#NewsBytesExplainer: Decoding art of animated films—history, legacy, prominent examples
Contrary to the myth, animated films aren't just for kids! The dreamy, fantasy lands of the Disney movies, the rock-solid father-son relationship in The Lion King, and the relatable coming-of-age story in Turning Red—the themes in animated films often transcend genres and are ubiquitous in world cinema. Animated movies have a substantial history and a rich legacy. Let's take a look at them today.
How do experts define the term?
As per Filmsite's definition, "Animated Films are ones in which individual drawings, paintings, or illustrations are photographed frame by frame (stop-frame cinematography)." "Usually, each frame differs slightly from the one preceding it, giving the illusion of movement when frames are projected in rapid succession at 24 frames per second," it adds. Before the advent of state-of-the-art technology, animation relied completely on frame-by-frame, hand-drawn illustrations.
Have you watched any of these early animated films?
Released in 1906, Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is reportedly the earliest surviving animated film. Three-minute-long in length, it was made by utilizing stop motion and cutout animation techniques. Fantasmagorie (1908) by French animator Emile Cohl is considered one of the earliest examples of traditional hand-drawn animation. J Stuart Blackton and Albert E Smith's Humpty Dumpty Circus (1908) is another prominent example.
'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' altered the landscape
Walt Disney is considered the pioneer of the animation industry, and he is credited with creating Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. In 1937, his Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the first feature-length film to be made using a breakthrough technique called cel animation. He further took his interest in anthropomorphic characters to greater heights through Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942).
Animated films now have own category at Oscars
As the years progressed and media became more widespread, animated films found acclaim, too. Disney's Pinocchio won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for When You Wish Upon a Star. In 2002, the Academy introduced the Best Animated Feature category, and Shrek became the first animated film to bag an Oscar in this section. In 2022, Encanto clinched this award.
How many of these have you watched?
Some of the most popular animated films are Klaus (2019), Frozen (2013), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Tangled (2010), The Lion King (1994), Despicable Me (2010), The Boss Baby (2017), The Little Prince (2015), Soul (2020), Strange World (2022), Up (2009), The Polar Express (2004), and Beauty and the Beast (1991), among others. Most films are available on Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.