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Cookie's Animation Retrospective: A Look Back at Animation in CAYOM 2.0

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With some users making plans of doing top 100 lists (and in Alpha's case, currently going through with it) to keep the game active I made a mention that I would come up with something similar after Year 10 concludes. I still plan on doing that at some point, but after some deliberation I wanted to do something a bit different; something that (hopefully) wouldn't take as much time and something where I could delve deeper into each individual film. I narrowed it down to a fairly popular - I don't like using this word when describing what's actually format - "genre", namely animation. In the real world animation, at least mainstream theatrical animation, is still stigmatized as kid's stuff (although the recently released R-rated Sausage Party proved to be a success), but in CAYOM it has been allowed to flourish, spanning a wide variety of genres targeting everything from kids to teenagers to adults. Some players took the opportunity to experiment, working with styles, themes and ideas that not only broke what would be considered the norm in the real world, but also birthed films that gained the same level of recognition as some of the most acclaimed live-action features in the game.


With this retrospective I will be looking at animated films that received critical praise, box office success or some other form of notoriety in the game. In a sense I'll be reviewing these films one by one, and since I'm one of the youngest players in the game, I'll be looking at most of them with an entirely fresh perspective. I will also look at the circumstances surrounding these films, the climate of the game at the time they were released and judge on whether or not that has some noticeable effect on the film.


I will not be doing these retrospectives in accordance to some kind of schedule. I've got a lot on my plate elsewhere (including making films for CAYOM) and that takes up time. I'll try to keep up with at least two analyses per month, maybe once per week if I really feel like it, but I won't guarantee anything. I can (and maybe will) take requests, but I won't make any promises that they'll be the next film I'll be looking at, or if I ever get to them at all. One rule I should say about the requests is that they should NOT be from the current year. A film that has yet to face reviews, box office and Oscar considerations is not a film I want to pass judgement on.


Should this take off I'll maybe include one of my own animated films on occasion (either the ones I've already made or will make in the future) and at that point the format will take a bit of a different turn. Instead of reviewing the film I'll be making a self-reflection and examine the choices I made and whether or not I still agree with them upon re-visit.


So lets get started. I'm going to pick films from any given period (besides the current year as I've said before) without any adherence to chronology, but I thought it'd be best to at least start at the very beginning. If nothing else, there's one animated film from the first year of CAYOM that I think definitely made an impact, and that is...


Wings of Icarus

Created by: @RySenkari

Release Date: November 18th, Year 1

CC points: 93 (#2 rank)

Box office: $61,289,447 (Opening Weekend) / $307,886,424 (Domestic total, #3 rank) / $949,600,000 (Worldwide)

Oscar record: 7 nominations (including Best Picture), 2 wins


From my experience of CAYOM 1.0, Rysenkari's Gemini Studios (or was it Gemini Productions? Can't remember) was basically the CAYOM equivalent to Disney. Gemini branched out ever so often, but their most notable work were animated musicals. That tradition continued into CAYOM 2.0 with Wings of Icarus, an animated family musical that could very well have been made by Disney, barring maybe a few elements that probably wouldn't make it into a Disney musical, which I'll touch on in a bit.


