Filmspotting Forum

Filmspotting Message Boards => Marathons => Topic started by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 18, 2016, 12:59:13 PM

Title: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 18, 2016, 12:59:13 PM
I'm going to do my typical thing of starting way too many projects at once. This project I envision is a much more long-term project with more depth to it than most of my stuff. I've got a good idea for a starting-point and once you see what I hope will be the final analysis, it'll make some more sense. I'm still researching the scope of this, so if there's something you think I should add, let me know and I'll consider it.

Directors
Ralph Bakshi
Sylvain Chomet
Mamoru Hosoda
Satoshi Kon
Rene Laloux
Pre-Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki
Tomm Moore
Martin Rosen
Makoto Shinkai
Matt Stone & Trey Parker

Disney
Silly Symphonies (1923-39)
Golden Age
Dark Age
Renaissance
Second Dark Age
Computer Animated
Revival

Studios
Aradman
DreamWorks
Fleischer Studios
Laika
Studio Ghibli
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Corndog on July 18, 2016, 01:41:16 PM
I assembled this list at one point, based on a similar idea. Some of the titles may help:

Blue Sky Studios                  
Ice Age   
Robots   
Ice Age: The Meltdown      
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!   
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs   
Rio   
Ice Age: Continental Drift         
Epic      
Rio 2      
The Peanuts Movie      
Ice Age: Collision Course
   
DreamWorks Animation               
Antz   
The Prince of Egypt      
The Road to El Dorado      
Chicken Run      
Shrek      
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron      
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas      
Shrek 2      
Shark Tale   
Madagascar   
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit   
Over the Hedge      
Flushed Away   
Shrek the Third   
Bee Movie         
Kung Fu Panda   
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa      
Monsters vs. Aliens   
How to Train Your Dragon      
Shrek Forever After   
Megamind   
Kung Fu Panda 2   
Puss in Boots   
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted      
Rise of the Guardians      
The Croods   
Turbo      
Mr. Peadbody and Sherman   
How to Train Your Dragon 2   
Penguins of Madagascar   
Home   
Kung Fu Panda 3      
Trolls         

Pixar Animation Studios               
Toy Story   
A Bug's Life   
Toy Story 2      
Monsters, Inc.      
Finding Nemo   
The Incredibles      
Cars   
Ratatouille   
WALL-E   
Up      
Toy Story 3   
Cars 2   
Brave   
Monsters University   
Inside Out      
The Good Dinosaur   
Finding Dory   
Cars 3
Coco         
Toy Story 4         
The Incredibles 2
         
Laika               
Coraline      
ParaNorman      
The Boxtrolls   
Kubo and the Two Strings
         
Illumination Entertainment                  
Despicable Me      
Hop      
The Lorax      
Despicable Me 2      
Minions      
The Secret Life of Pets      
Sing   
      
Miscellaneous               
The Adventures of Prince Achmed   
The Story of the Fox   
Gulliver's Travels      
Mr. Bug Goes to Town   
The Emperor's Nightingale      
Animal Farm      
The Fabulous World of Jules Verne      
Gay Purr-ee      
Mad Monster Party?   
Asterix and Cleopatra      
The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun      
Yellow Submarine   
A Boy Named Charlie Brown   
One Thousand and One Nights      
The Phantom Tollbooth      
Fritz the Cat   
Snoopy Come Home      
The Fantastic Planet   
Charlotte's Web      
The Hunchbacked Horse      
Pinchcliffe Grand Prix      
Coonskin   
Allegro non troppo      
Watership Down      
The Lord of the Rings   
The Bugs Bunny/Road-Runner Movie      
Nazha Conquers the Dragon King      
The King and the Mockingbird      
Son of the White Mare      
Heavy Metal      
American Pop      
The Secret of NIMH   
The Last Unicorn      
The Plague Dogs   
Rock & Rule      
Fire and Ice      
The Adventures of Mark Twain   
Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Express   
An American Tail   
When the Wind Blows      
The Transformers: The Movie      
The Brave Little Toaster      
The Land Before Time   
Alice   
Akira
All Dogs Go to Heaven      
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West   
Rock-A-Doodle      
Bebe's Kids   
FernGully: The Last Rainforest   
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb      
The Thief and the Cobbler      
The Nightmare Before Christmas   
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm      
Jubei Ninpocho: The Wind Ninja Chronicles      
A Troll in Central Park   
Thumbelina      
The Swan Princess      
Ghost in the Shell      
Memories      
James and the Giant Peach   
Beavis and Butt-Head Do America   
Perfect Blue   
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion      
Anastasia      
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut      
The Iron Giant      
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker   
Titan A.E.   
My Life as McDull   
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius      
Millennium Actress   
Waking Life   
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within   
Metropolis
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie      
The Powerpuff Girls Movie   
Interstalla 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem   
The Triplets of Belleville      
Tokyo Godfathers      
Team America: World Police      
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence   
The Polar Express   
Mind Game   
The Girl Who Lept Through Time      
Azur & Asmar: The Prince's Quest      
A Scanner Darkly      
Happy Feet   
5 Centimeters Per Second   
Persepolis   
Idiots and Angels   
Sita Sings the Blues   
Waltz with Bashir      
The Sky Crawlers   
The Secret of Kells      
Fantastic Mr. Fox   
Mary and Max   
A Christmas Carol      
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance      
Summer Wars   
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs      
The Illusionist   
Happy Feet Two   
Rango
The Congress   
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      
Song of the Sea   
The Lego Movie   
April and the Extraordinary World   
The Boy and the Beast   
Storks         
The Lego Batman Movie            
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 18, 2016, 01:44:33 PM
Ooo, thanks. That does help.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: filmnoter on July 18, 2016, 02:15:05 PM
Corndog listed some of the works by some of these animators:

Bill Plympton
Jan Svankmajer
Jiri Trnka
Jiri Barta
Norman McLaren
Grant Munro
Adam Elliot
Pes
Michel Gondry(?)
Jim Henson
John and Faith Hubley
Terry Gilliam
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 19, 2016, 03:57:07 PM
Well, the first one I planed on doing is contingent on me getting a book that doesn't release till September. Time to switch gears.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on July 19, 2016, 04:50:38 PM
I'll add Longway North to the "Miscellaneous" category. And let's add The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, since Corndog has Asterix and Cleopatra in there and those two are always competing for the title of best Asterix animation film.

Also : The Little Prince (Mark Osborne, 2015), is pretty good and mixes Pixar-style 3D with stop-motion rather nicely.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 19, 2016, 06:46:38 PM
I'm really looking forward to The Little Prince. Netflix is releasing it in America in a month or two, I think.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 28, 2016, 10:20:35 AM
Millennium Actress (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15297) (2001)

(http://i.imgur.com/57azUn7.jpg)

Life is a pursuit. To pursue something is to run after it, to take up the chase, to run. Millennium Actress is a race. It’s about the girl who runs.The film’s short runtime is deceptive given the span of time and the flow of ideas that the film pursues. It’s not simply about the girl who runs, but about the journey and pursuit that makes a life full, vibrant, and wondrous.

The film opens with a woman and a man outside a spaceship. The woman says she must go to pursue a man. Right as the action begins, the scene pulls back to show this is a film being watched by Genya (Shozo Izuka). And, at the moment of takeoff as the engines roar, the building shakes from an earthquake. This is the first of many misdirect and tricks that blur the lines between reality and fiction.

(http://i.imgur.com/zXpZfGM.jpg)

The reality is a woman named Chiyoko Fujwara (Miyoko Shoji), a reclusive actress now in the autumn of life. Genya gets the rare opportunity to interview her and as she tells her life story, the film melds into scenes from her life and the films she makes. However, Genya often finds himself in moments of her life along with cameraman Kyoji Ida (Massya Onosaka). They’re initially observers, but Genya turns himself into an active participant.

The key moment in Chiyoko’s life is an early one where she bumps into a man on the run from the authorities. The rest of her life will be a pursuit of this man, a journey that takes her to another country and a life spent running. And the characters of her films often are caught in a similar pursuit, making her performances from the heart.

(http://i.imgur.com/8HBMSp7.jpg)

As this story unfolds, images race by, scenes roll like the train Chiyoko chases after. The frantic style of director Satoshi Kon and editor Satoshi Terauchi causes things to blur together, not in the sense of blurry images, but that scenes often roll and fold into each other in unexpected and interesting ways.

It’s here where the film takes advantage of animation, crafting transitions and cuts that would be difficult, if not impossible, with live-action film. It’s not simply matching the moment, but effortlessly blending images into each other, creating an organic transition that makes it hard to pinpoint where one moment ends and the other begins.

(http://i.imgur.com/wrSWKLI.png)

All this makes for a film where reality and fiction blend together. Here, art imitates life and the fictional stories fuel and drive Chiyoko’s pursuit. It’s a validation of the worth of art and how real-world experiences can fuel the performance in art. And where art ends and real-life begins is uncertain and complicated.

This affirms art as something integral to life, as much a part of who someone is as the defining moments experienced in life. Art is part of the race of life and often reflects our deepest longings and captures the pursuit that drives us forward. To live is to pursue. And art is part of the pursuit.

Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on August 10, 2016, 01:50:54 PM
Tokyo Godfathers (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15325) (2003)

(http://i.imgur.com/3BR6EPV.jpg)

Tokyo Godfathers opens with Christmas mass. The Tokyo congregation is not made up of finely dressed churchgoers, but a ragged group of homeless people. Amidst the throng of people are Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki) and Gin (Toru Emori). As the two wait in line, Hana bemoans that he’s a woman trapped in a male body and wonders if he might become the virgin Marry and conceive without sex. When he tells the server he’s eating for two, the shock is palpable. The duo returns to Miyuki (Aya Okamoto), a spunky teen with a chip on her shoulder.

Like the Christmas story, the lives of these homeless people are interrupted by an infant. Instead of a manger, it’s a pile of trash where the pair find the infant child. The trio decides to search for the child’s parents. Unbeknownst to them, this begins a journey of forgiveness and redemption that perfectly captures the rich hope of the birth of baby Jesus.

(http://i.imgur.com/LKPIGjF.jpg)

As they search for the parents, the journey forces all three characters to face the sins of their past. This takes the form of the characters’ facing people from their past that they have harmed or wronged. What they learn is that these characters have already forgiven them and they only need to accept that forgiveness and forgive themselves.

Therefore, the lack of forgiveness is not in the individual wronged, but comes from a deeper source. All of the characters are unable to forgive themselves for what they’ve done. They recognize the obscenity of what they’ve committed and it’s ultimately that within themselves that they need to address, not the external affirmation or approval of those they’ve wronged.

(http://i.imgur.com/jYXkBoo.png)

But this journey is not just a story of forgiveness, but one of salvation. Throughout the film, the characters encounter circumstances and situations in which they either need to save someone or they are saved by someone else. There’s the fat man stuck under the car, the hitman at the party, and the prostitutes from Hana’s old club. All these encounters recognize the need for a deeper salvation and some force behind it all that is forcing these characters to come face to face with a cosmic fate.

But it’s not always people that provide this salvation. The final act builds to an interesting climax. The resolution is not any of the characters saving the day, but a magnificent deus ex machina that defies reason or logic. It’s an act of God, the divine descending into the affairs of men, that ultimately saves the day.

(http://i.imgur.com/FdOAPII.jpg)

As a work of animation, Tokyo Godfathers is notable for a few things. The first is its use of expressive faces. While this is the most realistically animated of Satoshi Kon’s films, he often uses performances of faces that simply would not work in live action. These expressions are almost always to enhance the comical elements of the film.

Another easy to overlook feature of the animation is the constant snowing in Tokyo. It rarely snows in Tokyo and when it does it’s only for a few days and there’s not much of it. But in animation, weather is controlled by the whims of the artist, making Tokyo Godfathers into the mythical winter wonderland that is Christmastime.

(http://i.imgur.com/12X4q1t.jpg)

The final strong element of animation is the character of Hana. His gender duality creates for a fascinating feat of animation. While Hana often gives hand expressions of a woman, his walk is that of a man. When he runs, his hands might be flailing about like a woman in distress, his steps are long, masculine strides. While an actor certainly could have learned to perform this way, animation sells the effect with a lot less effort.

