2-D is the new silent


It would seem that the Pixar Revolution is over. Sure, there are a few stragglers, but it's done. 2-D is the new silent.

Now of course, just as Chaplin was able to make money with silent film years and years after everyone else gave it up, Miyazaki and a couple other auteurs will likely keep 2-D animation alive for a little longer as well. But the battle's over. Even the Disney machine's final 2-D efforts were tromped at the box office.

The death of 2-D is a shame. And so was the death of silent. You can't remake an old Chaplin or Keaton or Lloyd and expect to succeed in the same ways the originals did because their art required silence--much of it just wouldn't play if punctuated by one-liners and splats. Some truly great movies--Sunrise and Vampyr come to mind--simply cannot work in the medium of talkies. They are silent films first and silent films only.

2-D is also a distinct artform. Animation may be animation, but 2-D is not 3-D. They have distinct strengths--and by abandoning 2-D, we are losing its particular strengths forever.

I heard a rumor that Pixar/Disney under Lasseter might make some new 2-D films, but I'm not holding my breath.

Silent died because, for all its strengths, it was, as a whole, a much more limited medium than the talkies were. There is so much you can't do when you ex out language. And once an audience is acclimatized to sound, you can't take it away from them. So I understand silent's demise.

But 2-D is not so awash in weaknesses! 2-D is as strong as 3-D and I challenge you to prove me wrong! (They're both all done on computers now, anyway.) Home on the Range didn't bomb because it was 2-D! It bombed because it sucked! The same reason The Black Cauldron bombed ten years earlier!

2-D, my friends, is not the new silent! 2-D is the new black and white.

And so if it dies, it dies as black and white died. It dies a nondeath. And talented auteurs (ala Hitchcock and Spielberg and the Coen Brothers to b&w) will be able to return to 2-D when it is the fitting and proper choice for their film.

2-D is not dead. It has just gone into a working retirement.

So it will return.

And we will see great movies.


  1. I agree, but anime would be the exception. I hate anime. I hate its style. I hate its plotlines. Anime:2D :: crap:food.

  2. Er........what does 2 d mean? 2 dimensional?

  3. I thought it was a bra size. But then I don't know much about bra sizes.

  4. 2D must not die! I LIKE 2D films! I mean, Brother Bear is 2D, right? And it's pretty darn awesome if you ask me. It's so awesome that I'm surprised I haven't purchased it yet. Prolly because my parents own it and I can steal their movies whenever I am down there.

  5. Most of the girls my friends lust after are 2-D. Scary, huh?

    I think it's got some life left.

  6. Amen! Especially to the part about "Home on the Range" sucking rocks. I was so very disappointed. I went to that movie expecting to have an experience that would hold me for years to come. Instead, I had an experience that made me want to shoot somebody.

    So do you have any inside scoop on when the animated "Schindler's List" is due to hit the box office?

  7. .

    I'm trying to pitch it right now.

  8. So is this a case of "2 D or not 2 D"?

    Attempted humor aside, I agree completely with your analysis. Silent movies were the best available at the time (i.e, better than nothing) but doomed. I attend the opera occasionally and veiw many at home. The presentation is almost always in a language I do not understand - but captions are provided. I completely ignore the captions because I always miss some important detail in the action while I am reading them. I get more from the body-language than from the limiting captions.

    That said, if I could understand the language then a great new dimension would be added. In the silent movies we had to ignore the captions in the to see the action. Silence could never be translated in a way that would make it understandable so it fell by the wayside when the soundtrack was invented. Now, all I need is a multi-language switch on the opera and perfection will have been achieved (well, virtual 3-D with me right in the middle would be perfect).

  9. .

    Have you seen any good English-language operas?