The “Auteur Theory” was coined by French film critics (as you might have guessed) to describe that, despite the hundreds of people who work on an individual movie, there’s an overseeing force in the form of one person who deserves authorship. That person is usually the director, and “A Film By” (or “Un film de“) is usually the credit that best describes this. When the term was coined, it was applied to standard filmmaking, but more and more I think animated films, which often have whole teams of guiding hands, can fall into the Auteur Theory just as much. Hayao Miyazaki is a good example, John Lasseter is another, and I think, though his feature films aren’t as numerous as his television credits, Genndy Tartakovsky is also an auteur.
In this behind-the-scenes video for Tartakovsky’s second feature film, Hotel Transylvania 2 (out on Blu-ray right now), we get to see that the film is an extension of his television work, which includes Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack. Those shows were all about the characters striking particular poses to accentuate a moment of action, and we see that’s exactly what the CG-animated feature does, with each of its monstrous characters hitting precise shapes and movements. All about straight lines, according to Senior Animation Supervisor Alan Hawkins.
The video also tells us that Tartakovsky experimented with a definite muscular structure for his characters, utilizing the technology Sony had created for the Spider-Man movies, so even though the characters are cartoony and not at all “real” looking, they move and their muscles react the way real muscles would. It’s all about taking the art form forward.
We’re excited to see where the unique vision of Tartakovsky goes next, and especially excited to see the continuing adventures of Samurai Jack coming this year. Hotel Transylvania 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD now.
Image: Sony Pictures Animation
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!