studio Ghibli's animation. That would have to be a Miyazaki film. If you watch Spirited Away I think you see a very careful attention to the character's movements and mannerisms (the protagonist putting her slippers on, etc.) That being said, yeah, a lot of the appeal of Ghibli films is the world that's put on screen. In something like Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke fantastical creatures and landscapes are as much a part of the film as the human characters.
You brought up Howl's Moving Castle in reference to my comment about Miyazaki's storytelling ability. Why not apply it to the issue of animation as well. There's some great characterization (some great 'bringing to life') in that film. I'm particularly thinking of the castle itself and Calcifer (the fire demon). The way those characters are animated is fantastic.
I haven't seen ARRIETY yet, but I would probably agree that SPIRITED AWAY and HOWLS MOVING CASTLE have the best animation of all their films. They also have some great creatures and landscapes, and your right, for Studio Ghibli the creatures and landscapes are certainly as much a part of the film as the human characters. The castle wouldn't really be considered animation but more "effects animation". Certainly it was well done, but that fits with what I was getting at, being that Studio Ghibli has stuff in their films that is real cool, but this stuff also moves peoples eyes away from seeing that the characters are not as lifelike. Calcifer and the scarecrow guy were some of the best animation that I've seen from the studio, as well as the black blobby things (I forget if they have a name) in SPIRITED AWAY. They were interesting to watch.
: Is there less attention given to some of the human characters? Sure (although, from what I remember, there's a lot of attention given to the protagonist when she appears as an old woman), but that's not the stick by which everything should be measured.
Depends on what one wants to measure. As a measurement of 2-D filmmaking then maybe not. But in a measurement of the actual artform of animating a character.... then sure.
:Yep, I've seen virtually every Ghibli film.
How many have you seen?
U'm I'm looking through the IMDB right now and I've seen HOWLS MOVING CASTLE, THE CAT RETURNS, SPIRITED AWAY, PORCO ROSSO, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, and CASTLE IN THE SKY.
I think CASTLE IN THE SKY. is my favourite. I really enjoyed the adventure, and discoveries in the story.
:Castle in the Sky was Miyazaki's second film for Ghibli (not including The Castle of Cagliostro), and I mostly love it for its opening credits sequence (those are always great), and the flashback sequence(s). I'm fond of it, but as things go I'd have to say it's not mature Miyazaki.
He did go in a bit different direction afterwards. His later films were more moving, thoughtful, heartfelt, with gentle aspects.
:I love The Illusionist. Along with a few of Pixar's films (namely Ratatouille and Wall-E) and Spirited Away I think it's the best animated film of the last decade or so. And I definitely see how the protagonist's appearance and movements are highly distinguished, whereas Ghibli films tend to rely more on typical 'templates' from anime, if you will (the great example being Shawn in Arriety, whose appearance is more or less a blank, male slate).
My favourite animated films of the last decade are probably THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, and THE SECRET OF KELLS. KELLS is interesting in this discussion because it's actual animation is somewhere between STUDIO GHIBLI and TRIPLETS in it's quality....... but KELLS storytelling and design..... was inspired.
It's not that the animation in KELLS isn't any good, as much as it's that the animation in TRIPLETS and THE ILLUSIONIST is really
good. With the exception of some of Disney's occassional forays into 2-D, it's at the height of the 2-D animation that is currently being made.
Yep Ghibli is doing something a bit different than most Anime, but they are still somewhat in the Anime tradition. I expect your example of Shawn fits with what I'm getting at..... not being fully brought to life.
: I'd also like to point out that, as I understand it, computers were used a lot more to animate The Illusionist than they generally are for Ghibli films. That's not a negative in my opinion, just a note.
In the Illusionist (and Triplets) the characters were animated by hand and then scanned into the computer where they were coloured. In both films most of the backgrounds were 2-D drawings with the occasional 3-D elements. A perfect example is in TRIPLETS where they are on the sea voyage. Here the boats and the waves were 3-D, and the characters were hand drawn and composited into the scene.
Studio Ghibli's films are mostly hand drawn, and coloured.... although I think SPIRITED AWAY and HOWL'S had some 3-D elements.
:As an animator, what do you make of the change in animation style/quality from Three Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist? Going back and watching the former after The Illusionist, as I did a few months ago, makes you appreciate just how much difference there is with a slightly larger budget and the introduction of computers to the process? (Not that computers weren't used on Belleville, but it seems like they were a much smaller part of the animation process).
I'll get back to you on that. My wife and I are heading out to go on a Sunday hike.
Edited by Attica, 20 February 2012 - 10:27 PM.