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It can be easy to believe that today’s 3D animated features are breaking the barriers of animation and theater entertainment. But if it wasn’t for the experimentation and creations of the 3D animations of the late 1980s, today’s animations wouldn’t be a good as they are now. 3D animations of the late 1980s were breaking barriers in a variety of ways that have lead to the great films of today. I have found two animations from the late 1980s that reflect this notion literally in their stories.


The first animation is called “Stanley & Stella in Breaking the Ice”(1), featuring a eagle named Stanley and a fish named Stella, who break the physical barrier that separates them in order to be together. The animation starts with an overview of the two different environments (the sky and the sea) containing two different animals (birds and fish). Stanley and Stella, who fall in love with each other, live in these different environments, separated by glass/ ice barrier. When their love became stronger, Stanley decides to fly high and break the barrier in order to be with Stella.


The second animation has its protagonist and its sidekick break a different kind of barrier. “Locomotion” (2) is the story of a train, called Engine No. 9, and its caboose who are stopped in their tracks (literally!) by a break in the railroad. No. 9 wants to go on but the caboose discourages it. But the break in the tracks and the caboose’s decision are not the barriers that No. 9 has to overcome. The barrier is his fear. No. 9 fears of being late and having to accept the fate of being sent to the scrape yard for his incompetence. After thinking about this, No. 9 makes its own decision to overcome this barrier. No. 9 ingeniously uses the good side of the track to go over the break.

Even though the characters in these animations are breaking their own barriers, it reflects how 3D animation in general was breaking barriers at this time, making way for it future in theatrical entertainment.


(1) Vintage CG. Stanley & Stella in Breaking the Ice (1987). Online Video. 2 mins 2 secs. 24 Aug 2009.

(2) Vintage CG. Locomotion (1989)- Pacific Data Images. Online Video. 3 mins 57 secs. 25 Aug 2009.

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