Sibongile Mafu

An ode to animated movies

2013-06-26 14:00

Sibongile Mafu

I was fortunate enough to attend a pre-screening this week for one of the most anticipated sequels of the year (at least in my mind): Despicable Me 2, and I must say, my love for animated movies grows stronger and wilder every year.

I’ve always been a fan of film, and even studied television production at Rhodes University, with my first job being a videographer in Cape Town. I've since moved on to love many other things, but I think the appreciation for cinema and film-making in whatever form will always be there.

So, armed with my 3D glasses (or as I’d like to call them “the port key to another world”), Smarties-filled, cream-cheese and chives lathered popcorn and flat medium Coke, I entered cinema 3 and was immediately taken on a train to another planet, where adults laugh like they are children and are filled with that thing called wonder which seems to pull a vanishing act when we start paying taxes.

I remember being first enchanted by animated movies many years ago when Toy Story came out. I couldn’t understand how they managed to create these characters from nothing, make them move, and talk and live. A number of other films came after that came, each bringing me as much joy as the others.

An animated escape

I think what I love most about it, besides the sheer talent and creativity it takes to create these worlds and these fully realised characters, is just how easily it easily it sweeps us away.

In Despicable Me, there’s a character named Gru, probably one of the most cynical, hard-nosed characters to ever be imagined, whose heart is stolen by the three orphaned girls he adopts. I think when I watch animated movies, my “Gru self,” who can be pessimistic and distrustful of people, makes way for the carefree, untroubled Gru, that’s brought out by these movies.

Many would say animated movies take you to a place where your problems don’t really matter. A place where things like bills and debt do not exist and the only traffic one needs to navigate is trying to find your seat in the cinema. And I wholeheartedly agree.

When I put on those 3D glasses, and watched as other grown folk in the theatre did the same, the room became a playground. You could almost see us all being physically lifted from out seats and floating away. Books do that too, and to a lesser extent, for me personally at least, movies with human people. Those sometimes can feel too much like real life, with real issues for me to completely escape.

When I left the theatre I found myself screaming “More! More!” in my head of course, because I was slowly transforming back to being an adult again.  I was completely overwhelmed by how much I’d had. That’s thing about growing up, sometimes it seems you have to make a trade-off. Life happens.

The kid inside

Grumpiness happens. Adulthood happens. And that reckless abandon you had when you were young that dogged determination to suck the life out of pretty much every situation slowly slips away. Until something that reminds you that that kid inside you is still there.

I frantically tweeted my love for the movie, and how everyone needed to see it. I felt like I was playing my part as a good citizen, spreading the cheer and imploring people to find their inner child again, and if they couldn’t make a child and take them to see it.

These movies may not be changing the world finding the cure for the common cold, but they do a good job of making you remember the innocence and hope of our childhoods, something that passes us by way too quickly.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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