Author Topic: Animation Education  (Read 7365 times)

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #110 on: November 19, 2017, 05:40:00 PM »
I remember soccer

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

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #111 on: June 16, 2018, 11:45:44 PM »
The On the Front Lines DVD that's part of the Walt Disney Treasures is well worth renting from your public library (where, with its general lack of kid appeal, it's less likely to be scratched than other Disney discs). Even though there are only two shorts I'd label truly good (and another seven I'd label fair), the collection is definitely greater than the sum of its parts for the way it captures Disney's relation to the war effort and also, by extension, paints an image of the home front through the media the public was consuming at the time.



Donald Gets Drafted
Jack King, 1942

Not the propaganda film I assumed it to be. Instead it contrasts the exaggerated promises of recruitment posters with the dehumanization (deduckification?) of army intake and the menace of boot camp. Interesting, but not all that funny or entertaining, save for a couple quick bits.

Grade: C



The Army Mascot
Clyde Geronimi, 1942

Although it's fascinating from a modern perspective to see Pluto try chewing tobacco, his brief feud with an army mascot goat doesn't have much else to offer. In contrast to Donald Gets Drafted, The Army Mascot implicitly paints a rosier portrait of Army life, with the mascots being well taken care of (steak dinners for the dogs).

Grade: C



The Vanishing Private
Jack King, 1942

Donald's application of invisible paint to a cannon is extremely satisfying visually, but when he himself falls into the paint the short becomes a rote cat-and-mouse game with Sergeant Pete, highlighted only by a Colonel's not understanding the context of Pete's throwing rose petals and singing, "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush." I preferred seeing Donald as a meek and subservient private early on; his turning insubordinate felt arbitrary and didn't fully mesh with the setup.

Grade: C



Sky Trooper
Jack King, 1942

Donald's personality shines through more enjoyably here. I still don't really like Pete as an antagonist for him, though. The comic setups in Sky Trooper are generally good but lack the equivalent gags to pay them off. Nonetheless, Donald Duck is a prince.

Grade: C+



Private Pluto
Clyde Geronimi, 1943

Some good, clever visual gags: Pluto's twisting himself into a pretzel; the cannon acting as a snout; the chipmunks filling Pluto's shadow with acorns as he falls to the ground to crack them. The squeak of the chipmunks' conversation is also enjoyable — and yet, despite all that, I wasn't fully won over until the end.

Grade: B-



Fall Out, Fall In
Jack King, 1943

Not much of interest here. Except for a couple gags early on —like the heat of Donald's body drying up a large puddle he trudges through it — this is a pretty lackadaisical effort.

Grade: C



Victory Vehicles
Jack Kinney, 1943

I'm not much of a fan of these Goofy gag reel shorts that consist largely of quick variations on the same theme — in this case, inventions to replace the automobile.

Grade: C-



The Old Army Game
Jack King, 1943

Whoa, this is some dark shit, totally insensitive to war casualties, amputees, and veterans struggling with PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Not really funny at all but super frickin' fascinating. The centerpiece gag compares unfavorably to Bugs' version.

Grade: C+



Home Defense
Jack King, 1943

Nice to see the nephews but otherwise I was pretty damn bored.

Grade: C-



How to Be a Sailor
Jack Kinney, 1944

Another Goofy short that failed to engage me at all. This format really just tests my attention span and inevitably ends up boring me.

Grade: C-



Commando Duck
Jack King, 1944

Commando Duck is the first short in this collection marred by anti-Japanese ugliness. Luckily, it comprises just a couple of moments, leaving the main focus on Donald and his solo ops mission in enemy territory. Works more as a playful and exciting adventure than as a comedy, but generally entertaining and fun either way; plus, it's just something of a relief to see a half-decent Donald Duck short after a series of underwhelming ones.

Grade: B-



The Thrifty Pig
Ford Beebe, 1941

I actually kind of like this repurposing of the Three Little Pigs as wartime propaganda. What it does, it does well. Invest in victory!

