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Implausible Possibility: Freedom and Realism in Live-Action/Animated Gag Comedies

Implausible Possibility: Freedom and Realism in Live-Action/Animated Gag Comedies While often unacknowledged, gags and gag comedy remain a vital part of Hollywood cinema. Following the runaway success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), an increase in the production of films combining live-action and animation has helped them become a central venue for gag comedy. However, while live-action/animation hybrids can be enormously successful, they are also extremely difficult and risky ventures, both in terms of their technical challenges and production costs. Given this, what is the rationale behind combining live-action and animation for comedy at all? As the author argues, both theoretical considerations of animation and hybrids as well as the discourse from creators of such films frame live-action/animation as particularly well suited for gag comedy due to its ability to balance the freedom of animation with the grounding realism of live-action. Films such as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) serve to highlight the interaction between cartoonish animation and realistic live-action as well as key tensions that arise in combining the two forms. Examining the opportunities and challenges provided by these combinations helps explain why hybrid films remain a common vehicle for gag comedy today and an important subset of Hollywood comedy as a whole. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animation SAGE

Implausible Possibility: Freedom and Realism in Live-Action/Animated Gag Comedies

Animation , Volume 18 (2): 15 – Jul 1, 2023

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References (50)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2023
ISSN
1746-8477
eISSN
1746-8485
DOI
10.1177/17468477231187029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While often unacknowledged, gags and gag comedy remain a vital part of Hollywood cinema. Following the runaway success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), an increase in the production of films combining live-action and animation has helped them become a central venue for gag comedy. However, while live-action/animation hybrids can be enormously successful, they are also extremely difficult and risky ventures, both in terms of their technical challenges and production costs. Given this, what is the rationale behind combining live-action and animation for comedy at all? As the author argues, both theoretical considerations of animation and hybrids as well as the discourse from creators of such films frame live-action/animation as particularly well suited for gag comedy due to its ability to balance the freedom of animation with the grounding realism of live-action. Films such as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) serve to highlight the interaction between cartoonish animation and realistic live-action as well as key tensions that arise in combining the two forms. Examining the opportunities and challenges provided by these combinations helps explain why hybrid films remain a common vehicle for gag comedy today and an important subset of Hollywood comedy as a whole.

Journal

AnimationSAGE

Published: Jul 1, 2023

Keywords: animation and realism; comedy production; contemporary Hollywood comedy; gag comedy; gags and visual effects; live-action/animation hybrids

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