John Kricfalusi’s Review of Meatballs

For context, John Kricfalusi created The Ren & Stimpy Show. Here’s his take on the new movie based on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs:

I had a tough time sitting in my seat through Meatballs, because what was happening and who it was happening to was not remotely interesting. It’s hard to pace a story around characters with no personality.

But as a cartoonist and designer, there was enough visual interest and unique action throughout the movie that intellectually I found things to stimulate me.

It was an optimistic portent of what could be. It’s basically an undirected film - but one that allowed many of the artists to take nothing scenes and add some kind of cleverness, design and action to the formulaic events being told by the story.

This in itself is so far ahead of an overdirected film (overdirected by executives typically, not by directors that actually have a point of view or style) that stops creativity from happening every step of the way, just so that more stock plot points, filler and bad puns can happen.

I think this kind of thing is enjoyable to read not just because of how harsh it is, but because it touches on something that is really true about the current state of, in my opinion, not just animated films, but most major films. I often find myself settling for the little things in a movie that make it good, rather than expecting something more, maybe in order to seem less like a cynic and an asshole.

But the truth is, there’s a lot of terrible stuff out there, and the industry that has grown around making movies has moved it from an art form into a calculating box office science. I can only remain optimistic by holding onto my belief that the creative juices going into films have stagnated due to lack of competition. Lower production and distribution costs, one hopes, will eat away at the joint monopoly whose long project has been the reduction of creative work to “content.”

Time will tell. Quality endures, but only if it can first find life.

(via Khoi Vinh)