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"When I hear 2D animators today talking about acting in hand-drawn cartoons, I ask, what kind of acting? Are you talking about the old fashioned acting that animators have always done? You know… the hand on the hip, finger-pointing, broad action, lots of overlapping action, screeching to a halt--all that turn-of-the-century old fashioned mime stuff. Is that what you’re talking about?"
Ralph Bakshi, referring to this type of acting, although in a context that discourages its use.

An animation style, exemplified by the Disney Animated Canon and hence generally considered Disneyesque, which is characterized by a kind of fluid body language and facial expressions that feature realistic poses and movements which are, however, executed in an exaggerated manner, very expressive, often with sweeping gestures of the arms and hands. Characters act and emote not primarily with their faces but at least as much with their arms, hands and legs and move smoothly from one overly expressive pose to the next. In between poses, there's a notable acceleration and subsequent deceleration of the emoting limbs or facial features, making even small gestures and changes in stance or facial expression feel very pronounced and reminiscent of pantomime. Because of the accelerating and decelerating that occurs in every movement, those movements can take rather long and can hence feel a little like Slow Motion.

This animation style can focus on the poses (and have the characters zip from one pose to the next) or on the movements (drawing them out and never quite stopping) to distinguish between emotional states or different characters.

Note that Hamming it Large 101 is a required class at Disney School of Acting and Mime - after all, gesturing plentifully is a great way to convey emotion silently. The realistic but overblown movements hark back to Silent Film and Vaudeville when actors had to emote more visibly. The style is rooted in visual realism while many younger animated works (after the migration of cartoons from film to TV) are more stylized and hence easier and cheaper to animate as not the whole body of a character has to move from one frame to the next. This also sets this style apart from Anime.

Recent movies like Tangled manage to transpose the style, which is largely associated with 2D animation, into CGI.

Historically, this often went together with Mickey Mousing, accentuating a character's body language even further.

Also see The Twelve Principles of Animation.

Examples of Disney School of Acting and Mime include:

Please don't list individual examples if they belong to a larger group of works that use this style (list that larger group instead)!


  1. Interesting because the other company involved in the games, Square Enix, averts it.
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