Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Ralph Bakshi vs Bob Godfrey

Bob Godfreys Instant Sex (UK PAL Region 0)
Bob Godfreys Instant Sex (UK PAL Region 0)
Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi (The Force Behind Fritz the Cat, Mighty Mouse, Cool World, and The Lord of the Rings)
Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi (The Force Behind Fritz the Cat, Mighty Mouse, Cool World, and The Lord of the Rings)

Both Bakshi and Godfrey are pioneers of the animation industry. They took adult content in animation to new levels, they also took animation techniques to new levels. They also thought of animation in different ways. Thought this essay I will look into these points and explain them in more detail.

Adult Animation

They were both independent animators. Meaning they worked for themselves not for a big company. This allowed them to get away with animating pretty much anything. They used this freedom they had to bring about a whole new world of adult animation that viewers had never seen before. I'll be comparing Fritz the cat(Bakshi) and Henry 9 till 5(Godfrey) to show how both animators handled this freedom.

Fritz The Cat

Fritz the Cat
Fritz the Cat

Bakshis 1st film. He wanted to do something for himself and being an independent animator he was free to do as he pleased. He decided to base it on Fritz the cat as he new it would sell plus it matched what Bakshi was after. Fritz the cat was the 1st x rated animation feturing drugs, sex and racial stereotyping right from the start. Bakshi didnt do this just to start out he also wanted to show the world how collage students lived in that era giving a satire look on it by having animals go through it all, letting even collage students look at it and think how daft they all were. Bakshi is also very anti racist(as can be seen to great extent in coon skin) his 1st atempt at showing how folk can be racist without relising it was the crow at the start of the film, the girls think they know this guy inside and out just caus theve read a few book about black people yet he tells them straight hes nothing like that and walks off 'i ain't no jive ass black n****a honey' (Fritz the cat). Bakshi wanted people to see this as reel as he wanted folk to take the message seriously and so he refused to have characters singing and dancing like they do in disney films. Because of all this this film is currently the most successful independent animated film of all time. This film has also paved the way for animations today such as south park and family guy even the simpsons to a lesser extent with there high use of sex based jokes, showing anything they want(e.g south park with the Mohamad episode) .

Henry 9 till 5

Godfrey took a less serious look at animation he saw the opertunity to use adult content to make 'cartoons' for adults, ones that would make them laugh yet at the same time not being filled with childish humour. Right from the start we can tell its not for children the dark colours and the moody atmosphere created yet it still has a cartoon feel the use of little colour in characters, the simple backgrounds the hand drawn aspect.. Godfrey uses sex as a joke mocking those that constantly think about it. He uses music to create a humours atmosphere and reel life photos and video to to have a dig at us, 'It's you were making fun of' in essence were laughing at ourself, the key to british humour. Godfrey has had a big influence british animation on the way we relate to the character as ourselves and see how daft we really are sometimes, the mixture of live action to just emphasize a joke and realising cartoons can be for adults aswell as kids.

Being independent animators means neater had the same production costs as a big company (such as disney) behind them and so they were forced to come up with money saving techniques. I'll be comparing Bakshi's Wizards to godfref's Do it yourself cartoon kit & Roobarb to show some of the techniques used to save money.




This film was narrative driven meaning the story could be told without any animation meaning animation could be kept to a minimum, which he did do, the intro containing little to no animation using live action backgrounds in place of animation. Bakshi used little to no storyboarding and pencil tests as he didnt have the money to spend on eather. He also used rotoscoping from old movies, as this allowed the scene to be animated much faster and easier and also saved him from having to shoot footage for rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is now used in new levels in the form of motion tracking in 3d animated films and games. Thanx to Bakshi animators were able to see that rotoscoping could work and help bring more life to the film, they were also able to find a cheeper way of getting the job done and for indi animators this is the key factor.


Do it yourself cartoon kit

Godfrey uses cut outs for this animation, moving these physically rather than re-drawing to create movement. Like Bakshi there is use of live action in this case its just of his fingers but in other cartoons he uses it a lot more a live action crossed with stop motion film. Again like Bakshi the cartoon is narrative driven meaning animation can be kept to a minimum as its the narrative that drives the story.


In this cartoon Godfrey uses felt tip pens to ink the characters, he also used green and pink for his main characters as they were the colours he had most of. There is little or no backgrounds in this cartoon, a sign of good character animation. Godfrey also wanted a style he went for wobbly animation as this mean as long as you can understand the movement of the characters the 'smoothness' of these movements didn't matter. There is use of cycles and reuse of frames this saved animators from doing unneeded work. There is also limited animation here with inbetweens left out all together. There is also no lipsynces saving animators having to time the animation with the sound.


Even with all there similarity the main difference between these two men is there aims. Both animators saw animation in a different light and how it should be used, as to who was right thats just personal opinion. Ill be comparing Coon skin(Bakshi) and Great(Godfrey) both of which are based on a serious topic racial issues and the great Isimbard kingdom Brunel.

Coon Skin


Made to get people to think straight as I said before Bakshi hated racisim and discrimination this film was made to show were all the same people to bad things from all walks of life its not just one set of people doing all the bad things. Bakshi used racist materials for reference for the characters (e.g blackface) he used this for parody resons to hit the racist hard by attacking them with there own weapons. He also done the same for gays and jews(using nazi propaganda footage for the references). He hated how the godfather and other such movies praised organised crime and wanted to show people the true horror and sadness it really brings to people. Bakshi used live action footage to bring the message back home showing people that this really happens and isnt just some cartoon fantasy that he made up for the film. The 1 film I know of that has took on Bakshis philosophy of getting folk to think about the problems of the world is Persepolis, based on a graphic novel by the same name. It tells the story of the Iranian Revolution from a young girls viewpoint. It shows the true horrors of war in the same sense that Bakshi showed the horrors of Organised Crime.


Godfrey saw animation in another light he belived animation was for entertainment, to make you laugh he made his cartoons with the soul purpose of being funny. Great is a great example on how Godfrey was able to take a relitivly unfunny concept (the story of an engineers life) and make it funny and not only that it made learning fun. Godfrey achieved this lever of comedy due to his great characters , his music and his ability to write funny but educational lyrics, he also realised that fast moving characters got laughs so he kept in-between to an absolute minimum for maximum laughs. The use of live action here brings back how daft we are, and being brits we find this funny as theres nothing we like more than laughing at ourself. The cutouts also add a scene of humour to the film as watching real people perform impossible tasks is just funny to look at. He also just had crazy consents, like the weird airship things at the start of the film, that were just funny to look at and watch move. I huge influence on his style on animating for laughs would be Walice and Gromit , they use crazy inventions that do mediocre tasks used only cause there funny to watch.


Making adults towards adults was a great idea to start both animators off being a nech in the market this allowed even there indi – animations to sell well as noone else was making them and also no big company would even challenge them on this market as it would damage there family friendly name. Would they have done quite as we'll if they coped disneys family friendly style? No, why pay for a cheaply made made when you have a top quality one from a company you know. Even though people questioned this method as independent animators there wasnt much choice, luckily both used this for good and thanx to them the future of animation now allows cartoons for adult. As for whos method was right, both were. You cant question someones belefes but you can question how they show them and both these men done a great job in proveing what they beleved the true essance of animation.

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