Many visitors to the Temple have been leaving great comments and asking great questions. Some address the problem of "too much dialogue" in recent animated films. This also seems to be a hot topic on other animation websites these days.
It's true that film is primarily a visual medium. The stage play is usually considered the place where dialogue is allowed to tell the story, but in movies - and particularly in animated movies - the storytelling is supposed to be done through the visuals.
As I said in the comments - and I fervently believe - any good movie can be watched with the sound off and still be understood completely. That's why they say "show, don't tell" - the visuals should tell the story and the visuals alone. People retain what they see so much better than what they're told. And what we see has a much greater impact on us than what we hear.
That said...someone pointed out to me the other day that Pixar movies tend to have a lot of - gasp! - dialogue. I haven't sat down and counted the lines in a Pixar movie but this strikes me as probably true. But they don't FEEL talky. And yet so many other animated films do feel that way, and probably have around the same amount of dialogue. So what gives?
I think it's because Pixar movies use dialogue in the right way. I once read that everything in a movie should either:
A) Reveal Character or
B) Advance the Plot
That's it. That's for visuals or dialogue or events. Anything that happens, is seen or heard in a movie has to fulfill one of those two objectives. In my book anyway.
Here's why other movies feel so talky: they don't ascribe to the above credo, and they add a ton of dialogue to do this:
C) have characters make wisecracks and spit out one-liners so people will think the film is funny.
That's why those movies feel talky: they're filled with annoying wise-cracking characters that get on your nerves. WIsecracks are the bread-and-butter of tedious sitcoms, not good movies. TRUE HUMOR COMES FROM ENTERTAINING CHARACTERS. Not wisecracks. When you think of Woody, Buzz, Marlin or Dory do you think "Oh yeah, remember that time Woody 'zinged' Buzz with that sarcastic insult"?
No. Woody, Buzz, Marlin and Dory are all entertaining character types, who approach life in an entertaining way and get into situations that allow their character to come out. And since they're great three-dimensional character and not a cardboard sitcom character (sorry, Webster) you enjoy watching them get into great situations and watching them suffer and get themselves out of trouble.
Even great sitcoms do this. The sitcoms that live on - think "Seinfeld" - is all based on great characters thrown into entertaining situations. Not wisecracks. Nobody's lining up to buy "Webster" on DVD but the "Seinfeld" ones are selling like hotcakes.
Here's the acid test for bad dialogue in pages - look at the lines on the page. If you covered up the names of all the characters and just looked at the dialogue, could you still tell who was saying what? In other words, every line of dialogue should feel like it could only come from one character - then it fulfills requirement A) above. And if it could have come from anybody...chances are, it's another wisecrack, or pop-culture reference, or "zinger" - all the crutches unimaginative writers fall back on.
Man, I just sat down and blurted this post out, totally unintentionally - I was gonna take a night off! I don't mean to be so virulent but this topic is a passionate one to me. And I had no idea when I started writing that I was gonna slam "Webster" - twice! I hope that guy that played Webster doesn't read this site.