All together, these elements make the film a beautiful portrait of the hope and healing of the Christmas season. As the virgin snow falls down on the dregs of society, hope arrives in the form of a child. Love and forgiveness mingle in a series of orchestrated events that weave all things together. Christmas miracles are real.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on August 10, 2016, 04:22:53 PM
Because my opinion of his other two films on rewatches haven't changed, I'll present the old reviews of those films here:

Perfect Blue (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=9060) (1997)

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue-materialwoman.jpg?w=300)

At the intersection of femininity, sexuality and the entertainment industry, Perfect Blue launches a social critique at all three systems which enable misogynistic practice. It engages with these issues in a shockingly frank manner, making it essential to approach the film with a sharp, critical eye and an important understanding of how images, ideas and events are contextualized, contained and controlled in order to produce meaningful critiques.

The film follows the story of Mima (Junko Iwao), lead singer of the Pop band CHAM, which she decides to leave in order to pursue a more prestigious and serious career as an actress. However, giving up her cutesy, schoolgirl image opens her up to be reinvented and ultimately exploited by the industry. As she quickly finds herself unable to control her new life, she’s haunted by the still complicated, but relatively tame, image of her past life.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue-familiar.jpg?w=300)

On a literal level, the film examines the issues of sexual exploitation of women, the fact that it’s near impossible for Mima to get her break without agreeing to give up her image to unsavory and highly sexualized depictions. While it’s rationalized as “artistic” and “serious,” Mima knows these are just lies, masks to publicly cover the shame and degradation that overrides her true feelings for these images.

This levels a critique against the industry system, one in which the only way for Mima to reconstruct herself and be taken seriously as a woman is to craft an explicitly sexual image of herself. This reflect a broader critique of societal views of femininity, one in which a woman can only be empowered through being sexualized.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue.png?w=300)

It’s a critique that begins with her time in CHAM. While her outfit is cute and childish, it also opens her up to being sexualized by the audience, a point made explicit in a POV shot where one of the guards at an event reaches out as if to grasp her with his hands. Therefore, while not coded as strongly exploitative as later images of Mima, it still reflects a societal norm that for a women to publically perform is to open herself up to being objectified and sexualized.

This guard also shows up later in order to emphasize that the sexualization is not simply an issue on the level of explicit content. His almost prepubescent fascination with CHAM is a guise to an envy of anyone else sexualizing and obsessing over this woman. This “safe” sexualization allows for a much more subtle, intrusive and troubling from of image obsession.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue-blood.jpg?w=300)

Walking a fine line between depicting these misogynistic practices and avoiding being implicated in them, the medium of animation allows Perfect Blue to stylize the film and push the content in such a way to do justice to some grizzly and revolting subjects while gaining some much needed distance and dissonance from the overwhelming nature of the images.

The images are so explicit, that if shot with a real actress, it’s likely the film would have been surrounded with so much controversy and censorship pressures that it wouldn’t have gotten a theatrical release. If these images are so explicit, one might ask what the point of them is. On basic level, the visceral effect is important to both the emotional and psychological effect that the film is trying to achieve.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue-used.jpg?w=300)

Also, the images are explicitly contextualized and presented in such a way to make their intent clear. Dissonant music, a particular framing of certain imagery as well as the narrative or psychological frame in which the scenes are contextualize code all these images as negative and exploitative.

Perfect Blue is a complicated, mature look at a charged subject. While it makes some explicit points, it does it through highly-charged and complicated imagery, presenting with frankness the objects of its critique. And like a truly rich and deep film, this is only one facet of the complicated and compelling elements that make Perfect Blue a powerful and effective film.



Paprika (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=9084) (2006)

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/paprika-reflections.jpg?w=300)

Let’s get one thing straight, Inception didn’t rip off, pay homage to or draw from Paprika. Yes, they share the same high-concept of people interacting with each other in collective dreams, but there are two distinctly different and diametric approaches and understandings of how dream spaces work that make them two unique films. That being said, there are enough similarities to make the two serve as interesting companion pieces.

When the dream machine of a group of scientists is stolen, they find their device intended for psychotherapy has now been turned into a weapon that begins flooding the minds of those connected to the network to a particularly absurd and freaky dream by one of the patience they treated of a parade of bizarre creatures and objects. Chiba Atsuko (Megumi Hayashibara) attempts to hunt down the mind terrorist while her dream persona while her dream ego Paprika becomes involved in the life of Detective Kogawa Toshimi (Akio Ohtsuka).

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/paprika-frogs.jpg?w=300)

From the onset, Paprika uses dream space as a way to throw space, logic and science to the wind. Static images turn into objects that can be accessed in dream spaces, or windows that allow one to traverse through dream space quickly. And the parade becomes a form of surreal horror, filled with all manner of the absurd and fantastical. It’s a film with little creative constraint.

And I simultaneously admire and admonish the film for that. The results lead to all number of visually enticing sequences that demonstrate the psychological power film has at twisting our mind’s ability to make associations and connections, but it also leads to an anything goes attitude. In contrast to Inception where there’s a set of rules that correlate to dream space, Paprika lacks the structure of rules that allow there to be constraints which lead to compelling narrative conflicts.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/paprika-canbeanything.jpg?w=300)

It’s hard to have stakes when Paprika seems to be able to conjure up any number of solutions to a particular problem. If she can get just about any place through a few jumps through televisions and billboards and take an image of any item and turn it into something she can use, there’s no compelling limitations and control that allow the film to build meaningful structures of power which result in conflict.

The film tries to address this problem with Chiba being much feebler and out of control of the world in real life, and her detective work in trying to discover who stole the device is the most compelling part of the film, but by the end of the film she’s swept away as the character who must make the emotional growth while her dream ego Paprika gets to be conduit through which the film resolves the narrative conflict.

(http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/paprika-filmofdreams.png?w=300)

A more interesting exploration of dream space is Kongawa’s story. He’s a patient being treated by Paparika through his dreams and these dreams are a compelling exploration of the similarities between film and dreams. Roman Holiday, Tarzan and other films slip into Kongawa’s story as he tries to deal with his own personal inadequacies and deepest fears that  manifest themselves in his dream space.

In segments like this, Paparika is a fascinating exploration of dream space as both filmic and psychological. In this regard, it shares thematic similarities to Inception. But the film’s broader story and more cinematic spectacles demonstrate a lack of restraint that is simultaneously compelling and frustrating. As I’ve become disillusioned with Inception’s stifling control and constraint, Paprika is reminds me that the other extreme leads to bloated creativity, which, in turn, leads a film to implode in upon itself.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on August 11, 2016, 05:38:16 AM
This one is short and a bit of fun. Bill Plymton's 25 Ways to Quit Smoking (https://vimeo.com/138391129)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 26, 2016, 12:32:55 AM
I'd like to join in here, if that's cool. (If I'm breaking up your flow, let me know, and I'll move my posts to another thread.) I started working through all the Disney animated features a long time ago, and then started in on Studio Ghibli a little while ago. Picking up where I left off, my complete list of remaining titles looks like this:

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)
Victory Through Air Power (1943)
Animal Farm (1954) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13976.msg877412#msg877412)
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846751#msg846751)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13976.msg879377#msg879377)
Charlotte's Web (1973)
Pete's Dragon (1977) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13976.msg877896#msg877896)
Watership Down (1978)
Tale of Tales (1979)
The Black Cauldron (1985) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13976.msg873119#msg873119)
An American Tail (1986)
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Oliver & Company (1988)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
All Dogs Go to Heaven  (1989)
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Rock-a-Doodle (1991)
Aladdin (1992)
The Thief and the Cobbler (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Pom Poko (1994) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=4515.msg855689#msg855689)
Thumbelina (1994)
A Troll in Central Park (1994)
Pocahontas (1995)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Hercules (1997)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Anastasia (1997)
Perfect Blue (1997)
Mulan (1998)
A Bug's Life (1998)
Tarzan (1999)
Toy Story 2 (1999) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg858311#msg858311)
Fantasia 2000 (1999) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg858311#msg858311)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=4515.msg851938#msg851938)
The Iron Giant (1999) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg858311#msg858311)
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg847865#msg847865)
The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
Titan A.E. (2000)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Shrek (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
Shrek (2001)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Treasure Planet (2002)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Brother Bear (2003)
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
Home on the Range (2004)
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Mind Game (2004)
Chicken Little (2005)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
Enchanted (2007)
Ponyo (2008)
Waltz With Bashir (2008)
Sita Sings The Blues (2008)
Tangled (2010)
The Illusionist (2010)
Cars 2 (2011)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Rango (2011)
Wolf Children (2012)
Monsters University (2013)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
The Boy and the Beast (2015)
Anomalisa (2015)
Long Way North (2015) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg863493#msg863493)
Zootopia (2016) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg862927#msg862927)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846865#msg846865)
Moana (2016) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg863181#msg863181)
The Red Turtle (2016) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13976.msg864202#msg864202)
My Life as a Zucchini (2016) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14226.msg870213#msg870213)
The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg863943#msg863943)

78 films. I'd like to get through a third of them by the end of the year, but my reach always exceeds my grasp with these things. I have about sixteen separate marathons going on at once right now, but Animation overlaps with quite a few of them (e.g., Far East Brackets, Filmspots, Retro Filmspots), so maybe there's hope.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: 1SO on August 26, 2016, 12:53:55 AM
Trying to figure out why the photos in Sam's last post don't show.

http://cinemasights.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/perfectblue.png?w=300

could be that cinemasights pics are not embeddable. They need to go through Imgur. I thought perhaps 'w=300' contradicts the earlier code "[img width=400]" but that didn't fix it.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 26, 2016, 12:58:28 AM
They're not viewable here (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=9060) either, I suspect because cinemasights has been marked as private.

Quote
— 403: Access Denied —

This file requires authorization:

You must be logged in
and a member of this blog.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on August 26, 2016, 11:02:13 AM
Welcome, pix! The more the merrier!

And yea, the CinemaSights images don't work anymore.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 28, 2016, 06:25:32 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-01.jpg)

A Boy Named Charlie Brown  (Bill Melendez, 1969)

This is a weird little film. The beginning few scenes are the best, with Rod McKuen's title song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW-Qf1OMaEo#no) setting the perfect, leisurely tone of a lazy summer day; followed by Schoeder stealing the show as he goes over signs with Charlie at the pitcher's mound ("They're right. You do look kind of cute standing there."). The scene of Lucy, as Charlie's hired therapist, using a slideshow to illustrate his many flaws is one of the film's other really funny moments, along with Snoopy's always enjoyable mugging for the camera.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-02.jpg)

The Oscar-nominated score (did you know that this film lost an Oscar to the Beatles?!) is all over the place, from the heights of Vince Guaraldi's score and McKuen's aforementioned title song; to the middle ground of the spelling lesson "I Before E" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsIiQJZk3xE#no); to the depths of "Champion Charlie Brown" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBfgSlYU49Y#no). The non-original music is even more bizarre, with, on the one hand, the film's inclusion of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (https://youtu.be/VLASfUl_mAE?t=21#no) calling to mind The Parallax View; and, on the other hand, Schroeder's performance of Beethoven's "Pathetique Sonata" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF9jBqD3Dlw#no) providing the foundation for the all-too-rare sequence in the film where the animation is actually interesting.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-04.jpg)

Wikipedia's summary of the art design is spot-on, so I'll just quote it here at length:

Quote from: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_Named_Charlie_Brown#Production)
The film itself has moments where there is rotoscoping prevalent, as in the sequence when Snoopy skates, and bleached-out silhouettes of real hockey players are visible behind him. Some backgrounds have a pop art feel, similar to much animation of the late 1960s, as in "The Star-Spangled Banner" sequence, where the images are purposely chaotically edited, or the sequence where Schroeder plays Beethoven on his piano, which effects a surrealistic quality similar to Disney's Fantasia.

There also seems to be a strong Andy Warhol influence, wherein actual photographs appear to have been painted over in semi day-glo psychedelic colors (this is particularly evident during the film's closing credits). Melendez, who had previously worked with Bob Clampett on cartoons back in the 1940s, also uses garish colors in some sequences, which takes its cues from many Clampett backgrounds, particularly a Warner Bros. cartoon called The Big Snooze which was directed by Clampett and which Melendez had also worked on. Many backgrounds are also rendered in watercolor, or simple pen strokes, or fine lines, or sometimes all three at once. There are scenes where colors will change solidly and erratically, as witnessed by the Snoopy "Red Baron" sequence in the film. Perspective and horizon points are showcased in the "I Before E" scene. Split screen is also used to much effect in A Boy Named Charlie Brown, as well. But even with all these theatrical enhancements, at its core, the film still has the look and feel of many of the Peanuts television specials.

