Anyway, that's a tangent. Sort of. But another topic for another time.
One of the things Bluth said (Laci wrote a nice summary of the night of her blog, with a lovely picture of her and Bluth) is that hope is so important in film, particularly cartoons. He commented that that's part of the reasons animation (especially 2D) is failing--the films have become more cynical and sarcastic and lack any hope.
I think he's absolutely right. The morning of the event, I had some of the American Tail songs stuck in my head, and I was trying to figure out why I love that movie so much (yes, I have it on DVD, thank you very much).
His comment about hope answered that. The films I love the most are very hopeful. But not blind, idealistic hope. It's hope in the face of a lot of struggle, pain, and heartache. In some of my favorite cartoons, like American Tail, Lion King, Up, and Oliver & Co., things don't work out like people plan them to work out. In fact, things often go very, very wrong. Yet they end up finding joy, love, and hope, although that process is not always easy.
In many ways, the best animations show a sort of dark night of the soul. The characters experience a time when hope seems to be lost. They suffer. And yet they rise again. Life keeps going. Hope springs eternal.
This is an important theme to remember. We often forget it even in our daily, explicitly spiritual lives. Most of our "cool" movies don't address it or help this out at all. Yet the cartoons of our childhoods do. Maybe we need to remember that...