Modern American Animation

This article describes the history of animation in the United States of America since the late 80′s until the early twenty-first century. This period is often called the renaissance of American animation, during which many large American entertainment companies reform and reinvigorate its animation department after the decline suffered in the 60, 70 and 80.

From 1988 to the present

Disney’s return

In the mid 80′s, the American animation industry fell into disgrace. Toy commercials masquerading as entertainment programs cartoons dominated the evening and the morning of Saturday, and the only experiment was carried out by independent developers. Even animated films were projected in theaters at times, but the glory of the old days was gone. Even the animation giant Disney, which had fought a corporate acquisition in the 80′s, was considering abandoning the production of animated feature films.

Both the enthusiastic audience, critics, and the animators were taken by surprise when the long-awaited renaissance of animation began in the oldest and most conservative corporation, Disney.

Disney had a drastic change in the 80, its new chief Michael Eisner the company relocated to his feet, returning to its roots and revitalizing their studies. With great fanfare, in 1988 the study worked with Steven Spielberg to produce the animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film was a success, and gave to the animation industry awaited push for that time. Roger Rabbit not only earned him a pile of money for Disney, but also sparked the popularity of the classic animation that continues to this day. The history of animation suddenly became an object of study (and their fans). Several directors, business legend, such as Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng were suddenly in the spotlight, being acclaimed after decades of being virtually ignored by audiences and industry professionals.

Disney continued the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with “The Little Mermaid”, the first of a series of animated films that seemed to recapture the magic of the golden age of Walt Disney himself. The studio invested heavily in new technology of computer animation for such purposes, but could do super-productions like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” which attracted audiences that were not seen in decades, and Once provided a visual feast that has not been exceeded since the 40. The peak of the hit Disney was in 1994 when his film “The Lion King” exceeded all expectations of the study to become one of the most successful of all time. Even later Disney films as “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Hercules,” “Mulan” and “Tarzan” was blockbusters.

Disney has also made inroads into the neglected area of the animated TV series. With the success of shows like “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, “The Adventures of the Gummi Bears Disney” and “Duck adventures”, the “new” Disney made his mark in TV pictures. Through association and repetition, Disney can provide high quality animation for TV. A series of large diffusion was conducted in mid-nineties, with some critics designating “Gargoyles” as the Disney animation project for TV’s most ambitious and best done artistically. The soundtracks of each of these animated films were an important part of its success, because Disney was including in each of these projects a loud voice from the world of music, such as Elton John (The Lion King), Luis Miguel (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Ricky Martin (Hercules), Christina Aguilera (Mulan), Celine Dion (Beauty and the Beast), Ricardo Montaner (Aladin), Jon Secada (Pocahontas), among others.

Spielberg and animation

Spielberg and Bluth

While Disney gave new life to animation, Steven Spielberg was making his own way. Animation amateur life, Spielberg was also interested in making high quality animation, and worked with his rival, Don Bluth animation producer to produce “Fievel and the New World.” The box office success of this and Bluth’s next film, “In The Land”, Hollywood made him realize that Disney did not hold a monopoly on animated features. The other Hollywood studios resumed production of its own animated features, but still falling into the trap of trying to imitate Disney’s 1997 film Don Bluth, “Anastasia”, produced by Fox, is mentioned as the one launched the Fox Animation Studios and Disney’s rival, however, these studies failed to succeed after “Anastasia” and closed in 1999. Like most successful productions of Disney, “Anastasia” was attended by Thalia, who played the central theme of the soundtrack in its versions in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Spielberg and Warner Bros.

Spielberg, meanwhile, switched to TV and worked with animation studio Warner Bros. to produce “The Tiny Toon Adventures,” a high quality animated series that paid homage to the great cartoons of Termite Terrace. “The Tiny Toon Adventures” had a good rating thanks to its young viewers, which inspired the Warner Bros to resurrect his dying animation studio and once again a contender in the field of animation. The Tiny Toon Steven Spielberg were continued by presenting “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain”. The latter not only attracted new viewers to Warner Bros., but also captured the attention of viewers adolescents and adults.

Bakshi’s return

Ralph Bakshi, director of innovative animated films like “Fritz the Cat” and original “Lord of the Rings”, returned to animation after making a brief stop in the mid 80′s. In 1985, he teamed up with the young Canadian animator John Kricfalusi and the legendary British band “The Rolling Stones” to make an animated music video for “The Harlem Shuffle”, which was completed in early 1986. Although the music video did not talk much, he built a production team “Bakshi Animation” project continued with the short-lived but well received, “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse.” Bakshi & Co, worked on numerous projects at the end of the 80, but the biggest project was “Cool World: a blonde between two worlds”, which premiered in 1992. The production got out of hand and ended up being severely criticized and forgotten by almost everyone.