Last line bolded for emphasis. In general, I actually enjoy the simplicity of the aesthetic of the typical Peanuts specials, and I think it could be manageable even at feature length, but A Boy Named Charlie Brown is frustrating in being too faithful to the comic strip form. The film almost never gives us a a second angle on a given scene, making the film willfully two-dimension, in very limiting ways. The few times that we are granted a second perspective on a scene are downright liberating, reinforcing just how confining the general style is.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-05.jpg)

I wasn't expecting much of a story in this film, just a collection of scenes, loosely is strung together, so the focus on Charlie's trip to the National Spelling Bee was something of a welcome surprise ... to a point. The film gets caught in that middle ground where the main story arc is so flimsy that it'd be almost better to have no story at all. You could honestly watch this film at 2x and really not miss much, excect for whatever subliminal messages are buried in one sequence (I need to grab some screenshots after posting this review and figure out exactly how I've been brainwashed). The languid pacing is such a jolting contrast to Keaton films I've been watching, many of which I wanted to watch at half speed to appreciate everything that's going on.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-03.jpg)

The film really could have used doses of Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Woodstock. I'm not hugely knowledgeable about Peanuts in general, but I definitely the absence of the full gang here. (Peppermint Patty appears in the film but doesn't say anything; regular Patty is one of the main characters, however. I'd forgotten there was a difference, which confused me.) Except for Schroeder, the kids are kind of irritating. Charlie Brown's "good grief!" misfortunes are nice in small doses, but he carries too much of the film and his neuroses wear out their welcome. Linus is appealing when he's being unexpectedly literate and worldly, but his separation anxiety from his blanket in the second half of the film is a one-note joke that quickly annoys. Lucy is just a horrible, horrible little brat. I hate her so much here, both as a person and as a character. She destroys the tone of the film whenever she's around.

All told, A Boy Named Charlie Brown is a decently pleasant film at best, but really not that exciting and ultimately disappointing — and certainly not worthy of this list (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9777.msg694214#msg694214).

Grade: C+

A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home are both available to stream on Hulu.

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 28, 2016, 07:12:14 PM
A Boy Named Charlie Brown  (Bill Melendez, 1969)

You could honestly watch this film at 2x and really not miss much, excect for whatever subliminal messages are buried in one sequence (I need to grab some screenshots after posting this review and figure out exactly how I've been brainwashed).

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-06.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-07.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-08.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-09.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-10.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ABoyNamedCharlieBrown-11.jpg)

SIDE ... BOND ... DEL RIO ... ??? ... What does it all mean?!? Am I a Manchurian Candidate now? Is Schroeder thinking about the cast of John Ford's The Fugitive while he plays?

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Junior on August 28, 2016, 07:24:30 PM
We'd have to do some CSI style zooming and enhancing to prove it, but those look like paper stock watermarks to me. Maybe those bits were illustrated on something quite different from the normal medium and it led to this bleed through?
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on August 28, 2016, 08:11:31 PM
I'm guessing you shouldn't go to any costume parties anytime soon, pix.

I'd need to watch more, but I feel like the '60s was a really interesting time for animation, cribbing a lot from pop art.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 30, 2016, 03:11:53 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/KuboandtheTwoStrings.jpg)

Kubo and the Two Strings  (Travis Knight, 2016)

I'm being ungenerous with the image I've chosen to accompany this review. Kubo is, at times, a fantastic-looking film. There's plenty of really impressive animation, especially in the long shots. If I'm being honest, though, the look of this style often doesn't always appeal to me at all. Many of the closeups generally put me in mind of, like, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Despite all the technological advancements that have come to pass since then, I still can't quite escape those more primitive connotations. During the hand-drawn animation of the end credits, I was like, "Ooh! Yes! More like this!" Maybe that's just my comfort zone.

I'd swear that Matthew McConaughey is doing a George Clooney impression (by way of Buzz Lightyear) in a role written for early 90s Jack Nicholson. The voice work is a little odd in general, with a lot of focus on the breaths between words. It's a weird touch, meant I think to add dramatic weight but for me just giving the film an off-kilter rhythm. I wanted the characters to express themselves a little more quickly and modernly — or else fully commit to dialogue befitting the Edo period (or whatever). The film feels caught between two worlds, in its setting and also its tone. The real dark moments of the story don't always have the appropriate ripple effects; the characters laugh off tragedy really quickly. The Legend of Korra sets the bar for me, in terms of those tricky balancing acts. Kubo falls short.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/KuboandtheTwoStrings-02.jpg)

My conscience forced me to go get this second image from the film, if only out of fairness. The awesome, V for Vendetta look of Kubo's villainous aunts showcases the film at its best. While the film is bit too theme-heavy for my tastes, I still always appreciate when any film strives to be epic, especially a nominal kids movie. The ambition of Kubo is extremely commendable; but the execution doesn't quite match.

Grade: C+

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Junior on August 31, 2016, 11:45:17 AM
I see where you're coming from on the McConafront. I didn't like him too much the first time through. Something clicked into place for me the second time, though. Maybe it was just that I knew what I was going to get from him and could therefore go with it more easily? He's certainly not the voice I would have thought for a Japanase folklore-ish tale. Theron, on the other hand, is spectacular from moment one. I saw it as a slightly kinder extension of her Furiosa role in Mad Max. She brings the intensity in a wonderful vocal performance, and the animation matches it very well. I think you're right in that the technology (they 3D print each individual face, I think) isn't quite there yet. Almost, but not quite. That being said, I really loved the eyes in this movie, though those might be done with computers. Anyways, sorry you didn't love it!
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on September 14, 2016, 07:24:57 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/Jin-RohTheWolfBrigade.jpg)

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade  (Okiura Hiroyuki, 1999)

Don't put any stock in this review. I'm pretty clearly just the wrong audience for Jin-Roh. It's probably no reflection on the film itself — a film which a lot of people seem to like, including all three Filmspotters who've watched it so far for the 1990s Far East Bracket (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=4514.0).

I just have issues. For one thing, I bore very quickly with animation that seems like it's just storyboards for a live-action film. I'd almost always prefer to watch the hypothetical live-action film. I'm partial to photography and real human faces. Now, if Jin-Roh were about a brigade of actual wolves (which it damn well should have been), then, yeah, animate the hell out of that sucker. But, alas, there are no true wolves in this movie. Just metaphorical ones.

And that's another issue I have. I have a very low tolerance for when characters in a film talk in the metaphors of the film's subtext. Jin-Roh incorporates the fable of Little Red Riding and the Big Bad Wolf in some cool ways ... at first. But the screenplay just goes further and further with the parallels, and the allegory starts infecting the characters' dialogue and, ugh, I just can't. Even all the needlessly confusing exposition about that various sects within the capital police force was more palatable than that.

The film that exists in my head — about an army of wolves fighting Nazi occupiers — is a Top 100 film for sure. But it doesn't exist. This other film is an impostor. A wolf in human's clothing.

Grade: C

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: smirnoff on September 14, 2016, 09:17:00 PM
What is your favourite animated film? I'm curious now.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on September 15, 2016, 12:15:22 AM
What is your favourite animated film? I'm curious now.

It's still Bambi. As for as features go, this list (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9777.msg694214#msg694214) is still pretty accurate, except for the inclusion of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, The Sword in the Stone, and South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut; and the absence of My Neighbor Totoro, Song of the Sea, and Wreck-It Ralph.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on October 15, 2016, 05:14:53 AM
I'll add Longway North to the "Miscellaneous" category. And let's add The Twelve Tasks of Astérix, since Corndog has Asterix and Cleopatra in there and those two are always competing for the title of best Asterix animation film.

Also : The Little Prince (Mark Osborne, 2015), is pretty good and mixes Pixar-style 3D with stop-motion rather nicely.

I second all of these. I would also add a few other French movies that I don't think were mentioned yet. Sadly, French movies are often left out of lists like this even though the country consistently produces great animation.

Astérix et le Domaine des Dieux
Michel Ocelot : Azur et Asmar and Kirikou et la Sorcière
Ernest et Célestine
Le Chat du Rabbin
Le Roi et l'Oiseau
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on October 15, 2016, 05:23:38 AM
I also second these oft overlooked movies and/or personal faves.

I assembled this list at one point, based on a similar idea. Some of the titles may help:
      
Miscellaneous               
Animal Farm      
The Lord of the Rings   
The Secret of NIMH   
The Land Before Time   
All Dogs Go to Heaven      
Rock-A-Doodle      
FernGully: The Last Rainforest   
The Nightmare Before Christmas   
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm      
The Swan Princess      
James and the Giant Peach   
Anastasia      
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker   
Titan A.E.   
Metropolis
Persepolis   
Fantastic Mr. Fox   
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance      
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs      
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      
The Lego Movie   


I took out the anime movies because they require previous knowledge of the series but the Evangelion Rebuild movie series stands on its own, so that I would recommend.

Congrats to Corndog for including thinks like The King and the Mockingbird in his list. I hadn't noticed it before. Top notch taste.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on January 01, 2017, 12:28:06 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/Fantasia2000.jpg)

Fantasia 2000  (Hendel Butoy & Don Hahn, 1999)

I could really could do without the live-action interludes, though I suspect I felt the same way after watching the 1940 film. I would much rather have had things hosted by Mickey, as the Sorceror's Apprentice, drawn in the original style, and let that be the link between the films, rather than recycling that segment. The new film ends on its best note, with the Stravinsky-inspired The Firebird being a worthy successor to Night on Bald Mountain / Ave Maria. The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Shostakovich) is the other real treat. The frozen, nonplussed look on the toy soldier's face every time he's in peril proves delightful time and time again; and the evilness and destruction of the jack-in-the-box surprised and appealed to me with its dark maturity. Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven with the whales) plays better in my head than it did live, due to the computer-generated imagery looking a bit primitive. A few of the musical choices struck me as somewhat uninspired, but Fantasia 2000 still managed to surpass my wary expectations.

Grade: B-



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TheIronGiant.jpg)

The Iron Giant  (Brad Bird, 1999)

I was a bit nervous to revisit The Iron Giant, but it's lost none of its appeal. Every shot of the giant against the landscape is magic, especially at the treetops. The animators do an especially impressive job imbuing him with character, despite his mostly being just a tower of metal. The subtle ways in which they draw a personality and even a soul out of that metal is a true highlight of the film. I find the atmosphere of the movie to be super appealing, like hot chocolate on a winter's day. The filmmakers' nostalgia for the period setting is irresistible. The backgrounds are all really nice, and the voice acting is top-notch. There are of course things I don't especially like (many of them involving Kent Mansley), but those seemingly obligatory moments, the script is great about taking its medicine and moving on as quickly as possible. The result is easily my favorite animated film of 1999.

Grade: B+



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/ToyStory2.jpg)

Toy Story 2  (John Lasseter, 1999)

It seemed a bad sign early on when a non-toy (Buster) emerged as my favorite character, but I still had a pleasant time with this sequel. As dogs go, Slink is pretty great is his own right, and a great example of what these films do best: animating the inanimate in the most joyous ways and rooting the solutions to the story's conflicts in the characters' innate abilities and characteristics. (Apparently, I said almost the exact same thing in my review (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=2536.msg93044#msg93044) of the first Toy Story.) But when the film goes broad — and most of the denouement is pretty broad — it's extra disappointing, because the specificity of the other moments is so good.

The toys working together to drive a car is handled much better than the parallel scene in Finding Dory, but it's still not an ideal solution to the problem of trying to follow Al, not in the context of this world and everything that's preceded that moment. In fact, the entire third act seems to anticipate what Charlie Kaufman does in his script for Adaptation. Toy Story 3 opens with an outlandish Buzz Lightyear adventure where peril piles upon peril in silly fashion, with nods towards old movie serials, video games, and the way children play with toys, their narrative unfettered by rules. By the third act, the film takes seriously what it playfully mocks in that opening, subjecting our characters from a series of false climaxes that are a hair's breadth away from being labeled arbitrary. It never falls to the level of being bad, but it doesn't necessarily excite me either.

Emotionally, my investment is the story peaked around the time of "When She Loved Me" and the serious and affecting themes of love and abandonment and loyalty and the risk/reward possibilities of any relationship ... but for me all that's thrown away when Woody decides to stay with the Roundup Gang. Even though he's kind of a jealous dick for much of the first film, I just can't accept the ease with which he forsakes not just Andy but also all of Andy's other toys, who are supposed to be Woody's friends and, in some respects, his charges. Your mileage may vary though, as 1SO's marathon attests (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12312.msg748049#msg748049).

