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The Computer-Animated FilmIndustry, Style and Genre$
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Christopher Holliday

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427883

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427883.001.0001

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From Wile E. to Wall-E: Computer-Animated Film Comedy

From Wile E. to Wall-E: Computer-Animated Film Comedy

(p.165) Chapter 8 From Wile E. to Wall-E: Computer-Animated Film Comedy
The Computer-Animated Film

Christopher Holliday

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter Eight argues how comedy is worked into the stable, solid genre elements of the computer-animated film in particular ways, leading to a range of comedic orthodoxies that both define, and are defined by, the specificities of these specific screen worlds. Building on pre-existing typologies of animated comedy, and scholarship on the evolution of the American cartoon during the 1940s, this chapter introduces the exceptional comic arsenal of computer-animated films that often departs from ‘crazy’ disruptions of spatio-temporal unity and unorthodox patterns of ‘cartoonal’ behaviour. The chapter argues that in the computer-animated film, exaggerated degrees of physical distortion and degradation of the animated body operate outside the agenda of a Luxo world. The genre instead establishes a new comic modality rooted in other common features: a tendency towards cross-species couplings as a reinvigoration of the “bi-racial” buddy movie popular in 1980s Hollywood; the enhanced role of verbal comedy through performative connections with “comedian comedy” and casting practices of stand-up comedians; and the comic role of multi-faceted personality types in relation to theories of character structure derived from twentieth-century psychiatric therapy and biogenetics.

Keywords:   Humour, performance, body, violence, narrative, verbal comedy, personality

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