"Family Fun" cartoon becomes a dark horse at the box office. How to make a good story?


"Family Fun" cartoon becomes a dark horse at the box office. How to make a good story?

  Candy Jin

  The box office potential of cartoons is obvious to all. Recently, Disney’s Frozen II became the box office champion. Two months ago, the domestic animated film Ne Zha’s "The Battle of Luo Xiaohei" occupied the first place at the box office. This phenomenon makes us think: how to better accumulate the narrative experience of domestic cartoons.

  There are many kinds of cartoons, some of which are specially prepared for children, such as the Disney classic series Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There are also animations specially made for adults, such as Japanese adult animation and Diablo animation. Different animations target audiences of different ages and get a slice of the box office.

  In recent years, the animation produced by animation companies headed by Hollywood Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks has gradually swept the world in a way that is suitable for all ages. Box office profits often exceed those of live-action movies. An animated film with good reputation and high box office is often a happy time shared by a family of three, and adults and children have their own needs. We call this kind of cartoons with children and adults as the common target audience "family fun" cartoons. In recent years, most of the Hollywood cartoons that have achieved high box office can be classified into this category, such as Toy Story, Robot Kawara Tsutomu, Travel Notes of Flying House Ring, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, big hero 6, Inside Out, Despicable Me, Zootopia’s Travel Notes of Searching for a Dream Ring and so on.

  For more than ten years, domestic animation has been hovering at the level of Pleasant Goat, Big Wolf, Big Xiong Er and Logger Vick, and GG Bond, which leads to the pessimistic idea that the animation of China Family Fun may be in the long run. However, since the Return of the Great Sage on the Journey to the West in 2015 and the Big Fish Begonia in 2016, parents can enjoy the pleasure of watching movies at the same time, instead of just watching them bored — — Themes and aesthetics are the main reasons why parents choose cartoons for their children, while plots and thoughts and feelings meet the needs of adults themselves, so "Family Fun" cartoons have become a dark horse at the box office, and gradually become the collective efforts of animation film workers in China.

  Most animated family movies are inspirational growth stories, in which the protagonist has gone from lack of self-awareness, to repeated setbacks, to overcoming himself and saving the world, and finally becomes a great hero with indomitable spirit. The animated protagonists who are regarded as idols by children or loved by cute pets, although different in temperament, generally have warm humanity such as courage, responsibility, affection, love and tolerance, and are suitable for children as imitative idols. In addition, the values of love and peace, elimination of prejudice, solidarity and mutual assistance, pity for the weak, and support for justice infiltrated in this process are all positive values that urban parents with higher education expect to convey to their children. The Monkey King and Nezha are both young heroes in China’s cultural classics, and their heroic attributes of justice and courage are the main reasons why parents can’t help but say that they choose such films for their children.

  However, if a good IP is made into a boring film, parents will not pay for it even if there is the central idea of Wei Guangzheng. For adults, the fascinating plot is the key to attraction. So, what kind of plot is the most popular with the audience? Of course, the story that conforms to the classic Hollywood narrative mode is the easiest to attract the audience.

  Almost without exception, family animation adopts the classic Hollywood narrative mode, that is, the protagonist comes from a humble background, lacks self-identity, and is complacent after a small success — — Encounter setbacks — — The hero is in trouble and depressed — — Inspired and helped by relatives and friends — — Cheer up and start to work hard — — The biggest challenge (crisis) comes, stand up and fight — — Finally overcome difficulties (or enemies) and achieve success — — Ended in a happy ending. This mode of connecting the past with the present is the easiest for the audience to enjoy watching movies. The Return of the Great Sage, Ne Zha and The Battle of Luo Xiaohei all adopt this classic narrative mode.

  In grasping the rhythm, it is a required action of family animation to quickly introduce the plot into the first conflict within five minutes. In this process, there must be a suspense of three minutes and a climax of five minutes to advance, in order to create a hearty viewing pleasure for the audience. Those family animation films that have achieved excellent results at the box office all fully satisfy the adult audience at this level. On the basis of the two basic points of theme and plot, if the film has richer emotional design and delicate feelings that can touch people’s hearts, it is simply icing on the cake and unexpected joy.

  "The Return of the Great Sage" turned the fearless magic general into an imperfect "man" with fragile and depressed periods like us mortals, and instantly brought the audience into the role, so his self-redemption process became the audience’s spiritual redemption journey. The image of Nezha touches the hearts of Chinese people more widely — — Lack of companionship, not being accepted, isolated and alienated because of different natures, although there is a strong desire for emotion in the heart, but pretending to be indifferent in order to maintain self-esteem. The contradiction in Nezha has made many people see their former selves — — The "success" of Xiong Haizi and Nezha, who were disliked by the school, not only carried the parents’ expectations of Xiong Haizi, but also released their long-hidden grievances. Luo Xiaohei provides a deeper dilemma, from which adults can see the relationship between identity, racial interests and world peace. For adults, these differences outside the classic Hollywood narrative mode are the real soul of the film, and they are also attracted to accompany their children to brush the same film.

  The children before and after school age may see the omnipotence of heaven and earth in The Return of the Great Sage, the antics and the cool fighting of the sky and the earth in Nezha, and the fantasy of being cute and cute and two worlds in Luo Xiaohei. It’s enough for them to look good.

  Indeed, when parents choose cartoons for their children, aesthetic value is also an important reference item. Imaginative image design, gorgeous but not tacky colors, open and magnificent story scenes, vivid and exquisite details — — These so-called eye-catching parts contribute to the cultivation of children’s aesthetic taste, which is also the influence of the beauty that urban parents are willing to bring to their children.

  Many parents forbid their children to watch domestic animated series, precisely because the shapes are crude and the tacky colors are unbearable. The above-mentioned domestic animations have greatly met the needs of parents in aesthetics. The details of "Every hair is lifelike" in The Return of the Great Sage, the colorful China color in The Big Fish Begonia, the smoky shape of Nezha in Nezha and the poetic fantasy space presented in Luo Xiaohei all raise domestic animation to a new aesthetic height.

  Although there are only a handful of excellent domestic animated family movies, it is undeniable that it has become an important development direction of the film industry. There will be more novel and well-made family fun movies in the future.


admin administrator