Saturday, August 11, 2012

I love animation. If I was more a more talented artist, or maybe if I had spent more time in high school practising drawing instead of playing role-playing and video games and watching Evil dead 2 and Nightbreed over and over, I would have gone the animation school path. I can't remember a time when I wasn't awed by the wonder and magic of cartoons.

In the 1940's there were the comic book adaptation perfection of Max Fleisher's Superman, there was the genius level of comedic insanity that was the Looney Tunes, and of course the theatrical masterpieces from Disney the like of Fantasia and Dumbo.

Then in the late 50's a company called Hanna Barbera began producing animation, they gained cartoon world domination in the 60's, and greatly thanks to them the the art-form mostly went to hell for a very long time. Hanna Barbera holds a soft spot in the heart for many a person reminiscing back on their Saturday morning cartoon or after school cartoon viewings. But if anything doesn't hold up from the naivety of childhood once viewed as an adult, it's the dozens upon dozens of Hanna Barbera cartoons. Sure there are the corner-stone stand-outs like The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, and Yogi Bear...but guess what, none of them are all that good.

They were produced in a limited animation style, which is a kind way to say done for no money by artists forced to cut as many corners as possible and hack writers forced to re-hash the same bad jokes over and over again. Even if Scooby Doo was original at one point, after the company drilled the teens solving crimes with a talking fill-in-the-blank animal sidekick, it lost a bit of it's flare. The Flintstones gets held up on a pedestal as break-through television, but have you watched a show lately? I know it's not fare to judge old vs new at times, but Simpsons it is not.

In fact, the best programs made under the Hanna Barbera umbrella were produced after the company merged with Cartoon network. It was clear that there was new blood in the offices, due mainly to the fact that now shows were good with the likes of Dexter's Lab, Cow and Chicken, and The Powerpuff Girls. In the late 90's, the programming dropped any connection with Hanna Barbera, and not so shockingly things kept getting better and better into the 2000's with more breakthrough cartoons like Samurai Jack, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Ben 10.

Anyhow, the reason for my hateful rant against this beloved by millions animation studio is that I watched the sub-par hack of an animated film Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats. This animated film wasn't just bad, it was an embarrassment of a production that clearly no one involved cared even a little about. I deserve an apology from everyone involved for this film, and they should feel great amounts of shame for releasing it for people to view instead of destroying it and denying of it's existence.

Luckily Hanna Barbera does not exist anymore, except for the occasional train-wreck of a project like the live action / cg Yogi Bear. Remember Roger Rabbit? The Yogi Bear movie is just like that except it is terrible instead of awesome. So if you are going to watch cartoons, watch good ones. And if you see a Hanna Barbera logo anywhere near a cartoon, avoid it and go watch one free of the moniker. Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, and all the other stuff from the studio, is not worth your valuable cartoon watching time.

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