The story, which is a re-imagining of the Icarus story from Greek mythology, is surprisingly wide in scope and a bit complicated considering it derives from a fairly simple tale. In this version, Icarus makes a pair of wings for himself in order to fulfill his dream of taking to the skies (an aspiration that's initially derided by his father Daedalus voiced by the late Leonard Nimoy) as well as impress the princess Ariadne, who only wishes to be Icarus childhood friend while she falls in love with Icarus other childhood friend Theseus. Theseus, meanwhile, is sent on a mission by Minos, the king of Crete, to the island of Thera to battle a threat, only to discover that the inhabitants of Thera have no intentions of being at war with Crete, nor would ever have the capacity to do so. Thousands of Therans are still slaughtered, leaving an orphaned girl named Cori stranded on the opposite end of the island. Once Theseus returns to Crete and confronts Minos, he is sent to the labyrinth and Ariadne has to betray her father and become a fugitive herself in order to rescue her lover. As Daedalus had a hand in Theseus' eventual escape from the labyrinth, he and Icarus (yeah, it takes a good third of the film before the title character actually becomes a part of the film's main plot) are banished and left on a deserted island. With the help of his father Icarus builds a new pair of wings and escapes the island, only to fly too close to the sun and come crashing down and gets brought back to health by Cori. While Icarus and Cori start hitting it off, their paths are crossed by Ariadne and Theseus who are being pursued by Midos' right-hand man Laceus, while Minos tries to finish the job in Thera and awaken a fire god that would lend him a magical MacGuffin so he could rule the world.


Just telling from that long-winded synopsis, the narrative focus is very split between several characters. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the four main characters (Icarus, Cori, Theseus and Ariadne) are all well-rounded and likable, and Icarus does receive the most screentime although it's by a hair's length. Ry did not provide a running time in the original posting of the film, but the film feels long, just going by the numerous locations being visited more than once and the various turns the plot takes. Somewhere around the middle it starts dragging its heels a bit too much, but entering the third act it quickly picks up with plenty of action and the film remains in a good pace until the end.


Speaking of action the film sells itself a bit short by being listed as a comedy musical. There is comedy and there are musical numbers, but a lot of the film is occupied by action scenes and some surprisingly heavy moments are thrown in there as well. While younger kids will enjoy Icarus' fumbling attempts at becoming one with the sky and the cute romance that brews between him and Cori, the movie deals with themes of betrayal, loss, sacrifice and even genocide. That last part especially strains on the film's PG-rating as the raid on Thera early on in the film proves to be exceptionally brutal. Disney has always had a knack of turning stories with horrific elements in them into kid-friendly entertainment, but for the most part they either downplay or wash themselves clean entirely of those elements. This film has the nastier elements almost front-and-center and that is probably going to upset younger viewers. I personally don't find it a detriment to the film (after all The Hunchback of Notre Dame didn't really scrape itself clean either and it's one of my favorite Disney films) as the heavier scenes prove effective and actually guide the story along.


Perhaps the best scenes in the film are the stunning flying scenes, evoking the same awe and wonder as the flying scenes in the How to Train Your Dragon films. The animation is perfectly on point and you really feel like you're flying. The songs, while mostly confined to the first half of the film, are all done well and don't feel like they're weighing down the narrative, and as I've said before the main characters are all rounded and likable. Tom Hiddleston's turn as Laceus makes for a very enjoyable antagonist, shifting between comically pathetic and surprisingly intimidating on a whim. Robert Carlyle as Midos is also a lot of fun, albeit his redemption at the end is pretty abrupt and cheap when you get down to it.


I believe had the film been a little bit tighter in the middle it could've come out even stronger, but as is it's a great early entry in the CAYOM animation portfolio and a high benchmark for succeeding animated films to aspire to. Being strong enough to earn a Best Picture nomination in the very first year of the game also shows how CAYOM differs from the real world in how it treats animation (even if it still faces some hurdles in the game especially when it comes to the Oscars).

Edited by cookie
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9 hours ago, Alpha said:

You better give Amulet a good review, hon.






I'm legitimately curious how To The Moon holds up. I know for a fact it'll be a hard read since my English was quite shit back then, but overall I'm really curious.


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It may be a while before I'll get to either Amulet or To The Moon as I intend to look at Spark and Cybernetic 7 first. At least one of them will have a review/analysis up sometime next week.

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3 hours ago, Spaghetti said:

I just realized SPARK is missing from Year 4. :( Somehow the whole film is gone.


Honestly this is more of a reason to just straight up reboot it. 




That's unfortunate. You don't have it saved somewhere?


Replacing Spark with Sylvarius in the mean time. @4815162342

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