This is a user-submitted post by Casey Oswald.
Way back in 1918, Max Fleischer gave us Out of the Inkwell, a series of shorts featuring Koko the Clown. Koko was an animated character interacting with live action people on screen. Audiences flocked to this rotoscoped novelty. In 1923, Walt Disney turned the idea around when he put Alice, a live action girl, into a cartoon world. Since then, there have been numerous attempts to combine animated characters into live-action films.
One of the greatest examples of this combination being used to expert perfection is the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In that film, real-life Eddie Valiant and cartoon Roger Rabbit interact fluidly in both the live-action and animated settings. So Dear to My Heart, Song of the South, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Mary Poppins, The Pirate Movie, Cool World, and many others combined animated and live characters to varying degrees of success. Some movies, like Xanadu and The Star Wars Holiday Special just skip over the interaction and include full-animated segments.
With the invention of CGI, animated characters have become even more realistic, reaching a point now where real actors who have passed away are being played by animated versions of themselves on screen. This was done with mixed results in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The animated character replacements looked fairly convincing, but there is still something not quite right about them. Something just a little disconcerting.
Is it convincing? When Koko or Roger Rabbit move around, no one minds at all. The filmmakers are not trying to convince us that they are anything more than a living cartoon, so we accept the effect and enjoy the movie. But when Jar-Jar Binks interacts with Qui Gon Jinn, we spend more time analyzing the character than enjoying the movie. No matter whom the character is, from Jerry the Mouse in Anchors Aweigh to CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic World, it is almost impossible not to notice.
So, I turn to you. Do animated characters work in live-action movies? Who are some of your favorite animated stars? Should Hollywood be animating actors who are no longer with us? Let us know!
Edited by: Kelly Conley