Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just Another $0.02

As an animator I frequent a bunch of animation sites and blogs. One I hit almost daily is "Cartoon Brew" which is hosted by Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi. It's a great site that has all sorts of great animation articles and links to all things animation.

Recently I read an article on Cartoon Brew called "Miyazki and Son" which was written by Mr. Amidi about the strained relationship between Japanese Animation icon Hayao Miyazaki and his son ( also an animator ) Goro. Here is the piece.

If anybody is in need of some tough love from Dr. Phil, it's probably Hayao Miyazaki and his eldest son Goro. This Reuters article about GEDO SENKI (TALES OF EARTHSEA), the first film by Goro Miyazaki, is quite revealing, sad and funny all at the same time. Among the details revealed in the piece:
Goro Miyazaki says, "For Hayao Miyazaki, now that I've made one movie, as far as he's concerned I've become a sort of rival."
The opening scene of Goro Miyazaki's film has a prince stabbing his father to death.
The elder Miyazaki didn't directly tell his son his thoughts about the film, but relayed them through a Studio Ghibli producer.
Goro Miyazaki wrote a blog entry about his father titled, "Zero Points as a Father, Top Points as a Director," and claims that "From the time I became aware of things up to the present, we have almost never talked."

Pretty sad, but what I found especially sad was Mr Amidi's summarizing paragraph

I must say though, in one sense it's refreshing to see somebody like Hayao Miyazaki who cares so much about his art that he's willing to put it above his family's happiness. Great works of animation like SPIRITED AWAY and PRINCESS MONONOKE certainly aren't made without sacrifice. Perhaps animation would be better in the States if more people were willing to make those type of sacrifices for their films ( READ UPDATE BELOW )

I honestly couldn't understand the opinion of how he thought that Miyazaki's neglect of his family was refreshing, and that by suggesting that if more American animators, and film makers sacrificed their familial happiness, it would produce better animated films.

Chuck Jones loved his children, as did Walt Disney...They may have had to come home for dinner late a few nights and possibly miss a ball game or two, but they didn't neglect their children. In fact unlike Miyazaki, their children recognized them both as great artists, AND great fathers.

If an individual cares for their art more than their children, why have children in the first place? Was it through sheer vanity? Or was it a mistake?

Again he's entitled to his opinion, but it's my opinion that when you die and your legacy is a broken child and a volume of regarded art, then your life has been a failure.

I believe Mr. Miyazaki should look at a small piece of cinema known as "Field Of Dreams" in which Ray Kinsella played by Kevin Costner builds a beautiful baseball diamond in his cornfield which allows all of his by-gone baseball heroes to appear and play in front of his eyes...All of which are a setup and pale in comparison to playing a game of catch with his deceased father, and finally put to rest all the pain he has suffered due to their strained relationship.

Then again, the people who made "Field Of Dreams" may have bitter and resentful kids that they neglected..Ah well.

UPDATE: Mr. Amidi was cool enough to stop by and leave a comment below to give me a heads up that he himself had updated his blog about the article above, and to let me know that he was tongue in cheek in the article.

So even though I would love emoticons to disappear, those little bastards always find examples of showing me how much I need them....:) or is it ;) or :p


Amid said...

Hi El Snoozo - Please read the update on the Brew. I was not seriously suggesting that the quality of American animation directly correlates to how little time one spends with their family. I thought the tongue-in-cheek nature of that comment would be clear from the context of the rest of the piece but apparently it wasn't.

Humor aside though, I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote, "...it's my opinion that when you die and your legacy is a broken child and a volume of regarded art, then your life has been a failure." It's a thought-provoking issue, and I think the exact opposite could be argued as well. Miyazaki may have left a "broken child" but he's inspired the lives of millions of others. I don't claim to know what's right though it's certainly something worth considering.

El Snoozo said...

It's without doubt a good debate, after reading your comment I actually thought that maybe the neglect from his father, is what helped inspire, both visually and story-wise moments in Goro's film.

So in some way he did inspire his son.

My bad on the mis-reading, but thanks for the clarification and the feedback.

Think it's pretty clear that there are good points on each side.