In this age of computers, it's exciting to watch films that use reality more than virtuality to create the look they're trying to achieve. Don't get me wrong - some of my favorite films are animated by computers. Toy Story would probably rank in my top 10 favorite films of all time, and Jurassic Park is somewhere high on the list. But there's something about the texture of real life that can't always be captured by animation. I think this is why I'm so drawn to films that still draw on realism to express a mood. I still love stop-motion like Corpse Bride and Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and films like Mirrormask that involve more live-action puppets than animated ones. Of course, it doesn't hurt that these films are helmed by creative geniuses like Tim Burton, Nick Park, and Neil Gaiman, but that quality of reality is still there. Even with a traditional live action film, there's something about makeup that trumps digital effects. (Though I do realize that in this age of computers, they are heavily involved in making just about any type of movie.)
Of course, maybe I'm just fooling myself and couldn't tell the difference if I didn't already know, but we can pretend.
So yesterday morning, before the rest of family woke up, I dragged my tired body out of bed, made a pot of coffee and watched Corpse Bride, since my daughter Julianna is probably a bit young for it (she'll be 4 next month), and my wife Krista just isn't as interested in non-live-action films as I am.
And I loved it. It's a great film, with awesome visuals and a sweet love story. It's is also an interesting study in contrasts. More a contrast between the world of the living and the world of the dead, as opposed to Burton's previous stop-motion venture, Nightmare Before Christmas which contrasts Halloween and Christmas. As a matter of fact, Nightmare is equally as fascinating as Corpse Bride, but on different levels. Now if I could only convince my wife to watch it with me.