May 29, 2005|As far as I'm concerned, by and large, when the conversation turns to animation, you have Brad Bird and Pixar in the United States and Satoshi Kon, Hayao Miyazaki, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri in Japan. Animation has a long way to go in the U.S., not in terms of technology but in terms of a willingness to see it as a medium for mature storytelling rather than as a ghetto for sub-par children's entertainment. Stuff like Shark Tale and Shrek make overtures to an "adult" audience with sexual innuendo, disturbing violence, and pop cultural riffs that may raise unsettling questions about existential substance (does any of this stuff exist outside of its own reflectivity?), yet do little to stimulate real excitement. They're failures, sometimes outrageously popular ones, trapped in amber.