A film that is totally strange to us means we can’t relate to any of the characters, we can’t recognize how the world works, and the storyline feels convoluted. A movie that is completely familiar lacks anything interesting. We don’t care that John Doe gets up every morning at a quarter till 8 and downs a coffee. We already know what a day at college or at the office looks like. What makes a film great is being able to relate to the characters, seeing them do those familiar things, but at the same time seeing that they aren’t quite like us. They have funny mannerisms, personal weaknesses, conflicts to overcome, goals and dreams that we may not share. But we do know what it is like to have a dream. And we know how difficult it can be to try to achieve it.
That’s one scenario. It’s an example of how stories reflect both the real world and the imaginative one. Imaginative films make us curious. Relatable films make us cry. Or laugh. Or grow angry. These emotions, and so many more, can be conveyed through any medium. But there is something special about animation that makes us love it in its own way, perhaps for some of us even more than live-action. That may be because animation inherently does not look realistic. It is a stylization. It is not just another way of expressing the same kind of story as through live-action. It is the lens through which we see the film – and therefore it affects everything we see in it.