Tom Hanks' voice work is no help in making me believe Woody's decision, partly because I almost never hear "Woody", just "Tom Hanks." Even without that metacinematic awareness, I found more than a few of his line readings to be particularly poor. The Bosom Buddies star gets out-acted by the Home Improvement star here, and that's just weird to me. And I hate the type-casting of Wayne Knight, playing another immorally greedy character in another T Rex movie.

Toy Story 3 remains my favorite of the Toy Story films, even though I'd forgotten how much Lotso's character is in some ways an uninspired recycling of Stinky Pete's.

Grade: B

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on January 01, 2017, 03:08:51 AM
Every time I hear Tom Hank's voice, I think, "Woody" ;)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 02, 2017, 08:19:48 AM
I liked TS 2 when I was a kid. I would like to be able to compare the entire trilogy properly sometime.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on January 02, 2017, 08:47:30 AM
Having rewatched them all in the past year (well, I actually hadn't seen 3), I'd say they're all pretty close, but with 2 and 3 a notch above the original. I'd say 3 is the best but I might say 2 tomorrow. Lotso is very similar to Stinky Pete, but I like him better actually, I'm not sure why. Maybe because Pete's evilness feels like a half-hearted twist, whereas Lotso seems obviously villainous from the start.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on January 30, 2017, 01:51:06 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/Zootopia.jpg)

Zootopia  (Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016)

I don't quite trust my critical faculties on this one. It seems like the kind of film that on another day could have left me totally numb — like, for example, The Lego Movie. I don't think those two films are all that dissimilar, really, so I'm questioning whether my positive reaction to Zootopia is largely a factor of my wanting so badly to like it.

One thing in the movie's favor is its fairly strong world building. I look forward to mañana's watching Zootopia and reporting back with a thoughtful essay on urban planning considerations in an interspecies society. What a challenge that would be, if our cities had to accommodate humans as tall as giraffes and as small as mice. The movie plays with this idea inventively in its first act, to good effect and with enough detail to merit a second viewing.

The other key aspect of this domesticated interspecies society are, of course, the parallels to racial and ethic divisions in human society. For the most part, the writing handles these themes thoughtfully and even admirably, though probably not in a way that would stand up to close analysis. It's a bit dangerous, for example, to suggest that racial divisions in humans are as distinct as different animals species. That's 18th century thinking that's cringe-worthy in the 21st century, at least to most viewers. I don't think the film really demands to be taken that seriously or presents an exact allegory, but it nonetheless toes a very tricky line. I might return to this below.

The character animation of Zootopia really appeals to me. There's kind of a clean unreality to the animals that's less suggestive of true wildlife than of plush animal toys — and that fits the world of the film nicely, evoking the evolved state of these creatures. The backgrounds are nicely animated as well, with the urban grid of the city and the waterfall at animal imprisonment site striking me as extra impressive. It's the interplay between the backgrounds and the characters that I found a bit wanting. As often seems to be the case with computer animation — exacerbated in films targeted for 3D release — the look of the film is often too planar, with foreground and background seeming like separate realities. At times it's a bit like watching puppet theater, but more distancing.

Animated films seem to be held to a lower standard when it comes to storytelling, and Zootopia meets that standard. The setup is wonderful, and at the end of act one, I'm excited to it all play out, like 48 Hours meets L.A. Confidential or Minority Report or some other conspiracy mystery. But then things keep getting degraded by a bunch of Screenwriters' Playbook stuff, like the arbitrary deadline and phony obstacles ("I'm not in the system yet!") and characters acting out of character just to be of service to the narrative and very trite plot points. Luckily, the plot is largely just an excuse to spend time in this world with these characters, exploring interesting themes, but a stronger story really could have elevated Zootopia to something special.

In the Filmspots, I actually would have given this film Ensemble Cast consideration, if only to reward the casting director for assembling of group of actors that fit the film without ever distracting from it. I didn't recognize a single voice in the entire movie and was shocked to see so many familiar names in the end credits. That's a great tribute to the film, even if I'm as bad with voices as I am with faces.

(Nit-pick, doing sit-ups while reading a book looks cool, but anyone who's ever done a sit-up knows this is visually impossible.)

Haha, I had that same reaction.

Also don't get her giving herself a ticket. I get the joke, but come on. Now her goody-goody side is going too far.

And this one as well. There were a few other moments like this where I felt like the film put Judy's character secondary to either humor or plot development, and I thought it was a mistake every time. By the end, she wasn't fully believable to me as a character because of the inconsistencies introduced along the way.

Here we get the full extent of Nick's con game and it's a doozy. So nice to see the writing extend Nick beyond a simple hustle into a full enterprise with a legal answer for everything. In contrast to Judy's honesty, what makes Nick likable is his ability to leave no opportunity unworked. Even his harsh reality check on Hopps' past in Bunnyburrow and future with the police makes the character likable because he's clearly very good at this. Now let's see him apply those skills against someone we don't like.

Yes to almost all of this, though I didn't quite like the initial interaction between Nick and Judy. I couldn't make sense of Nick's being there to buy a popsicle. He must buy one a day, right? Does he always find some other sucker to pay for it? Does he always go to places reluctant to serve foxes? Are there enough of those to go around? Just a few niggling quibbles like that that distracted me there. I much preferred seeing the full extent of the con, as you elaborate on above. That all worked great for me and cemented Nick as immensely likable, as aided by the character design and Bateman's voicework. (I hope Zootopia gets paired with The Fox and the Hound double features for the rest of eternity, so we children can see foxes as both prey and predator and grow up in a world without barriers.)

I agree about the voice casting of Nick's partner as well.

There's an odd bit of stereotyping, with a Jersey Shore, Italian shrew (named Fru Fru), shopping with her friends.

Idris Elba does a great job not being the typical angry police chief. He's gruff and it's nicely done in an animalistic way with grunts and pounding his hoof on the table. He's also openly racist towards Judy, who he would rather fire than let her be anything other than a meter maid.

I meant to discuss this type of thing in the heart of my review, in relation to the film's tricky allegorical footing. The casting of Idris Elba as the police chief falls into the same realm as the Fru Fru character, because for the past few decades, tv shows have made a habit of casting black actors and police chiefs and judges, which are leadership positions in the real world but falsely suggestive of progressive diversity in television, where those are supporting roles. It's too late to articulate this well, but what I mean to get at is the way the film often relies on stereotypes as shorthand to tell the story or for laughs (very typical things in animated films), somewhat undercutting its core message.

More tomorrow.

Grade: B

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: 1SO on January 30, 2017, 10:54:28 AM
Zootopia would probably get paired with Disney's Robin Hood, which also features a friendly relationship between predators and prey.


I understand what you're saying about Idris Elba better than I do about the interplay between background and character, especially when the filmmakers consciously use the depth of field for a 3D release. A shot like this...

(http://imgur.com/Z9qMNlB.jpg)

also, the chase in the Rainforest District, the asylum, the train sequence and the museum, all of these do a great job with depth of field, using the foreground and the background for interaction.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on January 30, 2017, 12:19:38 PM
Unfortunately, it's not something I can demonstrate with screenshots. The effect requires motion to be seen. I'll watch the trailer again later to see if there are examples there. It's definitely not an issue for the whole film (certainly not the sequences you cite), just certain stretches.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: 1SO on January 30, 2017, 01:19:19 PM
I see your point in general, but I don't think it applies so easily to Zootopia, which goes out of its way to place these characters into the unique world they built. To make your point, you can just use the screenshot you used, which has 3 characters (and a jumbo pop) all standing in a line. Just, like I said, I find that to be the exception in this case.

(http://imgur.com/NcN69Lb.jpg)

One of the most creative shots is the one above. Click and enlarge it. Notice the details, the sense of scale created by the narrow focus. It looks more like stop-motion and digital paint. This will go away as the chase progresses, but i like how it initially sets up the difference in sizes where Judy is now the large threat. The chase is very creative, playfully showing a wide range of ideas in this new district of Little Rodentia. The playful side of what animation can do.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 01:34:34 PM

Zootopia  (Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016)

I look forward to mañana's watching Zootopia and reporting back with a thoughtful essay on urban planning considerations in an interspecies society.

I will totally have this conversation with someone who'll play along.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 01:39:22 PM
Now you have me wonder about this movie with an elevated plot. Oh the possibilities...
Title: Re: Animation Education [Moana]
Post by: pixote on January 31, 2017, 10:42:48 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/Moana.jpg)

Moana  (Ron Clements & John Musker, 2016)

In my review of Zootopia above, I expressed doubt about whether the film earned my appreciation or whether I awarded it to the film unmerited, out of a predisposition to enjoy the movie. Watching Moana really cleared up my confusion for me, vividly reminding me of what the flaws I thought I might have overlooked in Zootopia actually look like.

I wish there existed a parallel world where Moana existed as a live-action film, with production values equal to what's on display in our world's animated version. I strongly suspect that the reviews would be drastically different, with the Metacritic score falling from around 80 to closer to 60.

Viewers just aren't nearly as accepting of this kind of slapdash storytelling in a live-action film. I don't really know why that is, but I'm going blame television. Growing up watching kids' tv, perhaps we surely learn to association animation with cartoons — and, by extension, cartoonishness.

Scooby Doo doesn't have to be plotted like a Sherlock Holmes story. It just needs the barest semblance of a mystery narrative so the Scooby has reason to get scared and run away with exaggerated sound effects but then get a little brave when he smells a Scooby Snack.

My thesis, which I just made up, is that we're conditioned at a young age to accept that level of storytelling as acceptable in animated entertainment. That's the only way I can explain normally demanding adult viewers being so accepting of a film in which the ocean — one of the most powerful forces on earth — ever so conveniently acts as fairy godmother to the main character whenever absolutely necessary at the same time that it's an obstacle in her quest, something she struggles to sail through.

That's just one example of many. Much of script feels like it was written extemporaneously by children playing make-believe — children with less storytelling sense than Andy displays in the Toy Story movies — and then rewritten by an adult who read the Cliff Notes of a Syd Field book and had the film's two heroes each refuse their quests TWICE, for good measure.

Moana's whole quest is weird, by the way. Grandma's basically telling her to run away from home, which is actually a tad creepy. But, whatever, she follows the stars in a boat she doesn't know how to sail and didn't stock with supplies and she almost drowns, but ... MAGIC. Then she finds the exiled demigod she's looking for but he's a murderous dick (let's root for him!) who is content to let her drown in the ocean but ... MAGIC! After some boring interplay between them, he reluctantly (dumb) agrees to go get his magic thingy back, and he's knows exactly where it is because ... REASONS! But his magic things doesn't quite work anymore because ... REASONS! Et cetera, et cetera, all the way through to the final stage of this rules-free video game, where the stage boss is as cool as the unexplained dei ex machina (yes, plural) are dumb.

It doesn't help that I don't like the character animation here. In general, I find attempts to animate humans in realistic fashion to be ill-advised, and that's certainly the case here. The plasticity of Moana is really-off putting. She's less human than doll come to life — something which works with the animals of Zootopia, but not with the humans here.

What little in Moana doesn't involve its human characters is actually pretty good. "How Far I'll Go" is a good enough song to hear three times, and "Shiny" is pretty good too, when separated from its context in the film. Heihei feels like a but of a retread of Becky from Finding Dory but is no less enjoyable for that comparison.

Grade: C-

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on February 01, 2017, 02:46:41 AM
It's not about it being animation, it's fantasy... It's a hero's journey, not a very original tale, but one that works for me. I agree that the Ocean is too much of an Deus Ex Machina, but it's such a small part of the film. I guess it's telling that most of your review is dedicated to the plot, which is by far the least important part of the film. I also disagree about the animation, as far as I'm concerned this is prett much the best 3D animation gets.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on February 01, 2017, 11:14:30 AM
I guess it's telling that most of your review is dedicated to the plot, which is by far the least important part of the film.

Plot and characters, really. I foregrounded them because I feel that the film itself does. I wish it didn't. I would have been happier with a more visual exploration of the world of the film, with more songs. I was actually quite surprised how little music there seemed to be. I was expecting something closer to a full-fledged musical.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on February 01, 2017, 11:25:24 AM
I guess it's telling that most of your review is dedicated to the plot, which is by far the least important part of the film.

