Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Silver Surfer

Generally I stay away from comic book movies until they are on the dollar rack at the video store. I recognize they are not made for long time fans and therefor largely suck for those of us who have cared about the characters for years. However, I have to ask:

Have you seen the Silver Surfer for FF2?

He looks awesome! I just may have to go see this one.

Oscar No Post

I failed to post yesterday partly because my real life got in the way and partly because it took a while to get over Happy Feet winning an Oscar. I recognize it was a weak field that was made short by the exclusion of Arthur and the Invisibles due to too much live action.

My beef is that motion capture, like what was used in the making of Happy Feet and Monster House, is not animation. I understand that technically it is as it is a collection of non-live images that change slightly from frame to frame to create the illusion of motion. That said it is only animation in the way that a paper air plane is the same as a commercial jet liner. Both have wings that create lift, but you won't put your money in PaperCo Airlines. (If you will let me know, I can help you invest.) The relative ease of creating with computers versus hand drawn animation has led to an outpouring of poorly executed movies with bad plots. This leaves us with the question of where does Happy Feet's Oscar take us. Sadly Disney has already answered that question by announcing the creation of a motion capture "animation" division.

Walt Disney along with Ub Iwerks and the Nine Old Men gave us animation as we know it today. Sure it was built on by the boys of Termite Terrace and the likes of Walter Lantz and the Fleischers, but if it weren't for Disney the rest would not have known what to do. Now Walt's dream has been totally perverted. With the closure of all the Disney hand drawn units and the creation of a motion capture unit the steward of the Walt Disney company should hang their heads. Sure Walt was about making a buck, but he also had a vision of animation and what it could do. Would he like computer animation? Most likely, but I don't think he'd turn his back on hand drawn. What about motion capture? I'd like to think he'd turn his nose up at it.

Don't spin too fast Walt.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


What is the lure of reality in drawn media? We live in a live action world. Most of our television and movies are live action. Most periodicals and newspapers deal in real world events. If this is the case, why are we so desperate for more reality? I'm not railing against reality television, although I can't say I care for that either. Instead I want to know why so many executives and movie goers want to see computer animated movies that try to look as real as possible. Last time I checked, most live action movies looked pretty real to me. Sure there may be some crappy computer effects in them, but the live parts were live. In the same vein, why do some comic publishers want comics that are more real.

I don't want reality in my drawn media. I want a fictitious world where I can believe in something better or see something crazy or see the good guys always win. Maybe even a world where someone dies and then comes back to life 6 times. I want to see animation used to do things that can't be done in live action, not trying to imitate it. Please make cartoons funny and mirthful without the need to look like a real life lion. Make comics about good guys and bad guys and sprinkle the reality a little lighter.

And one more thing. Joe Q please give Wolverine his stogie back.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Civil War vs. 52

If you enjoy cartoons then it is also likely you enjoy comic books. I know I do. I've not read any comic regularly until last year. Last year I started reading Civil War and 52. I've go to know how can DC keep 52 on track weekly and Marvel couldn't keep Civil war regular? In my youth I was very much a Marvel fan. I seldom read DC books. I must say I don't much care for the current state at Marvel. If you've read Civil War you likely agree that it ended with a whimper. Not at all unlike House of M. In contrast DC ended Infinite Crisis and Identity Crisis powerfully. Unlike Marvel's mega-crossovers DC built up the story and finished strong. I hope 52 ends with the explosion it is building to.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Steamboat Willie

Most of you know of Steamboat Willie. Many of you know the the place it (allegedly) holds in animation history. The question is how many of you have actually seen it? I dare say the majority of those who know of Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willie have seen statues, stills, representative drawings, etc., but have never actually seen the cartoon. Today that will change.

It is really a quite good cartoon, even if you are not a fan of rubber hose.

Why Am I Doing This?

One of the reasons I started this blog was to point out what was good and bad in the animation being produced today. I am not an insider, but I do love the medium and have a healthy respect for what has gone before as well as strong distaste for the blasphemy often shown now.

We see things such as Cartoon Network showing live action movies. Coming soon to a television near you Re-Animated: The Series. I know it has been said time and again since this started by others, but it deserves to be said again. Why call it Cartoon Network? I know it used to be, but now they want to make it more Nickelodeon and less its own channel. We don't need another Nickelodeon. We do need a proper CN.

To cap this post off with the right note just in case a CN exec. is reading. We also do not need another preschool channel. Leave Boomerang alone. If you put as much effort into getting Boomerang on more systems than on developing bad preschool programming you might find the audience Boomerang calls to has been there all along. In my household, we watch more Boomerang than CN or Nick.

This is an incomplete post insofar as I will revisit this subject when the subject calls.