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We all live in a very special cinematic age. It used to be that reality was its own kind of barrier in the expression of a filmmaker's imagination, but the development of visual effects has made it so that any story can be brought to life with full impact. Because of this, the line is most definitely blurred between what formally had to be an animated movie and what can now be in live-action... but as Boss Baby star Alec Baldwin recently told me, there is a quality to animated movies that can never be fully captured in another medium:
There's things that it seems, in my lifetime, there are fewer and fewer of them, things you can only do in animation. In live-action now you have the flying saucer eviscerates the White House, and you have all these crazy visual effects. But still in animation there's a warmth to it, and there's a tone to it, and there's an art to it. Not every movie is The Godfather where it's lit and photographed like it's some kind of a Caravaggio. But in animation everything is exactly how you want it to look. The colors of the eyes, the knot of the tie. The artists... you must say, that in all these animated films, whether you go back to Snow White and on to Pixar and these guys we're working with now, all these companies, the artists who draw this stuff, my hat is off to them. It's just uncanny. You're in a different world entirely, and they create that world.
I recently sat down with Alec Baldwin during the Los Angeles press day for Boss Baby, and a part of our conversation was dedicated to the thin line that currently exists today between live-action and animated movies. Recognizing that Baldwin has done a number of both over the course of his career, I asked him about the difference in what he gets out of the experience, and he went on to explain what he sees as the most significant element that separates the two cinematic art forms.
Given how influential and ubiquitous visual effects have become in the film industry -- and not only in blockbusters -- it is significant to point out what is a very significant line in the sand here. Amazing as CGI can be, in the live-action realm it is always being used to try and replicate reality... which animation naturally has a special kind of freedom. The entire look of an animated film gets to not only be decided by creative minds, but also built pixel by pixel to be built to exact specifications. It's actually kind of magical when you think about it.
You can watch Alec Baldwin talk about live-action filmmaking versus the animated movie process in the video interview below:
Audiences will get to hear Alec Baldwin's voice come to life in a completely animated world when Boss Baby arrives in theaters -- and be on the lookout for more from my interview with the star.