Plot and characters, really. I foregrounded them because I feel that the film itself does. I wish it didn't. I would have been happier with a more visual exploration of the world of the film, with more songs. I was actually quite surprised how little music there seemed to be. I was expecting something closer to a full-fledged musical.

pixote

As much as I can see your points w/ regard to the plot, because familiarity with (and built-in affection for) that kind of narrative does go a long way in getting me to accept some pretty hand-wavey stuff, I really loved the characters. I found Moana to be easy to root for, vulnerable enough to be human but appropriately plucky, and Maui was just delightful. I'm curious what Disney movies you feel are more full-fledged musicals than this ? Looking at DH's polls, it doesn't look like Moana has less songs than most.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 01, 2017, 12:01:28 PM
I'm relevant.

I was surprised at the comparative amount of songs in Moana too. And if you compare its plot to other movies there is not that much of it. Mulan, which it is most often compared to, must have 50% more of it.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 01, 2017, 12:13:41 PM
Perhaps you are right, pix, in that I see Disney animated films as a sub-genre, a genre I generally appreciate, and so I look to a new film to fit that genre, but also to give me something new within it.  Moana fits that bill.  I feel that Moana is a better version of their genre than La La Land is of theirs.  I also think that Moana is a better version of the Disney animated film than Zootopia, although 1SO disagrees.  It is typical for a Disney film to be short, so it would have fewer songs than a "full-fledged" musical, but still have as many songs.   And actually, Moana and La La Land has as many official vocal songs (6 each), although La La Land is a half hour longer.

I think the characters are well developed in Moana, the songs are well written and produced.  The animation, especially the ocean is remarkably well done, creating a character from an entity that one would have though difficult to do.  While the morals aren't innovative, the hero's journey is well told and there are some surprises along the way.  For a genre movie, I think it does quite well.  For a movie, I really enjoyed myself and I can't wait to watch it again.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 01, 2017, 01:25:42 PM
I mean, I can see Moana not having the greatest narrative structure, but I've always took Disney films to be more fairy-tale like where you suspend some of that disbelief in the name of embracing the fantastical. I thought the central idea quite nice and liked that it basically lacks an antagonist. You're probably right that it wouldn't play as well live-action, but more because those fantastical elements wouldn't work as well as live action CGI.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on February 01, 2017, 05:29:02 PM
Heh, La La Land is an interesting point of reference, since in my review (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14178.msg858319#msg858319) of that film, I wrote that it wasn't a "a full-on movie musical" so much as "a romantic drama with musical elements." Perhaps my expectations of what a musical should be are just out of whack. I'll have to recalibrate in May. :)

I'm more baffled that everyone is so forgiving of Maui's willingness to leave Moana to drown in the middle of the ocean!

And I'm curious why people seem prefer Moana to Finding Dory. Dory, despite being a sequel, still managed to feel more original than Moana, with Dory's humor, heart, and characters being ultimately more entertaining than Moana's virtues (songs, culture). Granted, I think they're both fatally flawed and don't recommend either. Dory's convenient bouts of memory are more annoying than the ocean's convenient helpfulness in Moana, and Moana's ending (despite the ludicrous moments directly leading up to it) is probably more satisfying than the Looney Tunes escapes that culminate Dory.

So neither gets a passing grade from me, but I get the sense that most people prefer Moana significantly more. What sets them apart?

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sandy on February 01, 2017, 05:39:54 PM
I've managed to avoid both so far. :)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 01, 2017, 05:42:15 PM
Not every musical can be Phantom of the Paradise, pixote.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on February 01, 2017, 05:43:36 PM
Not every musical can be Phantom of the Paradise, pixote.

Damn, I swore I wouldn't cry today.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on February 01, 2017, 05:44:02 PM
Pixote : Moana and Finding Dory both suck, but Moana sucks the most.

Me : Moana and Finding Dory are both great, but Finding Dory less so.

Why are you so wrong ?  ;D
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on February 01, 2017, 05:45:12 PM
Why are you so wrong ?  ;D

Because I'm uneducated. Hence the need for this marathon!

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 01, 2017, 06:44:51 PM
This is precisely why I keep telling people they should just ask me what to think.

(Even though I agree with a lot of what you wrote.)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: 1SO on February 01, 2017, 07:08:14 PM
Moana is formulaic in its story, seen it so many times before. Dory is a complete mess of a plot, much more egregious. Dory's virtue is mostly likable characters. Moana has that plus the cultural details and a couple of memorable songs. Advantage Moana.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 02, 2017, 01:16:52 AM
Sandy: I think you would love Moana.  A girl seeking to save her community by leaving it?  C'mon.

pix: Maui leaving her in the middle of the ocean fits his character to a T.  Just because he's a narcissistic cad doesn't mean he isn't also likable and watchable and hilarious.   Since she has the entire ocean as her friend, it wasn't like she was in any danger.

1SO: Dory is also pretty similar to Nemo.  But the formula isn't a classic one, just similar enough for us to recognize the beats.  Moana's story is ancient, in our bones.  It resonates in my core.  (Like Kubo, which is also based on ancient tales)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 02, 2017, 05:49:07 AM
This all is just an indication to me that you all need to watch Long Way North. It is neither a shambles nor Disney-formulaic. Also Supersandian.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Teproc on February 02, 2017, 05:55:24 AM
Well, let's not overhype it either, the narrative is basically a Jules Verne adventure, it's not breaking new ground there. But it is very good.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 02, 2017, 06:20:49 AM
I never said it was non-formulaic..
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 02, 2017, 08:03:06 PM
I think you're going to be bummed at my review, DH.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sandy on February 02, 2017, 11:00:59 PM
Sandy: I think you would love Moana.  A girl seeking to save her community by leaving it?  C'mon.

Well, when you put it that way! :)

I'm sure I'll be buying the movie when it comes out next month, so I promise to give it a go then.
Title: Re: Animation Education [Moana]
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 02, 2017, 11:42:07 PM
I wish there existed a parallel world where Moana existed as a live-action film, with production values equal to what's on display in our world's animated version. I strongly suspect that the reviews would be drastically different, with the Metacritic score falling from around 80 to closer to 60.

Viewers just aren't nearly as accepting of this kind of slapdash storytelling in a live-action film.
If it was still clearly marketed as a family film it would get the same reviews, just look at The Jungle Book. The expectations are about audience not form. I enjoyed Moana in spite of its issues because I liked the characters, flaws and all, but I understand where you're coming from.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 03, 2017, 10:34:56 AM
I think you're going to be bummed at my review, DH.

Do you mean because it's going to be so great I will regret not having written anything about it?
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 03, 2017, 02:01:42 PM
That's exactly what I mean.  It is wonderful how you just cut through all the subtlety and get straight to the heart of every sentence, DH. ;)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 03, 2017, 02:53:21 PM
It is a gift I have been honing all my life by completely disregarding what people do mean to say.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 03, 2017, 07:23:13 PM
You're very good at it.  I can see you've practiced.
Title: Re: Animation Education [Long Way North]
Post by: pixote on February 03, 2017, 09:13:23 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/LongWayNorth.jpg)

Long Way North  (Rémi Chayé, 2015)

I'm seem to have misplaced my notes for this or only written them in my head, so this will be brief. Long Way North appealed to me more and more as it went on. It's a simple film, in both story and animation, and at times it's maybe  too simple for its own good, with no real bite or standout elements to draw the viewer in. But once Sasha, the young protagonist is on her own, first in the restaurant and then on the journey north, her overly familiar situation slowly proves irresistible, despite all the while remaining unassuming. It might never rise above the level of a nice film, but it's also never less than pleasant. I wish the animation had been a little more adventurous at times, but I admire the primal naturalness of the color palette and the intricacy with which the Lund's ship is rendered. There will always be a place in my heart for simple stories told simply and well, just like there will always be a place for polar bears, no matter their fate.

Grade: B

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 04, 2017, 05:21:46 AM
I cannot remember the last time I saw a pixote A so I will count that as a win. I like what you say about simple stories and the colour palette, although I wouldn't change the look of the movie, it is gorgeous enough as is.
Title: Re: Animation Education [The LEGO Batman Movie]
Post by: pixote on February 10, 2017, 08:10:31 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/TheLEGOBatmanMovie.jpg)

The LEGO Batman Movie  (Chris McKay, 2017)

I didn't care for the original LEGO movie, but I've always questioned my reaction to it. The positive reviews I heard from others afterwards were all pretty convincing, and the movie certainly had some very good aspects. I wondered whether I just saw it on the wrong day. But this new LEGO movie, despite the different creative talent involved, has put to rest my doubts. This style just isn't for me. (Apologies in advance to The Lego Ninjago Movie, as seen in the trailers of the Batman one.)

Hats off to LEGO, though. Their success with these tie-in video games and movies is just mind-boggling. Like, there's really no reason for this film to have involved LEGO at all. It could just have easily been just a silly, self-referential take on Batman, with very little lost. Some decent jokes come from the LEGO-brick basis of the world, and occasionally it informs the animation in a cool way — but for the most part I'm just like, why? I just don't get it, but I respect it.

As in the first film, there's definitely some good stuff scattered throughout the running time: the Batman-Joker relationship is a highlight, with their early "breakup" probably being the film's best moment, along with the scene pictured in the screenshot above. These quieter moments stand out because so much of the film is so loud, visually. To wit, it's one of the most annoyingly edited animated films I've ever seen. Like most of the film's style, it's better suited for a tv show where episodes are just twelve minutes in length. At 104 minutes, it's just exhausting.

If you imagine that Will Arnett's Batman is an inadvertent Donald Trump impression, things become considerably more entertaining.

Grade: C-

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education [The Red Turtle]
Post by: pixote on February 14, 2017, 07:08:49 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/TheRedTurtle.jpg)

The Red Turtle  (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2016)

There are no true spoilers in this review, but The Red Turtle is probably better enjoyed knowing as little as possible about it beforehand, so if you like animated films and/or contemplative myths, then I recommend you see the film before reading further.

The first things I noticed about The Red Turtle were flaws in its animation. In the early scenes, for example, the sense of scale between the protagonist and island backdrop seemed off. In one shot, he looks like a giant; in the next, a Borrower. And when the ocean wind ripples his clothes, the artwork goes too far in trying to capture the effect, and the result looks rather primitive. Stepping back from those details, though, the overall look of the film is pleasant and transportive, in simple fashion, almost like illustrations in a children's book. And if you're the kind of child who looked at books just for the pictures, you're in luck, for there are no words here. The film tells its story just through images, sound effects, and a subtly effective musical score. This approach transforms what probably would have been a rather unremarkable representation of a slight myth into something significantly more special. Therein lies the real virtue of the film: the way it quietly invites contemplation, presenting itself almost as fodder for daydreams.

Grade: B

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 18, 2017, 06:15:22 AM
Are Borrowers part of the lexicon in the US?
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on February 18, 2017, 10:47:47 AM
Are Borrowers part of the lexicon in the US?

Only as a set of books.  That few people have read.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on February 18, 2017, 12:01:11 PM
It seemed an appropriate reference for a Studio Ghibli review, given that Mary Harron's The Borrowers was adapted as The Secret World of Arrietty. Perhaps that's less common knowledge than I assumed.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 18, 2017, 01:16:51 PM
I knew that, I just wondered if most Americans knew that series. I never heard about it before reading about Arrietty post-watch.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 18, 2017, 02:57:19 PM
The Cat Returns (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15794) (2002)

(http://i.imgur.com/ntxIb5p.jpg)

What a bonkers film. One of the wonderful things about the animation medium is that it offers potential for all kinds of stories that would not work in a live-action setting. The Cat Returns is such a film, embroiled in so much absurdity and fantasy that it needs that wondrous disconnect from our reality.

Haru (Chizuru Ikewaki) is an average, unassuming high-schooler nervous about boys and a complete clutz. One day she saves a cat from being hit by a car and the cat turns out to not only talk, but to be Lune (Takayuki Yamada), prince of cats. For her act of bravery, he offers her his hand in marriage and due to a misunderstanding, he believes she accepts his proposal.

Yup. Bonkers. Haru thinks this is completely absurd but when cats start showing up and showering her with gifts, Haru has to saddle up and faces this problem. The film is self-aware enough to constantly prod at how absurd it all is, but it fully embraces the world and fantasy of a kingdom of cats and the weird politics of the cat world.

The film ties into Whisper of the Heart, but quite loosely and they exist on two ends of the extreme, Whisper being much more grounded than the fanciful outings of The Cat Returns. It might be Studio Ghibli’s most absurd film, an absolutely goofy outing played up for laughs.