Outsourcing animation

The main reason for increasing the quality of American animation is the ability to outsource the heavy lifting to cheaper animation houses in the South and Southeast Asia gaining a large number of frames at low cost. The script, character design and storyboarding is done in American offices. The storyboard, models and color books are mailed abroad. Sometimes causes problems because no final product can be completed until the frames are mailed to the U.S.. Although budgets have been reduced, foreign productions houses are chosen per episode, or even per scene, depending on the amount of money available at that time. As a result there is a big difference in quality from one episode to another. This is particularly evident in shows like “Gargoyles” and “Batman”: The Animated Series where, sometimes, the characters seem completely different from one episode to the dismay of its directors.

Adult Animation

The Simpsons

In the 90′s came a new wave of animated series whose primary aim was the adults, after an absence in the genre over a decade. In 1989, “The Simpsons,” an animated short based on the “The Tracey Ullman Show,” became the first animated series in prime time since “The Flintstones” and captivated a large part of the audience. It was the first hit series for the fledgling Fox, caused little sensitivity, entering popular culture and gaining wide acceptance. In 2008, “The Simpsons” seem to show no signs of stopping, and could surpass “Gunsmoke” as the fiction program on the air longer the history of American television. In 2007 have released their first film, titled “The Simpsons: The Movie”, dubbed in Spanish and Chinese.

Ren and Stimpy

In 1991, Nickelodeon premiered “The Ren and Stimpy Show,” “Ren and Stimpy” was a quirky series run riot violated all the traditional restrictions of correct drawings of Saturday morning and instead favored the quirky style of the short the golden era. Moreover, the series creator, John Kricfalusi, who had worked as an animator during the downturn of Saturday morning, was much influenced by the classic works of Bob Clampett.

Spike & Mike

Alongside mainstream animation nineties there was a strange and experimental movement. In a short animation festival in 1989, organized by Craig Decker and Mike Gribble Spike (known as “Spike & Mike”) and originally located in San Diego. It all started with the representation of a collection of thematic short, known as the Classic Festival of Animation, in places of business meetings and trade throughout the country.

The collections were made mostly by Oscar-nominated short, works of students of the Institute of the Arts in California and experimental work of the National Film Board of Canada. The first festival included works by John Lasseter, Nick Park and Mike Judge. Judge’s work, “Frog Baseball” marked the first appearance of their franchise characters Beavis and Butthead.

However, the festival gradually became a film program called Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation and turned into an underground movement of adult humor and subject matter.

Adult Swim

In 1994, Cartoon Network gave consent to a new series called “Space Ghost” coast to coast with a particular postmodern turn, showed live interviews with celebrities, mixed with cartoon animations original “Space Ghost.” The series made the leap with the production of Hanna-Barbera, now owned by Cartoon Network. It was the beginning of a common practice used old Hanna-Barbera characters for new productions, as the surreal “Underwater Laboratory 2021″, based on the cartoon short early 70′s “Sealab 2020.” Also, Harvey Birdman, attorney, on a mediocre superhero, Birdman which was originally the star of Birdman and Galaxy trio had become a lawyer. Its customers, like many of the characters in the series, came completely from old Hanna-Barbera characters.

In addition to large animation files old and cheap, independent animators also began to benefit from new digital technologies. An artist with sufficient technical skills could explore new styles and forms with much more freedom. The traditional animation skills of drawing and painting had given way to digital manipulation and aggressive use new techniques of animation.

Along with these new programs, the American audience, particularly in geographic areas influenced by fusion with the cultures of the Pacific coast, began to adopt Japanese cartoon, or anime, 80. This growing market for anime videos satisfy the public child and adolescent, with a large number of Japanese series translated into English. Initially access was limited to videos, but the anime as it became a mainstream found its way into the film department stores throughout the U.S.. As the animation occupies a different place in Japanese culture, including a range of issues not addressed by the American animation.

“Adult Swim” is a block of animation for adults that is issued at the start of primetime on Cartoon Network, leads the adult industry and has the latest technology in animation. Adult Swim, which originally aired on Sunday night in 2006 was in the air until 5:00 AM, and was broadcast every night except Friday. The series, which is produced exclusively for Adult Swim, as “The Brak Show,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Tom Goes to the Mayor”, tend to be surreal and bizarre, but also considered fresh and original. Adult Swim reissued series “Futurama” and played an important role to avoid the cancellation of “Family Guy”. In addition, it also issues numerous popular Anime series such as “FLCL”, “Lupin III” and “Inuyasha.”