You go home from work. You are tired, you want to sit in front of the TV, and watch something fun. Your children want the same. What better than an animated film?
Both children and (most) adults love animation. Of course, there are animated movies that are directed specifically to adults (like Anomalisa by Charlie Kaufman). And there is also the chance that adults will love a kid’s movie more (for example The Incredibles).
So, why do adults like cartoons so much?
They have well-written characters
Well there, are plenty of reasons. First and foremost, because a lot of them are really good. Plenty of talent works in producing animated films like Toy Story and Ice Age. Screenwriters, designers, programmers, musicians are all working together in order to bring the best outcome to the big screen. And usually, they succeed.
Animated films have well-written characters facing complicated situations. Like when Woody has to deal with the fact that he may not be Andy’s favorite toy after all (in Toy Story). Or when Mufasa sees his brother killing him (in Lion King).
Sometimes the scripts are even better than those in adult films. So, it comes as no surprise that animated films appeal to grown-ups as well.
They bring out the child in us
Remember the time when you were a child, it was Saturday morning and you used to sit in front of the TV and enjoy cartoons? Well, animated films bring out that specific feeling, that nostalgia for our childhood.
Moreover, they reveal our inner child. By watching an animated movie, we forget the monotony of everyday life and we leave our problems behind.
Who wouldn’t love to have his/her own personal Baymax (from Big Hero 6) who wouldn’t hesitate to share a hug every time there was sadness or problems? If only our lives could be full of good-natured monsters, talking animals and brave children!
We love heroes
Almost every cartoon has to do with the journey of a character. A journey towards adulthood, or towards finding oneself, or succeeding in a quest. And who doesn’t love a hero like that?
A hero that overcomes all obstacles trying to find true meaning and happiness in his/her existence? Plenty of times, the characters in animated films are bigger-than-life and that’s what we need in order to believe to humans (or animals) again.
Anything can happen
Well, when a director wants to make something extremely ambitious, something that would be difficult to shoot, there will be lots of people who would advise him/her to turn the film into an animated feature.
That’s because there are no limits to animation. A house can fly with balloons (Up), or we can find elephants with huge ears ready to go to the air (Dumbo). Our imagination is the only limit to what can be done. And usually, there are whole worlds out there, ready for us to discover.
Archetypes and their subversion
Every good bedtime story has its archetypes: the innocent character (like Snow White for example) and the evil one (like her stepmother).
Sometimes they blend, giving us interesting characters (like Gru who is supposed to be a super-villain, but in fact has a heart of gold). We root for those characters because they remind us of ourselves. Our strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, animated movies deal with core elements of human existence: the idea of family, friendship, the fear of being alone.
A little treat for adults
Animated films are made for children, but sometimes filmmakers decide to put a little something for adults as well: Shrek, for example, has scenes with a sense of humor that is addressed mainly to grown-ups.
It’s a treat that aims to help parents enjoy their time in the movies as well. And it’s a really successful practice.
A feast for the eyes
Colorful and vibrant, animated movies are a feast for the eyes. The viewers enter fantastic worlds and cartoons have become works of art.
Just remember the first scene in the Lion King. The sun comes up and animals from all over the jungle come to meet the new lion cub.
In recent years, animation uses photo-realistic environments in order to make the spectacle bigger and better (remember films like The Adventures of Tintin and Dinosaur).