(http://i.imgur.com/qQ1QdUS.jpg)

And that is to the film’s credit as the comedy makes it easier to buy into how absurd the whole thing is. Constant gags and pratfalls mixed in with a generally absurd idea make the whole piece work as an absurdist tale that isn’t supposed to be taken all that seriously.

The downside is that this might be the most inconsequential Ghibli film. It lacks the dramatic beats or emotional moments of most of their films. That’s not to say the film is simple or childish; far from it. There’s an elegance to this level of absurdity, just don’t expect an emotional payoff.

On the animation front, it doesn’t always hold up. Haru’s face often seems oversimplified, but once those fantasy elements drop in and the lush backgrounds enter the picture, there’s no doubting how gorgeous this film is. And it’s a film that works because of the animation, playing up the goofy bits and making them much more palatable than live-action ever could.

By the end, The Cat Returns is an endearing film, the kind of bizarre, absurd outing that could only exist in animation. It’s likely considered unimportant in Ghibli’s body of work, but it’s a reminder that not every film has to be a serious, emotionally investing affair. Sometimes films can be silly and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on April 18, 2017, 05:28:25 PM
While I wouldn't put it among Ghibli's best, I adore this film.  It is silly and the Baron is so charming and it doesn't overstay it's welcome.  Great stuff.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sandy on April 19, 2017, 03:07:26 PM
I saw this with oldkid's family at my first Filmspotter's meetup! Happy memories. :)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on April 19, 2017, 03:39:59 PM
How often do you guys do these meetups? I am jealous, I want to tell you you're wrong in person too...
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on April 19, 2017, 06:04:43 PM
I've met with Sandy... twice, I think?  When she drove up to Portland.  I met Bondo once when he came through town, and I met Ferris a few times, because he's just across the river from me.  Ferris and I saw Paris, Texas together and Anomilisa.

Sandy, didn't we watch Nausicaa at that visit, too?
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sandy on April 20, 2017, 02:11:59 PM
Yes, Nausicaa was the other film!

And we did meet twice. The first time I was working in the church's kitchen with Mrs. oldkid and you came in and visited for a little bit. I got to know her better than you. :)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on April 20, 2017, 03:57:55 PM
Sandy, can you confirm that the beard is indeed real?
Title: Re: Animation Education [The Black Cauldron]
Post by: pixote on July 05, 2017, 11:53:53 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TheBlackCauldron.jpg)

The Black Cauldron  (Ted Berman & Richard Rich, 1985)

The whole modern history of animation could have been so different if Disney hadn't f—ked up this film so much.

I haven't read Lloyd Alexander's source novels (though I've always wanted to and I will eventually), but I can't imagine they're very well served here. The movie feels like it was written by a dozen people, working independently of each other, with no real story sense aside from what they gleaned from earlier animated films. So much of The Black Cauldron feels like imitation without understanding — like when a computer translates English to Chinese and back to English. There's very little rhythm to the narrative, which always feels secondary to the character designs.

Where the film excels is in the dark moments — moments which I suspect have been unfairly blamed for the movie's lack of success. Seeing a drop of blood in a Disney animated film is terrifically exciting, and the imagery is its best in these darker moment, especially with the legitimately scary renderings of the Horned King and his army of the dead. Some of the visual effects don't quite work — at times I thought maybe I'd forgotten to put on my 3D glasses — but it's mostly a very good looking film. If only the story didn't feel like such a mishmash of The Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty, He-Man, The Smurfs, Thundercats, The Last Unicorn, Lord of the Rings, and the rest.

Not for nothing, but Elmer Bernstein's score is maybe the most robust to ever grace an animated children's film. I mean, seriously (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOVOfS_N-y4#no). I'll be curious to compare Jerry Goldsmith's work on Mulan.

Grade: C+

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on July 06, 2017, 04:20:42 AM
I have no memory of the story, but I have always had a soft spot for that movie as the only Disney horror movie that will ever exist. To an eight year old at night with all the lights off it can get terrifying.

I don't get your animation history opening line though. What would have changed?
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 06, 2017, 04:40:18 AM
I have no memory of the story, but I have always had a soft spot for that movie as the only Disney horror movie that will ever exist. To an eight year old at night with all the lights off it can get terrifying.

I don't get your animation history opening line though. What would have changed?

I might change my answer once I get through the 80s (and also watch the Waking Sleeping Beauty documentary), but I sense in The Black Cauldron the desire to take risks and turn animation in new directions — similar perhaps to what Studio Ghibli was doing around the same time, or what Don Bluth achieved with The Secret of NIMH — with a willingness to tell more mature stories and not pretend kids in the 1980s were still the kids of the 1950s. And I think that, with the failure of The Black Cauldron, those tendencies were scapegoats and taken off the table as future possibilities (even though the mess of a script was the real culprit), and Disney retreated into the likes of Great Mouse Detective and Oliver and Co., before getting its groove back with The Little Mermaid.

But what if, instead, The Black Cauldron had achieved its potential and been the kind of success that The Little Mermaid was later on? What kind of films would Disney have made in the years after, to capitalize on that same sort of success? Instead of a string of a musical fantasies, could the second golden era instead have been a darker and bloodier affair?

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on July 06, 2017, 05:27:07 AM
I am all for dark and bloody, but I don't want a world where Beauty and the Beast does not exist.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: goodguy on July 06, 2017, 12:19:27 PM
I don't want a world where mentioning Beauty and the Beast is met with the assumption one is talking about the Disney franchise.

Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 06, 2017, 12:22:20 PM
I don't want a world where mentioning Beauty and the Beast is met with the assumption one is talking about the Disney franchise.

Don't worry. Everyone knows it's a tale as old as time.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on July 06, 2017, 12:35:20 PM
We were talking about Disney animated movies, but I will keep in mind next time I compare Beauty and the Beast to Alice to clarify that I am not in fact drawing a parallel between Cocteau and Tim Burton.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on July 06, 2017, 12:44:17 PM
I need to revisit The Black Cauldron, but there is no way I could have appreciated it those long decades past.  Since sixth grade I have been a huge fan of the Lloyd Alexander Prydain series, and there is no way Disney could have done a proper adaptation, it was guaranteed to disappoint me. 

There would have to be similarities to other high fantasy stories, since Prydain was based on some of the same source texts as Tolkien used for Lord of the Rings, although Tolkien focused on the Nordic and Alexander focused on the Celtic.   Still, there's a lot of overlap.

Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 09, 2017, 04:33:22 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PussGetstheBoot.jpg)

Puss Gets the Boot  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1940)

This Oscar-nominated animated short introduced a cat named Jasper and a mouse that the creators knew as Jinx. The success of the short quickly led to a franchise, and Jasper and Jinx morphed into Tom and Jerry. Familiarity with many of the later entries in that franchise perhaps dulled my enjoyment of this original film, but it's still interesting to see where it all started, with Jasper being furrier and rounder than Tom, and Jinx being a bit more cherubic than Jerry.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheMidnightSnack.jpg)

The Midnight Snack  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1941)

The second short in the Tom & Jerry franchise (though the first to use those names) offers a few more smiles than Puss Gets the Boot, but pacing still seems to be an issue, with many of the gags feelings drawn out and often repetitive.

Grade: C+



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-05.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-06.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheNightBeforeChristmas-07.jpg)

The Night Before Christmas  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1941)

The Christmas backdrops are really warm and creative, with a surprising pastel hue to them that I find very appealing. The overall animation here is of a much higher quality than I'd expect from a 1941 short. I might have been happy spending nine minutes just watching Jerry explore every gift under the tree, but some nice moments do arise from the typical cat-and-mouse antics, and I'm a sucker for the Christmas spirit that infuses the ending. The kiss that Tom and Jerry share under the mistletoe is almost sweet and demonstrates how Tom is really the more tender of the two characters at this point — like an older brother who's constantly hazing his sibling but really cares about him. Jerry, on the other hand, is just a hedonic sadist.

Grade: B



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/FraidyCat.jpg)

Fraidy Cat  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1942)

There's very little to recommend this short, a definite letdown after The Night Before Christmas. Tom gets super scared after listening to a scary story on the radio, and Jerry, seeing an opportunity for torment, tricks Tom into thinking their house is really haunted. There's not much cleverness on display, and Tom makes a couple fearful noises (not quite words) that don't fit his character at all.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/DogTrouble.jpg)

Dog Trouble  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1942)

Even just five shorts in, the basic framework of this comic universe feels rather limiting. The introduction of Spike (the bulldog) in Dog Trouble seems like a great way to shake things up, creating a common enemy that unites Tom & Jerry. In this particular instance, though, Spike doesn't really change anything; the same old chase dynamics hold sway. At this point in their careers, Hanna, Barbera, and company seems to lack the inventive gags and basic comic originality of the great silent comedians or their contemporaries over at Termite Terrace. They are fine animators, though, especially adept at rending the whirlwind motions of their characters — motions that form the very core of these shorts. I look forward to when they find the writing to match.

Grade: C

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 09, 2017, 08:54:06 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PussnToots.jpg)

Puss n' Toots  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1942)

Mammy Two-Shoes agrees to catsit a cute kitty, and Tom is instantly smitten to the point of turning wolfish (literally, for a second). The promising setup hits its high point as Tom uses Jerry as a prop in a series of slight-of-hand magic tricks (after the visitor turns down offers of a fish and bird as snacks), but then the premise is largely forgotten as standard chase antics ensue.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheBowlingAlleyCat.jpg)

The Bowling Alley-Cat  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1942)

Why are Tom and Jerry all alone in a bowling alley? I couldn't tell you. But it's not a bad change of pace, once I got used to it. There's a minute in the middle of this short where I thought, "Okay, cool, this is finally working," but then I returned to my usual nonplussed state. In my favorite animated shorts of this type, I often feel the legacy of Keaton, Chaplin, and the Marx Brothers, but so far Tom and Jerry seem to have a far greater kinship with the Three Stooges. I wonder if the title of this one has ever been a Before & After puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/FineFeatheredFriend.jpg)

Fine Feathered Friend  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1942)

A barnyard setting this time as Jerry gains the protection of a mother hen (by extension of her protection of her brood of chickadees). I fear I'm grading these shorts too harshly — none of them is without its merits — but even watching at home, without the benefit of a theater audience, I should have laughed aloud by now. And I haven't.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-05.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheLonesomeMouse-06.jpg)

The Lonesome Mouse  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1943)

They speak! Jerry gets Tom thrown out of the house and at first enjoys his freedom but soon discovers that he's bored without his frenemy around. As his inner voice says, "You never thought you'd miss that cat, did you? Feeling kind of lonesome? Look at him. You can't live with him, but there's no fun without him." Jerry and Tom then hatch a plan to get Tom back in the house, communicating in whispers that, surprisingly, are actual words. This new element isn't as jarring as it seems like it should be, neither adding nor subtracting from the short as a whole, except to add some nice differentiation. What does more to elevate The Lonesome Mouse over many of the proceeding shorts is there's actually a narrative framework to the action and not just two characters endlessly chasing or torturing each other. The highlight here, for me, is when the two have a random little jam session under the sink. That continues the trend of my finding more delight in these characters when they're at play rather than at war.

Grade: B-



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-05.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-06.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PuttinontheDog-07.jpg)

Puttin' on the Dog  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1944)

Puttin' on the Dog provides the most sustained humor of any Tom & Jerry short to date, largely thanks to the absurdity of Tom's doggy disguise. It's the gift that keeps on giving, and the animators do well to make the most of it. Tom and Jerry have already broken the fourth wall in these shorts a few times, with the occasional reaction or glance to the audience, but Jerry's "Yes, stupid, it's a cat" sign is the first real bit of anarchic humor that redefines the logic of this world — a positive first step, I think. Puttin' on the Dog may prove to be the film that represents when this franchise finally hit its stride.

Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 09, 2017, 11:08:48 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheMouseComestoDinner.jpg)

The Mouse Comes to Dinner  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1945)

The most viciously violent entry to date, with Tom and Jerry each trying to stab each other with a knife and with Jerry setting Tom on fire. Tom gets very anthropomorphized here, using the telephone to invite his crush over to dinner, eating with utensils, and smoking a cigar and a cigarette. I appreciate the series' attempt to expand the limits of what's possible in this world, but this particular attempt feels like a misfire, with the characterization caught too much in between the animal and human spheres. I suspect that some of the choices here were inspired by what the Warner Bros. cartoonists were doing around the same time, but the imitation doesn't seem to befit these characters. The best part is hearing Mammy Two-Shoes sing a couple bars of "I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)".