Grade: B-



7 Wise Dwarfs
Richard Lyford, 1941

My excitement to see new Dwarfs animation quickly diminished as I realized this film wasn't going to do anything interesting with them other than show them buying war bonds with their diamonds from the mine. Extremely rote.

Grade: C



Food Will Win the War
Hamilton Luske, 1942

Neither entertaining nor interesting, especially the with repetitive attempts to make relatable the magnitude of American farming by saying, "Our farmers produce so much _______ that it could cover _________." It's no Powers of Ten.

Grade: C-



Out of the Frying Pan into the Firing Line
Ben Sharpsteen, 1942

Shockingly charming for a PSA (about saving kitchen grease so it could be turned into glycerin for the war). The cut to the picture of soldier Mickey on the kitchen wall and Pluto's reaction thereto is effective as heck.

Grade: B-



Donald's Decision
Larry Sharpsteen, 1942

Less effective propaganda. The angel and devil inside Donald Duck aren't as engaging as Donald himself, so the message was lost on me as I focused more on the voice casting choices and the "action." Pretty bland, except for the subliminal swastikas.

Grade: C



All Together
Jack King, 1942

Fascinating to see a parade (in support of war bonds) of all the major Disney characters and realize just how small their number still was in 1942. It's really just the main five characters (with their families) plus Pinocchio and Dumbo. Kind of crazy.

Grade: C



The New Spirit
Wilfred Jackson & Ben Sharpsteen, 1942

Wow, Disney really went all out for this propaganda film: good writing, animation, a little song at the beginning, and a convincing message. I'm extremely happy to have seen this; it should be shown on all the tv networks simultaneously just before every Tax Day.

Grade: B



The Spirit of '43
Jack King, 1943

This follow-up to The New Spirit (for the subsequent year) reuses the original film's second half. The first half is similar to Donald's Decision, but with a much more interesting angel (a responsibly thrifty Scrooge McDuck type) and devil (a degenerate, playboy version of Donald Duck). Not bad, really, but overshadowed by its predecessor.

Grade: C+



The Winged Scourge
Bill Justice & Bill Roberts, 1943

"That a boy, Dopey! Kill her good and dead!" There's a line I never expected to hear in a Disney film. The 'her' in question here is the mosquito that transmits malaria. This informative animated documentary has a few nice backgrounds but really isn't all that entertaining, even when the Dwarfs show up.

Grade: C+



Defense Against Invasion
Jack King, 1943

"V for Vaccination. And Victory." Interesting conceit to explore vaccination in completely militaristic terms. The attack by disease on the unvaccinated body, as animated here in seemingly innocent fashion, is a legitimately scary moment of horror. I was glad to see diversity in the live-action cast of kids, though when the narrator referred to the fat kid as Tubby, I cringed in terror at the prospect of what he might call the black kid (a false alarm). Despite some cool and interesting moments, it's ultimately a bit too simplistic (or something; I can't read my notes).

Grade: C+



The Grain That Built a Hemisphere
Bill Justice & Bill Roberts, 1943

This ode to corn is ... weird. And overly long. I'm not even sure what the underlying message is supposed to be, but it makes corn sound like vibranium.

Grade: C



Health for the Americas: Cleanliness Brings Health
James Algar, 1945

Fun to see a Disney short dance delicately around the theme of "Don't shit in your corn field." Apparently not all manure is created equally.

Grade: C-



Health for the Americas: The Unseen Enemy
Unknown, 1945

You've got to explain things to Central and South American audiences like they're kindergarteners, I guess, if this annoying pedantic film is the gauge.

Grade: C-



Health for the Americas: Planning for Good Eating
Unknown, 1946

A more palatable (pun!) entry in the Health for the Americas series, despite its repetitiveness.

Grade: C



Der Fuehrer's Face
Jack Kinney, 1942

I love the concept of Donald Duck in Nutzi Land more than the execution, which wasn't as amusing as it sounds on paper. The use of the Statue of Liberty at the end is great, however.

