Here are some of the answers I got to the “favorite piece of animation” post.
There was a lot of love for Glen Keane, and a lot of love for Disney in general. Bambi, specifically.
Whenever I think of animation, the first movie that always comes to mind is Bambi. Speaks for itself really. It was a piece way ahead of it’s time in both artistic meaning and technical accomplishment. I know the old battered phrase ‘the characters came to life on the screen’ is overused to the extreme but there’s really no better example of that than the animals in that film; the subtle twitch of a rabbit’s ear or the energetic bounding of a fawn created the genuine illusion that these creatures did exist, out there somewhere and that this was their story. my favourite moment in the entire film is when we first meet the Prince of the Forest, Bambi’s father. Beforehand there’s dozens of stags stampeding through the meadow, strong animation contrasting to Bambi’s skittering to escape being crushed, music crashing in tandem with their jumps and so on. Then there’s the sudden stillness and there’s barely any movement at all when the great stag walks out into the field. By far the best moment ironically has the least amount of animation, the stag stopping to stare down at Bambi while he cowers near the ground. Bambi’s ears move forward and he smiles, silence; the great stag moves slowly and with purpose, staring intently as he mirrors the action; there’s a tiny shift of Bambi’s features and we can just tell he’s overwhelmed with respect and also, fear? He returns to trying to make himself as small as possible as his father marches on in silence. That, maybe 20 seconds of animation, is so stunning and awe inspiring that I can never forget it. The animators were amazingly talented to convey so much dynamic between the characters with so little movement.
scene here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05mD6g8DfB4
Frank Thomas’ animation of Bambi and Thumper on the ice is probably my favourite. The scene doesn’t move the story along in a big way, but it’s a greatly entertaining bit of character animation, and it’s so convincingly alive. It really makes me feel like I’m watching something genuinely precious and special. It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment too - You’ve got both characters rotating in perspective over the ice, with the motion of sliding on the ice, AND with their personalities.
I was glad to see though that the answers weren’t exclusively Disney. There’s lots of good work from other studios out there.
I don’t think I can ever answer that question (What is your favorite piece of animation). There are so many that are close to my heart. Disney is my childhood, Ghibli always sparks my imagination and reminds me what it is to be a kid, and Korra is instrumental to me finally deciding to go into animation. I appreciate any piece of animation that reflects the heart and soul of its animators (writers, cast…). It’s all in the story and the movement, and the -life- that’s in the characters.
For me, the piece of animation that blew my mind was The Thief and the Cobbler. Nothing tops it.
This is without a doubt my favorite scene out of all the animation I’ve watched. The perfectly nuanced character animation delivers exceptionally realistic, weighted movement, without the stiff awkwardness of rotoscope. It’s not cloying or excessive, but rather it’s rich and expressive.
(The movie itself isn’t all that great, and falls off in the end — but this scene alone still makes me consider the film one of my favorites from Japan.)
Even films plagued with production difficulties or story problems can have nuggets of amazing animation. You can find it anywhere, so keep your eyes open!