Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fester for President!

An old professor of mine used to say that the best things are made by a single person who knows what he is doing. I feel this definitely applies to the Fester Fish series of cartoons by my fellow student Aaron Long.

Fester Fish is a somewhat selfish (bwahah), happy and blunt little creature that is so fishy he is almost human. He made it into his own series of cartoons, the most recent of which saw the light this week. The style is fishy best described as retroish 30-ish rubberhose animation, which dates back into a period when cartoons were still done by single animators, continuously kicking a small group of enthusiastic assistents to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man had gone before.

In those days, cartoons were hand-drawn on paper, inked and painted on cells and shot on camera, time-consuming processes which are now condensed into popular software like Adobe Flash. As a result, Fester's founding father could do without the aforementioned enthusiastic assistants, and he had nobody to kick but himself, and the occasional voice actor, which allowed him to miss his own deadline by no more than a single day.

Apart from the retro style, what I like about the most recent 'Fester Makes Friends' are the curvy background elements, the Droopyesque chase, and the unassuming simplicity of the story. It is especially the latter quality that I find missing in recent blockbusters like 'The Princess and the Frog' and 'Brave' that make me scream in agony: "Come on guys: it's only a story!"

Storytelling seems to have digressed in an almost democratic political process that satisfies a huge committee, including shareholders, the members of which seem to have their own agenda. I believe animation needs more enlightened despots, directors with both a vision and the authority to make that dream come true: Fester for President!

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