Grade: C+



Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi
Clyde Geronimi, 1943

An interesting and grim short, with some nice animation. Again, not as incisive or powerful as I would have thought, with the exception of two moments that really get it right: the scene of Hans' hating the rabbit for being weak; and the last shot. It made me super sad realizing how relevant the film still seems today.

Grade: B-



Reason and Emotion
Bill Roberts, 1943

Another annoyingly timely film. The political thematics here are better than the execution, which isn't quite as sharp as it should be. The Inside Out concept is cool, though. I especially enjoyed the throwaway dismissals of Hitler offered by Reason inside the German male.

Grade: B-



Chicken Little
Clyde Geronimi, 1943

Good stuff. I love the distillation of the political manipulation of the masses punctuated by a dark ending that catches even the narrator off-guard.

Grade: B



Four Methods of Flush Riveting
James Algar, 1942

An industrial instructional film that almost completely devoid of personality — and yet I found it more engaging than those How To Goofy shorts.

Grade: C



Stop That Tank!
Ub Iwerks, 1942

Another instructional short, but one that's pretty great for what it is. It's informative, generally well-paced, and makes good use of animation to illustrate technical details that couldn't be captured otherwise. Pretty impressive.

Grade: B-


This collection also includes the feature film Victory Through Air Power, which I'll attempt to review separately.

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

1SO

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #112 on: June 17, 2018, 12:40:06 AM »
I've seen that batch up thru Commando Duck and then Der Fuehrer's Face and Education For Death, which have a reputation apart from the collection. Of curse that means I want to see The New Spirit.

Love the vibranium comment and good luck writing about Victory Through Air Power. I watched it because of Mousterpiece Cinema Podcast and I think I didn't hate it just to spite the host, who spent the entire episode (as he always does) talking about it like it was viewed as a court order.

pixote

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #113 on: June 17, 2018, 02:52:58 AM »
I've seen that batch up thru Commando Duck and then Der Fuehrer's Face and Education For Death, which have a reputation apart from the collection. Of course that means I want to see The New Spirit.

Chicken Little is the other must-see film from the set. Foxy Loxy uses Mein Kampf to manipulate the chickens!

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

oldkid

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #114 on: June 17, 2018, 07:02:39 PM »
Great list and helpful reviews!  I'll need to check out the pixote-approved ones.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #115 on: June 17, 2018, 07:29:40 PM »
I have a deep yearning to return to this project. I've watch so few films this year for personal reasons but a good chunk of them were animated and it always made me think of this thread.

I'm thinking about doing a revisit of the Studio Ghibli films since I own most of them and I still need to dive back into Looney Tunes.

pixote

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #116 on: June 19, 2018, 02:29:12 PM »


Coco  (Lee Unkrich, 2017)

One of the best parts of seeing the Olaf short beforehand was that it underscored, by contrast, just how wonderfully detailed and nuanced the animation and art direction of Coco are. The master shot of the land of the dead provides the marquee moment, but I loved the look and feel of the plaza of the real world town just as much, with all its personality and vibrancy and vitality. (The supernatural glow around the dead seemed like a misstep.) The voicework is typically nice, with bonus points going to young Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel. The "no music" familial prohibition is tolerable as a cutesy narrative setup, but I wish it hadn't carried through so much of the film. The second act started off poorly, relying on the lame "get from point A to point B" plotting and shoe-horned in scenes that Pixar films too often seem to settle for. At the midpoint, however, things accelerate with surprising pace, and the film wisely avoids getting bogged down in the narrative's weaker elements and coincidences, choosing instead to glide past them and focus on the good stuff. The score and songs are good — or, at least good enough; I was happy for any excuse to see more animated guitar playing, which I loved. I also loved Dante but wish he was better used as the film went along. The ending is genuinely moving, however easy the emotional manipulation might be.

