I guess it depends how "cartoony" you mean. Does King of the Hill fall into that realm? Because I'd find it hard to watch a drama where the characters looked like South Park, but the plot was entirely serious. However, King of the Hill does a nice job of having more realistic storylines and characters although it's still certainly a comedy.
Absolutely. Animation holds a word of opportunity for story telling, and I think a lot of people would be down for a purely grown-up animated film. However, Hollywood has very little faith in animation that's not kid or family friendly and very little know-how on advertising such films, so it hasn't really been explored so much in the USA. There's a hilarious comic called The Goon that is currently looking for funding for a film adaption (and looks AMAZING in the test pieces:[link]) but they can't get anyone to back it because very few people with money think an R rated CGI film would be able to make its money back.
I see a lot of people have named some serious cartoons already, like Akira, Grave of the Fireflies, Ghost In The Shell etc. Although they are cartoons, they are done in a realistic style and it works for them.
But by "cartoony" style, do you mean cartoony like Invader Zim, My Little Pony or Adventure Time etc?
Sure! Humorous shows like The Simpsons and Futurama have made fans laugh and cry, and won awards for it. And movies like Persepolis have taken it much further, as did The Secret of Kells was a very strong entry as well. So if you want to make a serious movie with cartoony animation, go for it! It can be done!
YTcyberpunkFeatured By OwnerDec 11, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Depends on what you mean by "serious," first of all. Many animated family movies or children's movies have fairly serious stories, and are not straight-up comedies.
If you're talking about an animated film or comic for adults, that isn't a comedy or a fairy tale, then yes, I have seen it done. First of all, plenty of graphic novels out there are telling serious animated stories. I've seen animated movies that were aimed at adults and told serious stories. But, one must take advantage of the animation, and give it a style. If you draw your characters like the Looney Tunes, of course it won't be "serious." But if you draw it in the style of a graphic novel, it can be pulled off.
Yes of course, I have seen a lot of serious animated stories. or read graphic novels. Maus is a good example. Though people are proportioned pretty well and the settings look realistic. but the characters, depending on race, have animal heads and tails. Its incredibly serious.
It can be. Depends on the style I guess, if it's cartoony to the point of looking silly, it's difficult to make that with a serious story. In general, the more realistic the style, the easier it is to use for more serious plots.
Well of course! Look at Pixar's Up. I've watched it with people who never watch animation because they consider it primarily for kids and it really moved them. Even Wall.E made them stop and think, because of the underlying messages in that film. I think studios like Pixar do it right, and I believe that animated films can indeed be taken seriously.
Depends highly on the audience you're looking at, but I think most people would be able to accept a serious story so long as it's portrayed well in the animation. It also depends on what you mean by "cartoony", like Snoopy-cartoony or...anime-cartoony?
I think it could work, so long as the story is portrayed properly and the characters' facial expressions match the mood the story needs. Of course, it still depends on the audience, but a serious story should work (though it may lack the impact that realistic art can provide)
Soriyns-KnightFeatured By OwnerDec 11, 2012Student General Artist
But if it's too realistic, it might as well just be live action. Like the Polar Express, they spent so much time working on that movie and trying to make it perfect and realistic, but in the end it wasn't that well received.
It depends on the audience. Akira and other anime come to mind that are totally serious. In the western countries most folk associate animated movies with children...even if the audience isn't intended to be children.