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-05.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-06.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-07.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/MouseinManhattan-08.jpg)

Mouse in Manhattan  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1945)

A real showcase for the animators, who seem to have put particular time and effort into this short. Jerry's solo adventure in the big city is largely just an excuse for some rather wonderful backdrops — many more than I'd expect to find in an eight-minute short from this era. Even with no good gags to its credit, Mouse in Manhattan is almost worth seeing for the artwork alone. Almost. A highly predictable and unfortunate blackface gag helps tip things away from the film's favor. The greater problem is that these films have failed to give Jerry (or Tom) any real concrete persona. He's playful, mischievous, and a bit gluttonous (not to mention psychotic), but that's not quite enough a comic foundation for his character. It'd be interesting to marathon some Wily E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons for comparison. They're obviously not defined with any great depth either, but my hunch is they remain more constantly true to a small set of traits, and that constancy creates inevitability which adds to the humor. (Or maybe their gags are just better.) At any rate, there's a moment in Mouse in Manhattan when Jerry whistles at some attractive human females. That not only surprised me, but it made me realize how ambiguous his character remains at this point and how that ambiguity creates an obstacle to comedy.

Grade: C+



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/SpringtimeforThomas.jpg)

Springtime for Thomas  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1946)

Love-struck Tom isn't interested in trying to kill Jerry, which makes Jerry bored. (These shorts are wonderfully twisted conceptually, I must admit.) Jerry enlists a wolfish alley-cat to steal Tom's love interest so that Jerry can get his frenemy back. The musical score might be the highlight of this short, adding some nice jazzy energy to the usual antics, and the alley-cat's humming of "Over the Rainbow" adds some pop cultural interest. But I'm still having trouble getting on board with these largely repetitive shenanigans.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TrapHappy.jpg)

Trap Happy  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1946)

Tom phones an exterminator to help him kill Jerry. The exterminator turns out to be another cat (they get listings in the yellow pages, too!), which allows for a doubling of the traditional goings-on. There are a handful of promising gags, but overall this is another ho-hum effort. I'm beginning to worry that I've now steeled myself against these cartoons and will no longer recognize a good joke when I see it. I hope that's not the case.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PartTimePal.jpg)

Part Time Pal  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1947)

Here's my new theory: these animators seem to correlate how funny something is with how difficult it is to animate. They often seem to pass up simple, elegant jokes for completely manic action that's impressively rendered but lacking in comic timing. Puttin' on the Dog has been one of the rare exceptions to this trend and, by no coincidence, one of the funniest shorts so far. In Part Time Pal, Tom falls into a barrel of fermented cider and emerges completely drunk. I was instantly smiling just from the comic potential of a drunken house cat — but that potential is only hinted at by the rest of the film. The highlight here is Jerry's effort to keep Tom out of trouble with Mammy, even though Drunk Tom wants to kick her in the seat of her pants and put a lit match under her heel. I don't fully understand why these moments of friendship are so much more appealing than the natural-enemies moments, but I suspect it's because those are the times when the characters exhibit the strongest personalities. When they're just chasing each other around, you could substitute two completely different characters and not lose much. And that's part of the problem here: if Tom had a more clearly defined persona, then Drunk Tom would have a norm to play against. But that's not the case, and the film suffers as a result.

Grade: C+

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2017, 11:09:07 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/DrJekyllandMrMouse-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/DrJekyllandMrMouse-02.jpg)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1947)

Tom doesn't want to share his milk with Jerry, but Jerry is so sneaky that the only solution is to poison him. But Tom's concoction is actually mouse steroids, turning Jerry into a beefy cat-killer. Tom is at his most evil here, and the animation reflects that, at times giving him a very sinister, very devilish look. It sounds better on paper than it actually is. The best moments are all at the very end, when the potion backfires on Tom, setting up Jerry's best fourth wall break so far.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/OldRockinChairTom-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/OldRockinChairTom-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/OldRockinChairTom-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/OldRockinChairTom-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/OldRockinChairTom-05.jpg)

Old Rockin' Chair Tom  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1948)

Mammy Two-Shoes is central to the story for the first time, which is great because it provides us with the most voice-work we've heard yet from Lillian Randolph (who was so delightful playing another maid, Annie, in It's a Wonderful Life two years earlier) but not so great in that Mammy is an unfortunate racial stereotype. In the earliest of these cartoons, Puss Gets the Boot, she somewhat famously tells Jasper, "Now, understand this, Jasper, if youse break one more thing, youse is going out - O-W-T, out!" That sort of dialogue and dialect has always defined her character, who is almost always seen from the waist down, at most. Old Rockin' Chair Tom represents the second time we've seen Jerry gleefully interested in terrifying Mammy, which seems like an odd character choice for him, in some ways, but I have to remind myself that the terrified Negro was a comic staple for a time, one which these cartoons certainly aren't above. (It also makes sense to think that, since mice are always scaring humans, maybe they're doing it on purpose and enjoying it, but I'm not confident that that's the angle the writers had in mind.) Anyway, when Tom proves ill-equipped to get rid of Jerry, Mammy brings a second cat into the house (one looks oddly like Tom wearing a Lorax costume). Tom and Jerry conspire to get rid of this intruder, and there are no real surprises to be had (except maybe throwaway line where Mammy refers to Tom as Uncle Tom).

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/ProfessorTom-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/ProfessorTom-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/ProfessorTom-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/ProfessorTom-04.jpg)

Professor Tom  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1948)

Tom shows a younger cat the cat ropes. Whenever the young pupil's playful innocence is at the center of Professor Tom, it's at its most enjoyable. It's maybe the first time that a guest character has arrived with a clearly defined and appealing comic persona. His lighthearted alliance with Jerry is particularly satisfying. Once again, though, Hanna-Barbera have trouble sustaining a story's charm, and even at seven-and-a-half minutes this short feels drawn out. I did like hearing the The Wizard of Oz score quoted at the end (the second such reference).

Grade: C+



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheCatandtheMermouse-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheCatandtheMermouse-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/TheCatandtheMermouse-03.jpg)

The Cat and the Mermouse  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1949)

Even in an underwater setting, the series' standard rhythms remain in full effect. I laughed mockingly when an angry shark appeared on the screen because he seemed such a clear modulation of the angry bulldog from other films. The props are new but the gags remain the same. Tom's perfect emulation of a turtle's swimming is the definite highlight.

Grade: C



(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PolkaDotPuss-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PolkaDotPuss-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PolkaDotPuss-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/TomandJerry/PolkaDotPuss-04.jpg)

Polka-Dot Puss  (William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, 1949)

Jerry convinces Tom that Tom has the measles and then tortures him with various treatments, including baking him in a hot over. Possibly the most mean-spirited of these shorts so far. If the gags were better, I'm sure I'd be more forgiving, but, as is, Polka-Dot Puss is rather off-putting.

Grade: C-

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on July 11, 2017, 01:56:19 AM
I remember all of these cartoons from when I was young.  I'm kind of afraid to re-visit them.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Corndog on July 11, 2017, 07:05:28 AM
Tom & Jerry is still awesome. No need to be afraid.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 14, 2017, 10:08:41 PM
Tom & Jerry is still awesome. No need to be afraid.

I wonder if all the eras are equally awesome, or if the Gene Deitch and Chuck Jones cartoons are more what people think of when they think of Tom and Jerry, rather than the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 40s and 50s. (I'm hoping the 50s shorts show an improvement over the 40s ones since I'll be watching them at some point in the near future.)

Corndog, are any of the shorts I reviewed above ones you remember being awesome?

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on July 15, 2017, 12:30:45 AM
Professor Tom, A Mouse in Manhattan and the Christmas ones are cartoons I remember fondly from my misspent youth, although I remember watching all of them.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on July 15, 2017, 01:30:19 AM
Professor Tom, A Mouse in Manhattan and the Christmas ones are cartoons I remember fondly from my misspent youth, although I remember watching all of them.

I hope you rewatch A Mouse in Manhattan for the Retrospots! I'll be very curious to read your take.

You named three of the best or most interesting ones, for sure, which is probably comforting for both of us. Puttin' on a Dog is the only other one that should have been a childhood favorite.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Corndog on July 17, 2017, 07:23:33 AM
Tom & Jerry is still awesome. No need to be afraid.

Corndog, are any of the shorts I reviewed above ones you remember being awesome?

pixote

I honestly don't remember any specifics, but I always enjoy watching it when I catch it on tv. Always funny to me. But I don't know which eras and animators and whatnot when I randomly catch it.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: filmnoter on August 01, 2017, 02:29:01 PM
http://www.neatorama.com/2017/07/26/The-Tom-and-Jerry-Story/
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on August 01, 2017, 02:37:25 PM
Thanks for the link! Interesting to hear that "a leading Texas distributor" may have been influential in the continuation of the comically violent series.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education [Animal Farm]
Post by: pixote on September 30, 2017, 02:21:13 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-01.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-02.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-03.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-04.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-05.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-06.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-07.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-08.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-09.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/AnimalFarm/AnimalFarm-10.jpg)

Animal Farm  (John Halas & Joy Batchelor, 1954)

I really wish I'd written a review when I watched Animal Farm two months back because I had a fair amount to say about it back then, most of which I've of course forgotten. It's a fascinating film, both in its origins (funded by the CIA) and its execution. Producer Louis de Rochemont's background creating The March of Time newsreels definitely seems to infect the storytelling of Animal Farm in a negative way. There's very little flow to begin with, and the continual interjections of the newsreel-style narrator only makes that worse. The animation contributes to that choppy feel as it pivots back and forth between a very Disney-influenced style and a darker, more abstract tone, more adult tone that seems more properly Orwellian. Both styles work well independently of each other — the kid-friendly sequence of the animals working together to spruce of the farm is as appealing in its way as the scenes of shadowy Fascism — but they rarely mesh together. A few of the character designs seemed very off to me, and I generally didn't like Maurice Denham's voice work, but I'm not sure I was able to identify why. Despite these caveats, it's still a worthwhile film, one that I'm glad to have finally caught up with.

Grade: B-

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on October 02, 2017, 08:10:00 AM
That movie made me understand Stalinism when I was eleven. Good times.
Title: Re: Animation Education [Pete's Dragon]
Post by: pixote on October 06, 2017, 03:23:09 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/PetesDragon1977.jpg)

Pete's Dragon  (Don Chaffey, 1977)

I don't know what made me add Disney's partially animated live-action films to this marathon, but I severely regretted that decision about five minutes into Pete's Dragon. I had a whole rant ready to go here, but I let a week pass before writing anything down, and now I can't really be bothered. I'm tempted to just say that the films insists upon itself — because it really does. The production and the performances are all so sincere and committed, effervescently proceeding headlong at full volume (it's such a loud film) with zero regard for all the script's shortcomings (it's such a stupid film). There's a sad, throwback charm to the film's attempt to cling to the outdated style of movies from a decade earlier (Oliver!, Mary Poppins). I had thought Doctor Doolittle killed that dream, but I guess not.

The animation of the film is mostly a failure. For reasons that generally don't make logical sense, we only see the dragon Elliott intermittently; he spends most of the film invisible. That choice becomes a huge obstacle in terms of suspension of disbelief. The visual effect of incorporating the animated dragon in a live-action setting is far from seamless and takes getting used to; but every time Elliott reappears, that process of suspending our disbelief starts almost from scratch, and thus the illusion is mostly ruined. Compounding this problem is that Elliott's character design just feels too distinct from the surrounding world. In a cartoon, he'd probably be pretty charming — just an oversized, clumsy Scooby Doo. But in this overly bright, live-action world, the more muted hues of the dragon rarely mesh. There's one nice exception, when Elliott is sleeping in a cave, the darkness of which makes the effect more palatable. Otherwise, it's mostly a miss.

The songs and choreography are mostly unmemorable, except for a nonsense refrain that stuck in my head even though I (ironically) couldn't remember the words ("Passamamassy, Quoddamapoddy, Passamadaddy ..."). Helen Reddy has a perfect voice for this sort of film, though, so clear and pure. If only her acting were half as polished.

Please tell me Bedknobs and Broomsticks won't be this bad.

