This post is part of my 30 day writing challenge designed to focus on sustaining creativity. For some more background, check out this post.

Over the years, innovation in cinematic techniques have provided us with some absolutely incredible visual experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Hollywood blockbuster (though sometimes I wish Michael Bay would get caught standing a little too close to one of his explosions) but in an age of CGI and virtual hyper-reality, a part of me longs for the simpler days where the story drove the experience and the format enhanced it…not the other way around.

One genre I hope is still around when I have kids are live action animal films. Homeward Bound remains one of my all-time favorites, in fact years later my own rescue dog bore a striking resemblance to Chance (and I could totally picture Michael J. Fox narrating his thoughts). There was nothing fancy about this format, it was just 2 dogs and a cat with human narrations to tell the story, but it put you in the mindset of a trio of animals that wanted nothing more than to get back to their family. The animals provided enough of an emotional connection for the audience that it had the desired effect for the story.

Milo and Otis. Babe. Air Bud. Dr. Doolittle (more the original 60s version but I’ll reserve judgment on the Eddie Murphy version if only for Norm MacDonald and Chris Rock). Animals resonate with children, for one reason or another. You can argue kindred spirits, a shared innocence, or even simply that furry things make kids smile. These were animals used as characters and used authentically. The story was driven through these characters in a way that teaches kids lessons through characters they inherently trust. I certainly hope, for the sake of my future children, that we don’t neglect the power of storytelling through animal characters.

homeward bound


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