Dream on Silly Dreamer | Video Store Burnout | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Dream on Silly Dreamer 

Wednesday, Mar 29 2006

There has been much critical hand wringing about the fate of traditional animation in the digital age, most recently in last week’s New York Times article by Charles Solomon, who decried the wonder-killing yakkety-yak nature of today’s CG-animated characters. In his alternately inspiring and depressing documentary, Dream On Silly Dreamer (2004), animator-turned-director Dan Lund pinpoints the exact moment when animation’s identity crisis set in and goes a long way toward measuring its human toll. The date was March 25, 2002; the place, not so surprisingly, Disney’s newly built Burbank animation facility. That’s when and where Disney animation president Thomas Schumacher announced the layoffs of some 200 traditional-animation artists and their replacement with a stripped-down crew of digital animators. Remarkably, Lund, one of those let go, had his camera rolling minutes after the announcement, recording the poignant reactions of the fired artists, most of whom had considered working at Disney to be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. In the film’s first half, Lund captures the shape and power of that dream in close to a dozen interviews with former employees, and through a series of traditional animated sequences that attest to the expressiveness of the medium. Along the way, Lund makes room for the foibles and faults of the animators themselves, who readily expected endless rewards after the animation renaissance of the late ’80s and early ’90s that culminated in the wild success of The Lion King. Such evenhandedness makes Dream On much more than a bitter jab at management or a Luddite screed. It is rather an intimate insider’s account of the quicksilver relationship between art and commerce in Hollywood.

—Paul Malcolm

Other recommended new releases: The Children Are Watching Us (DVD); King Kong (VHS-DVD); Robot Chicken, Vol. 1 (DVD). Also released this week: VHS-DVD: Memoirs of a Geisha. DVD: Arizona; Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 1, Water, Vol. 2; A Boy Named Charlie Brown; The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold; Degrassi: the Next Generation: Season 3; Doctor Who: The Beginning Collection; Guardians of the Frontier; Hot Wheels AcceleRacers, Vol. 3: Breaking Point; Karol: A Man Who Became Pope; Kibakichi 2; Knots Landing: The Complete First Season; Northern Exposure: The Complete Fourth Season; Quantum Leap: The Complete Fourth Season; Ron White: You Can’t Fix Stupid; Six Feet Under: The Complete Fifth Season; Sleep-Paralysis; Sliver; Wonder Showzen: Season 1.

Related Stories

  • Famous TV & Movie Houses 2

    Whether it’s a central location in a feature film or just an establishing shot on a sitcom, L.A. houses have seen some major Hollywood action. Whether Nancy’s place from A Nightmare on Elm Street in Hollywood or the Cunninghams' Milwaukee home in Happy Days (located in real life in Hancock Park), many...
  • In Burbank, an Art Show About Monsters and Hot Rods — and Rat Fink

    Artist Ben Von Strawn has a lifelong interest in hot rods and monsters. As a child, he would go to car shows with his dad. "I would see these painted cars when I was five years old and I would just copy it," he says. Meanwhile, his dad painted monsters...
  • Better Weather

    This news is not going to knock anyone off their seat. But, yeah, L.A. County is home to the best warm weather places in the nation. At least that's the conclusion of personal finance site WalletHub, which this week named Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank as "cities with the best ... year-round...
  • Vegan brunch!

    As if you needed another reason to eat at Gracias Madre  as of June 1, the West Hollywood vegan restaurant now serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The menu includes Mexican plates such as chilaquiles, tofu ranchero scramble, breakfast torta and chimichangas and traditional brunch fare such as French toast, homemade biscuits,...
  • Warning, Warning

    The U.S. Geological Survey has an amazing earthquake-warning system, and it works. The problem is, the system is still a prototype, and only a precious few people and institutions are privy to the warnings. The issue is cash. Experts say it will take a $38 million upfront investment and $16...

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Wed 1
  2. Thu 2
  3. Fri 3
  4. Sat 4
  5. Sun 5
  6. Mon 6
  7. Tue 7

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending