Friday, November 03, 2006

Nothing could prepare me for this piece of 'news'

Courtesy of IMDb's 'StudioBriefing'

'Flushed Away': No Feat of Clay

Although numerous reports have referred to the upcoming Flushed Away from Aardman Features as a "claymation" movie -- that is, one using Plasticene figures and stop-frame photography like the company's previous Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit -- it now turns out that the characters in the feature were all created with computers. Today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times reported that the filmmakers wanted to keep "the same distinctive design aesthetic" of the original Aardman movies, but that they also wanted to open up the movie (to show the Paris sewer system, for example). Aardman director David Bowers told the newspaper, "If we had to do it in stop-frame, it would have been a much smaller and much dryer film, that's for sure."

No words can describe my horror of how stupid this article is, nor can they describe the sheer noises of frustration I made.

Monday, October 02, 2006

DVD Troubles

It has come to my attention in recent days, a gross misuse of DVD marketing.

The labelling of 'editions'.

As much as I hate VHS tapes they used the terms 'Special/Collector's Edition' wisely. These days it's commonplace to refer to a bog-standard 1 or 2 DVD title with 'Special' edition. This is incredible as it's usually the only edition available, rendering it pretty average. But the bigger of the two crimes are the 'Collector's Edition' titles.

The only actual 'Collector's Edition' DVDs that should be called so are the ones that actually COME with shirts/prints/booklets. That shit is what people trade their life savings for on eBay. Adding in a commentary or two and a leaflet from your friendly neighbourhood DVD shop hardly cuts it for the fans. Go back to making 'Special' titles. For example, I don't think I could possibly know of anyone who would be proud of wanting this as a collector's item:

Honestly, I didn't make this shit up. It's a real DVD.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Now that's what i'm talkin'bout!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ANIMATION REVIEW - Help! I'm A Fish (2000)

Directors: Stephan Fjeldmark, Michael Hegner, Greg Manwaring.

Possibly the most straightforward title for an animated feature we'll ever see.

I saw parts of this on TV a month ago, and didn't think much of it. Though I felt I had to give it a second chance, and review the DVD (because the name kept haunting me).

First things first, Help! Is a Danish 2D animated feature. The US/UK cut is the usual redub of Canadian/American/British voice talent to rope the audiences in. This last fact alarmed me when I saw the name 'Alan Rickman' on it. Anything with Rickman means he will have the most screen time because he has..... to..... annunciate.... every.... last.... word.

The Plot

Three children, Fly (the cool kid), Stella (his younger sister) and cousin Chuck (fat nerd without the comedy aspect) go fishing and accidentally discover the labs of eccentric professor MacKrill. He shows them a potion to turn people into fish, and how to make an antidote (which must be taken within 48 hours). After a set of 'bizarre and wacky circumstances', they all end up as fish (a flyfish, starfish and jellyfish respectively), set loose into the ocean. There they must deal with finding the antidote and a troublesome fishy dictatorship.

The Look

The only thing people ever wanted to mention about this film when I asked was: 'It has a very nice intro.' They weren't kidding. A fantastic series of shots passing through some brilliantly rendered marine life. It's almost a shame it's the best part of the film, because the spectacular toonshading on the fish should have set the standard for the rest of the CG fish in the film. Alas, after the intro all of the non-effects computer animation is sub-par.

It goes from this:

To this:

The 2D animation is one of the strong points for the feature. The characters are interesting to look at, and are drawn so that they have soft body mass, instead of rock-hard anime standing still bodies. The timing ranges from pretty snappy to quick & smooth, which keeps interest going. Luckily no sign of human character rotoscoping, so it all looks fluid on either ones or twos.

Colour design is fun and appropriate for all settings, which is also helped by some creative camera angles and lens-emulation.

The Script and Sound

The film runs a little short at 78 minutes. Seeing as the plot isn't very complex, it doesn't require much time to set up. The script is fairly competant for such a short film, so no worries with dialogue really. However, there are some mind-blowingly large gaps in plot, such as how Joe (the dictator) managed to set up an underground lair, army, and transportation system in less than a day (in a film set around 48 hours). Though these things will fly over the kids' heads, so I guess they could justify letting that chunk slip.

It does seem odd that all-American children seem to have Canadian parents, but most Europeans can't tell the difference.

If you can withstand the style of European pop music, then this film is for you. There's plenty of it. I guess we should be lucky, as they didn't re-write the music with some even worse American/Brtish pop teams.


Despite running short and just not being as good after the intro, it's still a fairly entertaining watch. In this case, less film equals more animation. This one's more for kids and marine life enthusiasts. I give it a B- because of how good that intro is.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What the hell went wrong with entertainment this time?

Marvel Babies, I shit you not.

Full story by Jim Hill Media here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pee-Wee's Playhouse and classic cartoons

It had occured to me recently that the classic cartoons edited into various episodes of Pee-Wee's Playhouse never had any official listing or credits. It was also around this time that by chance, ReFrederator started releasing public domain prints of Golden Age shorts, some of which were chosen to be in the Playhouse. I started to look these up, so that a proper list could be added to something like Wikipedia. Here is a rough version of what i've managed to find so far.

*note* Some episodes used chunks from the same shorts, just at different parts.

01: Fresh Vegetable Mystery (1939)
02: Ants in the Plants (1940)
03: Unkown
04: Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! (1931)
05: Unkown
06: Goldilocks and The Three Bears (1939)
07: Molly Moo-Cow and the Butterflies (1935)
08: Unkown (Flip the Frog)
09: Jack Frost
10: Mary's Little Lamb
11: Somewhere in Dreamland
12: Smile, Darn Ya, Smile
13: Bunny Mooning
14: Phillips Broadcast of 1938
15: To Spring
16: Makin' Em Move
17: The Sunshine Makers
18: Tom & Jerry - Piano Tooners
19: Phillips Broadcast of 1938
20: Unknown
21: Unknown
22: Ship of the Ether (aka Ether Ship)
23: Unknown
24: Farm Foolery
Xmas Special: Christmas Comes But Once a Year
25: An Elephant Never Forgets
26: Hunky and Spunky
27: The Stork Market
28: Spring Song (no king)
29: To Spring
30: (no cartoon)
31: Unkown (no king)
32: Song of the Birds
33: (no cartoon)
34: Little Lambkins
35: (no cartoon)
36: One More Time
37: Farm Frolics
38: The Little Red Hen (no king)
39a: College Capers
39b: Humpty Dumpty
40: Fin and Catt
41a: Unkown (Joop Geesink Dollywood production)
41b: Sinkin' in the Bathtub (1930) (no king)
42: College Capers
43a: Unknown
43b: Balloon Land (no king)
44: (no cartoon)
45: (no cartoon)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dear 'Political Correctness' Campaigners,

Please stop trying to protect children from your own inability to bring up them up properly. You've done more than enough damage to animation history, for the sake of making yourselves even worse parents.

With love,
The World.