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With animated movies more popular than ever thanks to studio giants like Pixar picking up the Disney baton and sprinting into the 21st Century, Movie-Se's collection of cartoons charting the 150-year history of animation provides a fascinating look back at the films that paved the way to the likes of modern blockbusters like Toy Story. Conceived by the team at London's famous Barbican Centre, the exhibition looks at the genre's past and future, its famous personalities and their influence on pop culture, through animations like Steamboat Willie (1928) which saw the first ever appearance from Mickey Mouse through to Matt Groening's famously disfunctional family The Simpsons.
Crucial historical markers come in the form of Astro Boy (1952), the Japanese take on the Pinocchio tale that eventually gave rise to the Manga phenomenon, itself celebrated with the groundbreaking feature-length animation Akira (1988) by Katsuhiro Otomo. The lasting relationship between these two wasn't just a stylistic one, either. Techniques explored in Astro Boy would dramatically cut the time required to create full-length animations years later, and the experimention with technique and technology is no more evident than in a collection of 75 shorts by Walt Disney, made between 1929 and 1939.
By setting the exhibition out according to loose themes (including Super-Humans, Visions and Fables), the enjoyably stark contrast between the old and the new is made even more apparent, but so, too, is the underlying current that ties all the works together whatever the decade of their creation: the power of the imagination is not something to be underestimated.