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Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:27 am
by mike_197
I'm really curious to hear who people here admire in the animation world, in terms of actual directing. For me, it's Isao Takahata; everything by him is amazing. His adaptations of Anne of Green Gables, Gauche the Cellist, obviously Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and my personal favorite, the Tale of Princess Kaguya, are all masterpieces. His focus on small, mundane moments that showcase realistic human interaction are a staple, and he also has a knack for giving his work emotional weight without melodrama, partially because of the fleshing out of his characters in realistic situations. He's known to have fleeting moments where the extraordinary happens when a character feels a certain way and uses animation to convey that, but always keeping it grounded. Even better, his representation of things is always spot-on. His representation of family in the Yamadas, a movie that is essentially comedy with a lot of depth under the surface, really captures the middle-class fears we all have. The main character in Gauche the Cellist has struggles that actual musicians have all the time and the lessons about the meaning and power of music are so accurate I was shocked Takahata isn't a musician himself. His camera use is pretty varied, a mix of different styles, but he throws in odd things here and there when it suits the scene. Lots of examples in Kaguya including a 360 pan in 2D animation, shaky cam as a character runs up a hill, and the animation being reduced to vague sketches as the character flies into a rage. In Only Yesterday the backgrounds of the flashbacks are much more blurry at first and as the character remember more and more they gradually become sharper. He really is a great director, easily my favorite. What about you guys?

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:14 pm
by FreckledOne
I'll admit that I usually don't really pay much attention to who directs an animated film, because I focus more on individual scenes, but I guess my favorite animation director would be Don Bluth. I just like the tone that he gives to his works.

(I guess I know which movie you'll want to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film :wink2: )

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:02 am
by mike_197
You were right, I was going for Kaguya but oh well haha. The only Don Bluth film I've seen recently is Titan AE which I liked a lot despite the soundtrack, the directing and animation were stunning. I'm due to rewatch all his 80's stuff soon so I can see his stuff from a fresher perspective. NIMH in particular because I remember loving that movie to death as a kid.

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:29 pm
by FreckledOne
Yeah, was not surprised at all Big Hero 6 got it. Disney or Pixar usually wins. Titan AE impressed me, but maybe it was because I wasn't expecting much when I first saw it (I don't really watch sci-fi movies). I agree with you on the music, and I also have to say that I don't care for the way they used a CGI/handdrawn combo, or at least the way they utilized it. The CGI looks a little dated now, and it flattens out the handdrawn characters. Which is a shame cause that's my favorite part. :sad:

The Secret of NIMH tends to improve after each viewing for me. May I also suggest Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Land Before Time, and Banjo the Woodpile Cat? Banjo is technically 70's, I think (like 1979?) but it is interesting because Don and his crew worked on it while they were still employed at Disney. It is light, but cute with some really good animation. :starlove:

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:05 pm
by Cloudwilk
I don't care for the Oscars so much... I prefer watching The Annies XP At least they watch their nominees.

Anyway, butting into the conversation, I've never even heard of Dragon's Lair or Space Ace.... and I still haven't seen Titan AE but I really should. I remember when I first saw the cover I actually thought it was an anime movie XP

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:06 am
by mike_197
@FreckledOne I have to disagree about the CG in Titan AE, I thought it was absolutely beautiful and well-integrated. I've seen some anime where the CG is very poorly done and it's no comparison.

I really want to watch all of Don Bluth's films, he's a giant in animation. One of the few who dared to challenge Disney. And speaking of them, Disney films weren't usually headed by one chief director were they? I've recently watched all the classics (Snow White, Fantasia, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Bambi) and it seems like they did it slightly differently. At least, I remember that Snow White had a whole bunch. Funnily enough I thought those movies were all excellently directed.

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:57 am
by Uzuri
Yep, Disney had (and has) many directors -- but the early films had one major thing in common, the 9 old men. The teams were smaller then, and input came from everywhere, so you can bet that directorship was really a team effort. They had people who were dedicated to the craft in those days, and they were really doing something new and groundbreaking.

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:46 pm
by FreckledOne
Cloudwilk: Dragon's Lair and Space Ace are actually video games, but they have been released on DVD if you can find them (or poke around on Youtube). They are animated exactly like they were movies.

mike: I'll admit that I have a "thing" against CGI/handrawn almost on principle, but you are right that there have been other movies or shows that did it much worse. I tend to only like it if the CGI is cel-shaded. Different strokes for different folks, I guess XD

Speaking of Don Bluth, I wish that his website hadn't fallen through. I used to frequent it a few years ago and got all excited about the cyber garage project, but he stopped posting things and the spammers took over and now there are only a few real members who post occasionally.

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:20 am
by mike_197
I think a lot of folks here are fans of his stuff, he was certainly one of the premier animation figures for a while. But there's a few others as well. It's Such a Beautiful Day is one of my favorite films and Don Hertzfeldt isn't that well-known; Ralph Balshi is well known but he's not really that great a great director. American Pop is a great film though and he had a unique style which is more than most can achieve. Um......Satoshi Kon was shaping up to be one of the great ones obviously. And it's worth mentioning Yoshifumi Kondo as well, he only directed one film (Whisper of the Heart) but it was fantastic. Studio Ghibli thought he would become the next Miyazaki and direct a bunch of his own films but he died young.

Any love for anyone other than Don Bluth?

Re: Favorite Animation Directors

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:07 pm
by Cloudwilk
Just looked up Dragon's Lair... that's pretty awesome! It has such nice animation but, also, integrates interactive design. Granted, gameplay is limited... but it really makes me wonder what we could do now-a-days! ... If that ever became a focus for a game maker T.T