Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Progress or sacrilege?

Does everything that can be changed have to be? Or is change always a good thing? Should old favourites be re-done for modern times?

The video above is a new “teaser trailer” for a Peanuts movie from Fox, due out next year. The characters are all 3D. My first reaction was, as one of my pals said on Twitter, “Always thought my 2D Peanuts friends had enough depth (especially Linus)”.

The reality for me is that most of the appeal of the old cartoons is that they’re old: They’re part of my childhood and youth, mainly, so it represents a kind of nostalgia. But I also think 2-D cartoons have a kind of charm as well as an expressiveness that’s often missing from computer-generated cartoons. 3-D animated films (like Toy Story, Shrek, Up, Monsters, Inc., etc.) are often very entertaining—but are they really cartoons if no ink was ever used?

There was similar pushback when TV (mostly) started colourising old black and white movies. Purists condemned what they thought of as desecration, while others said it made the films more accessible to younger audiences. However, a purist could turn off the colour and watch the film in black and white if they wanted to—you can’t 2-D a 3-D movie.

I know I’m not actually the target demographic for this film (or for much of anything else in popular entertainment, if we’re honest), so maybe what I think doesn't matter. And maybe this film will actually be good in 3-D—maybe even great. I have a cautiously open mind about it.

But I do think that sometimes we don’t need to change things just because we can, and we don’t need to “fix things that aren’t broken”. We’ll find out next year whether this is one of those times or not.

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