Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Literary Review 1 - Understanding Animation (Paul Wells)

Understanding Animation
Paul Wells

Understanding Animation is a thorough analysis of all areas of animation, discussing its history, social and political contexts, developments and audiences. The book begins by discussing the very fundamentals of animation - what it is, what techniques can be used and the key stylistic approaches, such as Disney’s realist approach - and leads into discussing the audiences of animation and their responses. The author supports and develops his arguments by using case studies which further explain his discussions.

I have decided to write my essay about comedy in Animation, and the reason that I have chosen this book is because it has a large chapter dedicated to the area of comedy in animation. This book in particular thoroughly covers comedic animation from its very beginning, discussing different types of comedy and the key conventions of each. In the chapter the author has discussed visual gags (such as the subversion of the surroundings to create humour), black humour, repetition and more. The author attempts to discuss as to why we find particular things funny, and how animators have responded to this and adapted their characters and stories to make us laugh, discussing what is successful and what is not.

What I really like about this book is how easy it is to read, the arguments are well structured, and the language is precise and uncomplicated. While it is formal and factual, it is also very enjoyable and fascinating and each argument leads on well into the next.

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