Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Stupid, It Stings

I ran across this screed, attached to a new Rapunzel picture moments ago:

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m fully let down by this first shot from RAPUNZEL brought to us today by disneypixar.fr. It looks like perfectly fine, standard, 3D animation at its absolute adequacy. What disappoints me is this notion that Disney has to create 3D animated films when they had a perfectly fine 2D animated film hit theaters just a short month ago.

PRINCESS AND THE FROG should have been the launching point of a whole new Disney venture into 2D animation, a re-visitation of the amazing period of time the company had from THE LITTLE MERMAID to THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. RAPUNZEL seems right up the alley with these other films ...

Maybe Kirk didn't notice, but TP&TF, as much as I like it (and I do) has sort of stalled on the launching pad. And as Mr. Corliss pointed out in TIME Magazine, the CGesque Alvin and the Chipmunks has eaten the 2D feature's lunch after five days of release.

Now. Do I like this? Hell, no. But do I acknowledge reality? Yeah, I find that a useful activity, being rooted as I am in the world of actual events.

But that isn't the point of my gripe about Kirk's sour post. My gripe is that Rapunzel has been on the Disney schedule as a freaking CGI feature since the time of Chicken Little, back when David Stainton was running the division and the company announced it was through doing hand-drawn features.

So after seven years of development and story work, to think that Diz Co. is going to throw out years of labor to satisfy some fan-boy's desire that the conglomerate make their next fairy tale in his preferred format is silly at best, and brain-damaged at worst.

If The Princess and the Frog were climbing toward a $300 million domestic gross after a month of release, they would still be making the picture as a CGI release.

45 comments:

Known Bandit said...

It looks very much like a painting. It doesn't look CG to me. This guys full of it. I like the image quite a bit and hope that it's a big hit for Disney. Of course, if it is they'll say it's because it's CG and not hand drawn. Hehe.. you can't win.

What have you heard lately about this from the guys in the Hat Building, Steve?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, it very well might be a big hit because it is CG and not 2D. Let's be realistic. Disney tried to do a Princess movie in 2D and it flopped...maybe it won't flop in CG.
Of course, the movie going audience might eb sick altogether of Princess movies...we'll soon see.

Anonymous said...

If Princess and the Frog had had the visual oomph of The Lion King, the brilliant score of Aladdin and the storytelling power of Beauty and the Beast, then it may very well be heading towards 300 million. 2D didn't kill the Frog; the story did. It was limp, the frogs were blah, the alligator wasn't funny, the firefly was ugly, the songs were meh...it was, altogether, a lackluster effort. Hopefully, the Snow Queen movie will build on the mistakes of the Frog and become the true comeback of Disney 2D.

Now as for this Rapunzel film...I like that picture. It looks like the perfect blend of 2D design with CGI rendering. In fact, unlike most CGI (Finding Nemo and Astro Boy being notable exceptions) it looks damn beautiful. I hope the rest of the movie looks as good. I'll be keeping an eye out for more images of this promising film.

Anonymous said...

Even though it is 3D, it looks almost as stale and boring as 2D. So, I don't know what this guy is talking about.

mattanimation said...

I thought Glenn Keane was supposed to be directing this film, why the freak does Disney always have a million directors? Put the power back in the hands of the artists that actually create the stuff,(like if they would have let Eric Goldberg direct Pocahontas by himself, and not be bugged by all the corporate influence) and everyone would be happy.
I think the characters in Rapunzel would have been great 2D it's the story and direction that really is what will make or break this film, just like any other.

Anonymous said...

It sure doesn't look like oil paint on canvas...

But even then, I sure dig the flat design and their "Golden Poses," as Disney artists would call it. Compare this to other CG films, and you will see a vast difference. When I first saw this, I thought it was a digital painting. I am still unsure if this is an actual movie still or just a concept drawing.

Anonymous said...

mattanimation said...

"I thought Glenn Keane was supposed to be directing this film"

---

Glen hasn't been the director of Rapunzel for over a year . (he stepped down from directing it for unspecified health concerns in October 2008).

This hasn't been a secret.

Anonymous said...

" Disney tried to do a Princess movie in 2D and it flopped...maybe it won't flop in CG."

Disney did a feature in the most tired and lackluster style of 2D possible.

If you don't think 2D can be an effective medium based on Disney's latest release, then you need to wake up. Disney needs to wake up because they don't know what they are doing.

Here is the cinematic trailer for the Beatles Rock Band video game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSLLxRmR3nY

Imagine that. A video game trailer done in 2D that absolutely blows the doors off of an entire feature length film made by a studio that boasts as having the best animation studio.

