Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Animated Question…Or What Is a Musical?

I told you before, editorials are not really my thing but I have to do one every now and then. It’s been nagging at me since May. This is less editorial and more of a short conjecture.
When Univarn rightfully weighed on the issue with some musicals I questioned whether musicals can rightfully be called a genre. Romance is a genre, every romance films have the same tenets – no matter how quirky, offbeat, maudlin, unrealistic, gross, stupid or smart – there will be a couple, they will fall in love (or pretend they have) one may die, they both may die, they may part ways but romance will occur, hence the name. It isn’t the same with a musical, silent movies aren’t regarded as a genre (at least not correctly) neither are “talkies”. So why are musicals and animated films treated as such…? What is it that we expect from them? No one thinks of breaking down films in terms of black-and-white. I do have my favourite black-and-white film (forthcoming on the list).
                    "Sweeney, dear, there's been a bit of an error...this is a bit too bloody to  be a musical..."  
It’s not that I don’t often go around citing my favourite musical or animated flicks (I do and I did) but when persons have such mental blocks it becomes a tad – trite? “I don’t watch children’s movies” – did they see Waltz with Bashir? “Musicals are for girls” – I think I’ve done enough trying to prove that one wrong but Sweeney Todd (or on stage “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”)? Really? …or maybe I’m missing the big picture. Is there something that makes all musicals inherently the same (musical drama, musical comedy, musical romance, musical tragedy, musical horror) or all animated films likewise (animated documentary, animated comedy, animated fantasy)? Other than the fact that one will have singing and one will be animated what else makes then worthy of being regarded as a genre? Aren’t they just film forms? Or am I just being overly neurotic?

1 comment:

Univarn said...

This sort of stuff happens all the time, and it's quite shocking too me. In society we have a social "ewww" factor, and anything put into that realm, regardless of its moral validity, is immediately disregarded.

Films have over-representation factors I'd say. For example, in America the vast majority of Animated films are written in the mind of, and marketed for children. Musicals, in general, towards females. It doesn't have to be correct, just by mere general association people tend to ignore arguments to the contrary.

In many respects it's the racist argument (stick with me here). All of X are Y, therefore bad. No matter how many members of X don't meet that criteria, people will not waver from that assumption.

Of course what's worse is when people use it as a valid argument against a film. Just because you think all musicals/animated films should mold to your narrow-minded view of what defines them, doesn't make it a bad movie. It makes you a bad judge of what defines a genre.