Grade: D+

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: 1SO on October 06, 2017, 04:11:09 PM
Beware! There are multiple versions of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. You want the 117min version, though I bet the 97min cut is acceptable. I accidentally saw the 139min


I accidentally ended up watching the 139 minute cut, and all of that extra footage is dancing. Forever dancing, endless amounts of high-kicks and dancing.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: pixote on October 06, 2017, 04:29:25 PM
Hmm, thanks for the heads-up. I have the Blu-Ray in my Netflix queue. I'll keep an eye out to see what version they send me.

pixote
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on November 01, 2017, 02:54:18 PM
So I wasn't sure where to put this in the scope of the fourms and then I remembered this thread. One thing I've thought about is my memory of Disney movies and for some bizarre reason, I thought I'd run through them all and give a brief summary of how the Disney feature films stand in my mind:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-Saw a few times as a kid, but was never big in the rotation. Eager to see it as an adult.
Pinocchio-Saw this a lot as a kid, remember watching bits of it again in college and realizing how dark and disturbing it is. Probably the Disney film I'm the most eager to revisit.
Fantasia-Parents didn't let me see this because Mickey uses magic. Saw it as an adult and all I could think is how much more I like the Silly Simphonies.
Dumbo-Watched a lot as a kid, saw it again as a teen and realized it's also super messed up like Pinocchio
Bambi-Lots of watches as a child, never one of my favorites because I thought it was too cutesy. That being said, I always loved the caterpillar bits as a child.(This is clearly in The Fox and the Hound. My memory is bad.)
Saludos Amigos-Unseen, but I always mix it up with The Three Caballeros.
Victory Through Air Power-Seen clips as an adult. Eager to see the whole thing.
The Three Caballeros-VHS rental as a child. Completely unmemorable.
Make Music Mine-I don't think I've seen any of this ever. Also keep getting this one confused with Melody Time. I know pix loves All the Cats Join In, so I'm eager to see it.
Song of the South-Remember whispers of this as the bad film Disney made as a child. Of course, that made me want to see it more. Still haven't seen it.
Fun and Fancy Free-Cute enough. Got several VHS rentals as a kid, but I never loved the Mickey character so it never made it into the regular rotation.
Melody Time-Most memorable for the Johnny Appleseed segment in my mind from childhood viewings.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad-Saw once as a child, thought it was weird, but remember almost nothing beyond the fact they ride a carriage at some point.
Cinderella-One of those movies I hated as a kid for being so girly, but seeing it again as a teen, I also just realize that the mice are so annoying and Cinderella as a character just bores me.
Alice in Wonderland-Can't remember if I saw this as a child, but as a teen who liked the book, I thought Disney's take was absolute rubbish.
Peter Pan-Oh boy. Loved this as a kid but then I watched it again in high-school and that casual racism really left a bad taste in my mouth. I guess it's not bad on its own merits, but I also revisited Hook around the same time and thought that film held up a lot better.
Lady and the Tramp-I love the Tramp. I had a beloved stuffed Tramp from the Disney store. I was riveted by this film even though it was the kind of mushy romance I tended to snub my nose at as a boy. I don't remember hardly any of the plot beats, but I do remember a lot of the moments that happen in Lady's house and oh man was that rat sequence one of the most riveting sequences of my childhood. Kinda afraid to revist this for fear that it won't hold up to my vague memories and affection.
Sleeping Beauty-I might have seen bits of this film as a child, but I don't think I saw the thing end to end until I was in college. I quite liked it. Animation was great and while the story was simple, it worked well enough.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians-If I had to guess which Disney film I watched the most as a child, I think it would be this one. My mother called me Rolly because I would eat constantly. "I'm hungry, mother, I really am." was probably my most quoted movie line before the age of 10. Saw it as a teen and wasn't too hot on it, but still enjoy it as a nostalgia trip.
The Sword in the Stone-Saw it once as a kid, thought it was weird, saw it again as an adult and thought it was even weirder. That squirrel scene might have been the roots of the furry movement. Thanks, Disney!
The Jungle Book-Liked it as a kid, but oh boy do a lot of the characters annoy me. The elephants are buffoonish, King Louie is problematic to say the least, and the buzzards are such a dated pop culture reference that hasn't aged well. The live-action adaptation is much better.
The Aristocats-Hated this as a child. Hate it as an adult. I thought the proposition that everybody wants to be a cat to be erroneous.
Robin Hood-Got a ton of views as a kid. As an adult, Curtiz's Robin Hood replaces this film for me. Plus, the animation is notorious for being recycled. I still like moments of it, but for every moment I like in this film, there are two in the Curtiz film I love.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh-Probably the only Disney film that grew in my estimation as an adult. I loved it as a child and adore it as an adult. It's not technically impressive but the entire thing brings me a joy that few films are able to achieve.
The Rescuers-The old lady creeped me out as a child. As an adult, I find its southern caricatures rather grating. I do really like the mice characters, though.
The Fox and the Hound-I cried watching this film as a child. It made me so sad. Then as a teen I realized it was about racism and it made me even sadder. Haven't watched it as an adult because I'm not sure I could handle it. Also, I loved the caterpillar bits of this film. Quality comedy subplot.
The Black Cauldron-Pretty sure I've never seen this film.
The Great Mouse Detective-Oh man, I adored this as a kid but as an adult I thought the striptease scene was pretty problematic and boy did I have a thing for the darker Disney films as a child.
Oliver & Company-Hated this as a child. Thought the music was pretty bad. Once I read the book and realized they swapped contemporary NYC for the much more interesting London, I thought it was a pretty lame adaptation. Haven't seen it as an adult.
The Little Mermaid-Was never one of my favorites as a kid, but I fell in love with the soundtrack as an adult and while the movie doesn't grip me as much as an adult, the music is still top notch.
The Rescuers Down Under-I think I saw this once as a child and it left little impression. Remember it being vaguely stereotypical about Australian stuff.
Beauty and the Beast-Loved as a child, love as an adult. Only Disney film I've ever bought for myself to own as an adult.
Aladdin-Saw as an adult, it has a few good pieces, but Ashman's presence is missed as the other songs suffer. Robin Williams is amusing, but feels totally out of place in this film and creates this weird tonal divide.
The Lion King-Liked it a lot as a kid, but kinda tired of it in my teen years. I'm not there's anything I can point out as being bad or mediocre, but just one of those films that doesn't do anything for me anymore.
Pocahontas-It's no The New World.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame-Saw a couple of years ago. Has some interesting ideas/themes but I feel like it continues the steady decline of post Ashman Disney.
Hercules-Yet another I only saw as an adult. I like that one song, I guess. The humor never hits and Hercules is such a boring protagonist.
Mulan-Got some views as a kid, but it was an adult where I appreciated it more. Felt like Disney's most consistent and even release this side of BatB.
Tarzan-Hated this as a kid, still hate it. The songs are so bad. Phil Collins is the worse. Tarzan is such a boring story.
Fantasia 2000-Haven't seen.
Dinosaur-Haven't seen
The Emperor's New Groove-Love as a kid, still holds up as an adult. Love the whole egomaniac goes on an adventure in humility angle of the story and the jokes are probably some of the most consistently funny in Disney's entire library.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire-Another one I didn't see until a couple of years ago. It's good, I guess, but feels like something that should have gone direct to video.
Lilo & Stitch-Another one I didn't see until adulthood and I thought it was sweet. This is where I think Disney starts losing its 2D animation chops.
Treasure Planet-I have a soft spot for this one. I really like the Treasure Island story for some reason and I think this is a fairly creative adaptation. I do remember not particularly liking the obviously CGI elements of this movie on my lat watch.
Brother Bear-Haven't seen it.
Home on the Range-Haven't seen it
Chicken Little-Confession: I liked this one a lot when I saw it in the theater. It was mostly the humor that got to me. I haven't seen it since it came out and I know it has a reputation for being one of Disney's worst, so I don't look forward to revisting it.
Meet the Robinsons-Haven't seen it.
Bolt-It's a passable film but this is when Pixar was at its peak and those films really put these films in perspective as poor storytelling films.
The Princess and the Frog-Haven't seen
Tangled-Disney is back, baby! Alan Menkin returning piqued my curiosity and this felt like they had somehow picked up right after Aladdin and kept that style going. I was 21 when this film came out and I saw it again in theaters about a month ago and I still love this film.
Winnie the Pooh-I hold this is the most criminally underrated Disney film ever released. The short runtime and simpler animation style I think scared off a lot of people, but it's as good of a followup to the classic shorts as you could want in the 21st century. And the verbal wordplay is top notch. I cannot recommend this film enough.
Wreck-It Ralph-Really dug it, glad they tried to stick to mostly original characters and ideas. As a gamer, certain things resonate with me in terms of the ideas and themes. Took me a while to like this cast of characters, but once I did, I think it was the moment I realized that Disney was now out-doing Pixar at their own game.
Frozen-I like the sister story and how they contrast each other, but a lot of stuff around this film bogs it down. Olaf is consistently unfunny. I think the romance is completely unnecessary. It doesn't stick the landing.
Big Hero 6-Disney tackles grief in what feels like maybe the oddest superhero origin story committed to film. There's a surprising level of gravitas to a lot of this which makes the parts with kids playing superhero all the more jarring. Somehow feels more mature and empathetic than Marvel Studio's live-action films, but also more kiddish at the same time. Maybe I'm still overthinking this one. It's a fine film.
Zootopia-Disney tackles racism again and this is no The Fox and the Hound. Sweet, funny and playful, there's a lot of great twists and turns in this story that plays more like a conman story than a Disney flick. But the metaphors get a bit muddled and it's yet another egregious example of Disney making animals sexy and could you please just stop enabling the furrys, Disney? Is that too much to ask, you perverts?
Moana-The best Disney film this side of Tangled. Smart story, cool setting, mostly great songs (I'm looking at you, "Shiny!") and finally a princess story without a romance subplot! See, Disney? You can make films like this! Go make more films like this! (Note: Their next two films are both sequels that I really don't think we need. Guess the sequel machine  the built with the Pixar acquisition isn't bring them enough money.)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on November 02, 2017, 04:10:30 AM
A statistically significant percentage of the population but definitely not everyone wants to be a cat...
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on November 02, 2017, 10:53:43 AM
FYI, I finished out the rest. You can pick up at The Fox and the Hound.

That was quite the exercise, but fun to see where I stand with all these films and realize how much of these films I've forgotten.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on November 02, 2017, 11:19:16 AM
I don't remember The Fox and the Hound that well, beyond all the extreme weeping. What was the racism subtext?

I don't see Zootopia as enabling the furries as much as trying to make furries out of all of us.

#bunnies #playboy
Title: Re: Animation Education [Bedknobs and Broomsticks]
Post by: pixote on November 06, 2017, 10:23:17 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/BedknobsandBroomsticks.jpg)

Bedknobs and Broomsticks  (Robert Stevenson, 1971)

In terms of chronology and quality, Bedknobs and Broomsticks lies halfway in between Mary Poppins and Pete's Dragon. It certainly helps to have Robert Stevenson at the helm (instead of Don Chaffey). It's also a plus that the mix of live-action with animation involves human characters visiting an animated world rather than an animated character (Elliott) existing in the real world. The effects in that sequence are far from seamless, but they pass the eye test enough to allow for suspension of disbelief. And the animation itself is rather charming, looking back to The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and The Jungle Book while also anticipating Robin Hood (specifically Prince John).

It's kind of a shock to see Nazi swastikas in opening credits of a Disney kids film, and it's almost as shocking to see an attempted machine-gunning of Jessica Fletcher. The historical setting adds a nice touch, but too much of the storytelling is so dumb. The script feels written by people who just didn't care about the story and just latched onto any old idea as being "good enough" no matter how illogical. As a result, even cool visual moments, like with the army of bodiless knights, are undercut by the silly hoops the film jumps through to get to those points.

The cast and the songs by the Sherman Brothers are both plenty likable. Hopefully the inevitable Broadway adaptation has better story sense.

Grade: C

pixote


Marathon Index (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13976.msg846627#msg846627)
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: Junior on November 06, 2017, 10:35:36 PM
I remember soccer, a fish club, and the skeletons, which stuck the most in my memory. It really is a big nothing, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on November 07, 2017, 03:18:59 AM
I watched that movie a bunch of times as a kid. I liked it rather well. Had no idea what the English title was though.

Treguna Mekoides Trecorum Satis Dee
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: oldkid on November 19, 2017, 04:25:11 PM
I remember soccer, a fish club, and the skeletons, which stuck the most in my memory. It really is a big nothing, unfortunately.

I am not sure if I saw this or Mary Poppins first, but one of the two are, I believe, the first theatre movie I saw.  Clearly it is time for me to re-watch B&B.  Hard to remember something after almost 50 years.
Title: Re: Animation Education
Post by: DarkeningHumour on November 19, 2017, 05:40:00 PM
I remember soccer

It's called football by the way, you degenerate.