Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Anomalisa" and Why "Adult" Stop Motion is Killing the Art Form

With the Oscars® so close (tonight if you are reading this on the day which it's coming out) and all the hype surrounding the award ceremony, I think there's no better time to consider one of this year's nominees in the Animated Feature Films category, which is also the second Stop Motion film nominated: Anomalisa.


Anomalisa is a film directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), based off a 2005 play he wrote. Now in this post I want to take a different angle that's not coming from a story standpoint, or quality. I have yet to see the film for myself so I cannot argue for or against it on those standpoints. (Although it should be said that even from what we see from the trailers and the featurettes that the production value on Anomalisa is stunning and incredible.) But what I would like to consider in this thought experiment is what this film means to the Stop Motion industry and why this and other R-rated Stop Motion films might just be killing other Stop Motion projects in the future. And yes, if you are unfamiliar with the more recent history, there have been other R-rated Stop Motion films who have well achieved their rating. The 2009 film $9.99 directed by  Tatia Rosenthal and featuring the voice of Geoffrey Rush. Consider as well the upcoming Hell & Back, a raunchy R-rated Stop Motion film directed and made by the minds behind Adult Swim's Robot Chicken.