Personally, I think that we live in the perfect time to really appreciate the art of animation. This mostly has to do with the timing of Disney films and the use of technology. Those of us who are now young adults entered into the perfect sweet spot for animation. We were just old enough to appreciate films that released onto VHS and we even saw the trend as these films passed onto DVD. Movies, and therefore animation, were easily bought, brought home, and watched which helped increase the profit for films such as "The Lion King" or "Aladdin." Thus, due to this increase in technology and audience, the market for animated movies grew along with the ability for movie companies to produce them. From this came a whole new generation who could easily watch and consume animated movies from the comfort of their own homes.
Time has only continued to march forward from here. Now, the ability to watch movies, especially animated ones, has only grown in simplicity and ease. Now, watching a movie is just as easy as pulling out a phone, tablet, or computer and pulling up a film from a streaming service. In fact, before writing this article, I watched a movie from the comfort of my recliner. The internet has provided an outlet for people to pull up hundreds and thousands of animated movies in seemingly no time at all. The animated world is now at our fingertips.
Given this, it is no surprise to find that animated movies have grown and increased over the years. After all, an increase in technology and ease translates into an increase in market numbers. In order to capitalize on an audience who can very easily pull up movies on their phones, more and more animated movies have seen the light of day. Film industries like Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, and Illumination are producing the animated film after animated films in order to appease audience members of all ages and to make use of an ever-growing technology-based market.
One would believe, given the increased interest in the creation of animated films, that the movies themselves would be in top form. After all, practice makes perfect and with the number of animated films coming out over the years, you would think that the film industries have had more than their fair share of practice. However, despite the increasing numbers, animated films seem to live on a two-lane street: they are either really good or really bad. The end result is a mixed bag of quality that honestly is a little odd when you lump them in the same category of animation. What makes an animated film so good and, on the same page, what makes one so awful?
There are a lot of factors that go into making an animated film and making one amazing. Story, animation, special effects, voice acting, script writing, and character design are only a small handful of all the moving parts concerning animated film creation. They are all equally important in their own ways and all go into marking the differences between good and bad animated movies. However, despite all these important parts of an overall whole, I think that the difference between a good animated film and a bad animated film really falls into one simple category: effort.
Effort is something that seems so easy to graph but honestly is hard for a lot of animated movies to put into practice. However, that mainly stems from the main audience of animated movies: young children. For years cartoons and animated movies have been the source of child entertainment. Whenever an animated film hits the big screen, you are sure to find a sea of little children running around the movie theater lobby. Animated movies are aimed mostly to entertain young children and, because of this audience range, these films feel like they don't have to put in as much effort into movie making. After all, animated films are "just for kids." That means kids are easily entertained as long as some sort of moving pictures and sounds are on the screen. Bright colors and funny voices should be enough for an audience of children who don't know any better.
However, this is what marks a good animated movie from a bad animated movie. A good animated movie doesn't accept the idea that kids deserve the bare minimum of entertainment. In fact, good animated movies acknowledge that a lot of adults enjoy their movies as well. Thus, by treating your audience like a thinking being, animated films are made with much more effort and case; the stories are sharper, the animation is more refined, the voice acting has life and energy, and the editing is stronger. A good animated movie doesn't think that a child will only be happy with the smallest amount of entertainment. A strong animated film will see young children as capable of wanting to understand and appreciate more than just a half baked script and lazy storytelling.
After all, you wouldn't give your child a rotten piece of food. With a whole new world of animated entertainment to consume, we shouldn't have to settle with rotten animated movies with little to no effort.