Grade: B+



Olaf's Frozen Adventure  (Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers, 2017)
I was very resistant to this at first — the characterizations and voice acting felt too tv — but once it's Olaf and Sven at center of things, it becomes watchable. The definite highlights, for me, were the knit animation sequence and the flaming runaway sled.
Grade: C

pixote
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 04:00:27 AM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #117 on: June 19, 2018, 07:15:57 PM »


Your Name.
Shinkai Makoto, 2016

A little like The Shape of Water in how the love story and the larger fantasy seem to work against each other rather than complement each other. I preferred the love triangle side of things and would like to have seen that explored more. The last twenty minutes were frustrating, especially the fretting about lost memories in the face of looming life-and-death events. An interesting use of songs; it might have been cool to embrace the musical genre fully rather than just flirt with it via soundtrack. "Remember me," says Coco.

Grade: B-



My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Dash Shaw, 2016

The animation style is definitely interesting, and the film is appealing in its overall sensibility, but the poor writing and sound design undermined the rest. The movie never fully clicked with me, but if it was a tv show I could see myself warming to it by the seventh episode.

Grade: C



The Breadwinner
Nora Twomey, 2017

I failed to jot down any notes after watching this, but I remember it being a decent time but sort of disappointingly ordinary, with just serviceable animation and few if any truly outstanding moments.

Grade: B-

Loving Vincent
Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, 2017

I feel guilty not liking this labor of love more, partly because Dorota Kobiela seems like an amazing person, but the script is a bit tepid and the animation, despite its cool painterly quality, suffers from its rotoscoped origins. The more liberated transitional scenes are the highlights.

Grade: C+



The Girl Without Hands
Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016

Interesting style but generally not evocative for me, except in the more explicitly impressionistic moments, which were my favorites. The source Grimm story seems rather blah.

Grade: C+



I associate three of the above films — My Entire High School, Loving Vincent, and The Girl Without Hands — because they all exhibit an animation style that I could imagine being very powerful in the context of a short film but, when applied to a feature, became somewhat limiting and even exhausting. With that in mind, I was somewhat eager to watch the Laudenbach shorts on the The Girl Without Hands Blu-Ray, but the results weren't quite what I hoped:

Daphné or the Lovely Specimen  (Sébastien Laudenbach & Sylvain Derosne, 2015)
The narration, which consists of the reflections of a stripper, is as interesting as the mix of stop motion animation and time lapse photography — but the two don’t really synthesize into anything more. Either the visuals seemed too completely disconnected from the audio; or they connected in a way that was too on-the-nose.
Grade: C+

Watching Oana  (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2009)
This short no doubt loses some of its effectiveness when watched with subtitles, but I'm not sure there's that much of interest here regardless. Even at fourteen minutes, Oana feels long, with too many lulls in the animation.
Grade: C

Vasco  (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2010)
Stylistically cool with a nice general tone. I didn’t take the time to figure out what it might all mean, but it was a nice watch and my favorite from this set.
Grade: B-

XI. La Force  (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2013)
Similar to The Girl Without Hands in its animation, a style which works especially well in the more abstract moments or just the freedom of a character dancing — one of the best scenes. The imagery again proves better than the writing, though, and this short doesn't really add up to much as a result.
Grade: C

Journal  (Sébastien Laudenbach, 1999)
I'm a sucker for this this kind of DIY, personal filmmaking, especially in short form. Journal is very rough around the edges — enough to keep me from grading it higher — but that’s also part of its appeal. The real life of the animator interests me more than his imagination, it seems. I wouldn’t want to date him though, lol.
Grade: C+

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #118 on: June 20, 2018, 04:47:37 AM »
It pains me to see Your Name. get a lower score than Coco.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Animation Education
« Reply #119 on: June 20, 2018, 08:30:04 AM »
DATETITLESCOREMEDIUMREWATCH?
03/19Your Name73DVD (library)
06/09Coco82Amazon Prime