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Animation Analysis: Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse

*sigh* 2D theatrical animation is dead in hollywood and probably always will be at this point so all we got is cgi.  What makes this even sadder is we’ve gone an entire generation now where kids haven’t ever seen 2D animation in the theaters and when they do see it they’ll be like “aww, how quaint.”.  So, we’re stuck with cgi but if that’s the case why hasn’t any of the studios pushed this form of animation to it’s max.  Yes, yes each year it looks cleaner, colorful and brighter but that’s nothing new.  What I mean is why is there always a sameness to it.  Don’t believe me?  Think about this.  If you didn’t know what studio made what film the last 8 years could you differentiate between them(an recent example would be “Smallfoot” it looks like something SONY Animation would put out even though it’s a Warner Animation Group film.  Here’s the kicker though during the credits I saw that Sony Animation did also work with them on this).  A ton of the character designs and animation look the same.  It’s even worse with the human characters.  Most look like they were created by the same person(stock characters).  Is that too much of a blanket statement?  Maybe a little.  Dreamworks animation shows more of a distinctive style when it come to the designs and animation of their animal characters. 


Also another problem with the (cgi)animation style is it always dates faster than 2D or Stop Motion.  What was once bright, smooth, detailed and colorful becomes wooden and plastic looking.  This works in “Toy Story”(’s) favor(except when it comes to the humans and surroundings okay it only works for the toys!)but the only other film that mostly skates by on this is “Finding Nemo” and that’s only because most of the film is underwater and dark.  CGI always looks better in dark surroundings(i.e. CW’s “THE FLASH”).


Things however maybe changing after seeing the trailers to Sony Animations “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse”.    The feel and energy are totally different. The first thing I noticed is the movement of the characters.  There’s a jittery feel to it.  It seem what they did was remove a frame from here and there.  Because of this there is a stop motion feel to the animation.  In this case it also reminds me of the “PEANUTS” movie.  Now I could be mistaken but it appears there could also be some 2D shading put over the 2D models at times.  The most obvious examples would be in the 2nd trailer(full) when Mils leaps off of the building and when Miles and Peter are sitting in the cafe at 01:04.  The creases on his forehead and on and around his nose. Also looking in the background of this scene the menus or pictures of them seem to be in 2D digital. I’m probably wrong about that and it’s just a different style of texture mapping than what other cgi films do.  It would be interesting to see that happen though.  The only time I’ve seen it done was the PIXAR short “Paperman” and with the Japanese animated series “Knights of Sidonia”


Character Design/Character Animation


I find the character models fascinating as well because in many cgi family films they go for a rounder softer feel.  They make it feel more broadly comedic.  You know more *ahem* “cartoony”.  There seems to be 2D aspects added into the 3D designs of the characters.  I see more sharp angles mixed with some of the roundness in the designs of the characters.  This does two things.  One if makes them more realistic than the normal design would.  Two they look more like comic book characters(show examples).  It makes sense this is an (ugh) “comic book(superhero)movie.  The animators took some of the best visual aspect of the comic book medium and was able to merge with some of the best aspects of the cgi art style.


The introduction of Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Ham were done in 2D or 2D digital-ish.  I figured that this would only be for the introduction of the characters, except based on the rest to the trailer Peni and to a degree Spider-Ham keep some 2D aspects.  Which reminds me something that stuck out to me after watching the 2nd trailer the 3rd time…the noses.  There different character to character.  Well, okay it’s more than just the noses of the characters in the film.  It’s their character design. each character looks different from one another.  Whether it’s comic books or animation a big problem is the same face same body different hair syndrome.  Obviously the spider-men from different dimensions will have a different design(because I mean c’mon Spider-Ham!)but all of the other characters that appear in the trailers have distinct looks to them.  


The action and special effects  

00:49 that explosion reminded me of “Batman The Animated Series”.  There is “Art Deco” design to it.  That design choice for that moment may seem odd and jarring but that’s the point.  For the intended audience of this film they haven’t seen “BTAS”(sadly)so their frame of reference in terms of animation only will go as far back as 2010(around the time of the cal-arts/not cal-arts style began to take hold).  That dramatic a change in an art style has shown to be affective in the past.  One example would be the 2D segments in “Kung Fu Panda” and on the tv shows “The Amazing World of Gumball”  and “Teen Titans Go!”(as well as it’s movie).  So I can see kids used to this when it occurs in the film.  The parents might be thrown a bit off though. 


Something I also noticed throughout the trailer but really hit me at 00:45 was how certain scenes look toyetic.  Normally that would be seen as an insult(“Batman Forever”/“Batman & Robin”)but not in this case.  There’s an exuberant energy to it.  It looks completely fake but that’s what so fun about it. It’s over the top and not realistic.  If it were realistic that moment wouldn’t work because we’ve all seen realistic animation of fire and energy by this point.  We’ve gotten used to it.  A side note here.  I wonder were certain parts of the film made just for the toy property possibilities?  If so I’m not sure how it would benefit Sony seeing how like with FOX they have the film rights to these properties and not the toy rights(Marvel has that and in any year will make more off of toys and merchandise and the films will ever make)unless the rumor or Sony owning part of the overall character is also is true.


I probably should’ve wrote analysis after I see the film.  After all I’ll have more things to discuss and dissect.  Nah if worst comes to worst I’ll either redo this over or just add an addendum to it.  It’s just that this has been on my mind a lot recently and I really wanted to discuss it.  So what do you all think about what I discussed here?  Comment below and let’s continue the conversation. 

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