It’s time to take a break. Stay seated, relax and spend few minutes to see the last short movie by Disney. It’s worth your time, that’s sure.
Paperman by Walt Disney (2009).
Do you like it? Are you touched? Amazed?Do you want more?
Please, stay here few minutes more, and maybe you will change your ideas, comparing this movie with some others.
Let’s start with the oldest one released in 2002: the Italian Music video “Agosto” by Perturbazione directed by Sylvain Vincendeau.
This movie won the “Videoclipped the Radio Stars”, one of the most important Italian music video contest.
And now, to conclude, the music video “You Belong With Me” by the pop star Taylor Swift (Summer 2009)
Do you feel like in a Déjà vu?
Are you speaking about copyrights violation and plagiarism yet? Do you think that Disney creativity has failed this time?
Or can you see differences beyond the plot and you are enjoying all these texts without recrimination?
Let’s try to solve that mystery starting highlighting what these texts have in common.
In all of them there is a single person, alone, sad, separated from his or her value object, that is a partner. When the protagonist is starting to approach to the other, everything looks better, lighted up by the energy of their bids to communicate with this new person. However there is an enemy (the wind, a girlfriend, a change of offices) which prevents the conjunction between the two, and just with the help of an invisible helper they can be together(the storm which moves the forbidden paper plane, the fate which gives a new office on the same side just few floors upper, the make-up and the dress which transform a girl in a princess, the magic which guides the man to his beloved).
However this is a really common plot, especially for love stories. The element which pools the four movies is not the same structure or theme, but the peculiar way to communicate from a window to an other. It is this way of communication to make these movies similar playing an important role in the story. However we have to discern between two different ways to represent the communication: one shows two characters speaking each other, paying attention to the message and not just to the media (Signs and Swift), one focused only the media (the paper plane) with the sender trying to communicate his messages to the receiving (Perturbazioni and Disney).
That difference becomes really important to understand the similarities among the Disney’s movie and the others because is what makes the first one be a mix of the other and not just a copy.
Disney movie shares the location (two offices one in front of the other), the characters (young man and woman) and the atmosphere (a sad routine life in a grey place) with Signs, but the way of communication, the competence and the performance (failed) with Agosto, while shares just the happy ending with Swift’s music video (which has more things in common with Signs).
But at the end, can we define it as creative?
We have already define creativity as
the act through which elements, pre-existing but split and far away among them, are connected in an original way, giving origin to a product (whatever will be its nature) useful with an impact (of various degree) over the community, depending by the historical, topological and social context, and esteemed by the community (of experts or not) as creative.
We know that the plot, with a boy trying to win the next door (or office) girl’s love, and the idea to use that peculiar media to communicate this love already existed with Agosto. We have then pre-existing elements which are split but not so far away among them (if you know the music video).
We know that Disney movie has a big impact on the community and that it is speaking about our social and historical situation.
Therefore, all the difference between a creative text and just a copy stays in the way to connect these elements.
Disney has its peculiar and strong way to represent well known tales, with magic elements and atmospheres which are a distinctive sign of this brand. Furthermore they realised this movie with a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques which is really important to recreate the “adult” cartoon atmosphere and which is one of the marvel elements of the text.
That’s why we can define the connection made by Disney as original and, thereby, the movie as creative.
This movie shares a lot of elements and concepts with the others (and probably there will be a lot more which we don’t know) but it is also able to have a grater impact thanks to its style and to the brand name which awards this movie with its prestige and includes it in its universe of signs.
Because for a lot of people Disney is not just a multinational company and a well built and organised brand, but a Dream Factory ready to share its magic with all of us.