A while back I went and saw Pixar's Cars with some animation buddies of mine. I was quite disappointed with it. Visually/technically it was gorgeous ... but the story, characters, and their design were lame.
And then came Monster House. I had really mixed feelings with this one. Before it came out, I thought of it as a movie I would see when it hit the dollar theature. Fortunately I got free tickets for it when I was in SanDiego. It was actually a pleasent surprize. While it's not the greatest animation out there, the story, character designs, and style was fresh. It did not feel like a kids movie though ... it was dark, slightly twisted, and felt a bit cold. While I tend to like that over the "Happy-you-know-whats coming" feel to Cars, it was a bid odd.
So tonight I discovered why it had the gloomy feeling that it does. Chris Appelhans was one of the lead designers. He is one of my favorite illustrators. He has a darker style that gives fresh perspectives on characters and enviroments. I wouldn't call it happy art ... more like reflective art. It makes you think about yourself and your life.