Disney is decades behind the cutting edge in 2D.

Its pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Well........I don't know why ANYone would want the DISNEY corporation to "Wake up" and be successful at ANYthing.
I for one would love to see them crash and burn into oblivion. "They" have been on top TOO long and need to go into the corn field.
Does anyone else want them to NOT succeed???
ANYone???
Just me huh.
Too bad.

Anonymous said...

The beatles rock band animation is fine. But it's NOT Character Animation. There's nothing wrong with it, but it wouldn't sustain a feature.

Anonymous said...

And no, it doesn't "blow the doors" off of anything. It's a cute animation for a videogame. That's all.

t said...

Princess and the Frog was a stunning picture in every way...and the story was solid. I don't think there were any major story issues whatsoever...but I suppose that is left to personal interpretation.

Finally Disney goes back to its roots...as so many begged for years...and it doesn't work.
I do not think it was so much the film in anyway. I think it is several reasons that many are simply overlooking:
1. Perhaps "Princess" in the title was too much...pushed away certain demos.
2. Eisner and company did more damage to the Disney "brand" in animation more than any of us realize. The years of sequels, in your face homogenized merchandise lines, and the like exploited the classics in ways that did real damage to the way the public at large sees "Disney" animation. Perhaps 1 film alone cannot reverse that...

Anonymous said...

And this is why the comment section of this blog is a complete waste of time. Everything turns into political fighting.

Steve. You are a complete ass for not moderating these comments. Unless of course you enjoy it. Which wouldn't surprise me.

However, I suspect this comment will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

I personally enjoy the political bickering and, ironically, also enjoy the anonymous above being annoyed by it all.

Floyd Norman said...

Plus, it's so much fun to watch Anonymous fight with Anonymous.

I hate to take sides, but I'm siding with Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I always felt John L. Co. and drew in the Disney fashion and all of their films look, feel, and animate with the Disney stamp, so seeing this Rapunzel still just is no surprise. More Disney eyes, attitude, hands, facial construction, everything. If anyone is guilty of not pushing the design envelope away from Disney, it's Pixar. Not that they have to. Just saying.

And Ding, Dong, the Wicked Witch of the South may be dead!

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps looking for the triumphant return of traditional animation. I have a feeling that traditional animation's legacy may be the aesthetic influence it has had on CG animation.

As a process for making film, 2d is tedious and expensive. The production process places a lot of limits on what can be done with it.

CG is a process that has absolutely no limitations, other than the limitations of the people using it. The technologies and the aesthetic sophistication of the people using that technology expand every day.

What's the last great innovation in the 2d process? Multi-plane camera? In early Disney film making, the technological and aesthetic innovations went hand in hand.

IMO our dear departed Uncle Walt would have declared the traditional animation process dead long before Katzenberg or Eisner, if he had lived to see the possibilities of it of the CG palette.

Steve Hulett said...

In case anybody's wondering, I've removed most of the Limbaugh sub-forum. We're talking here about animation.

Steve. You are a complete ass for not moderating these comments. Unless of course you enjoy it. Which wouldn't surprise me.

However, I suspect this comment will be deleted.


Wrong, anon. Your comment stands.

(And for the record, I wish for El Rushbo a speedy recovery, long life, and an enlightened attitude toward humanity.)

Now. Back to Toonville.

Anonymous said...

I as a regular person enjoyed Princess & the Frog, all animators are just too close to the process and horrible art snobs!!

Anonymous said...

why would anyone on here want Disney to fall and disappear. Without Disney there would be no Pixar or Dreamworks. I think John L understands that and wants to keep 2D animation alive at the studio. I mean come on..half of you jokers prob wouldnt be animators if Walt Disney didnt push the industry. You should want Disney to succeed out of respect to animation in general. Did you wish for Warner Brothers to fall as well..?! Most of the animators (if you are animators) that post on here sound like little kids most of the time. TP & TF was not Disney's best film and wasnt the worst. The animators worked hard to make it and I am proud of the work of my friends who touched the film. I think any studio can try to push but if you really want to do ground breaking things in animation...guess what... DO IT YOURSELF AND STOP WAITING AND WANTING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TOO! Be a new Walt ..be a new John L....Be a new Jeffery... Either that or if you work in a studio..TRY to be a new voice...if you are scared to..then you are scared, but if you try..you can say you tried to change things while you were there!

Anonymous said...

The above is certainly written by yet another "fan" who hasn't a clue about real life in studios or much of anywhere in the actual, everyday working entertainment world.

(By the way, what are you talking about when you reference "Warner Brothers"? They have no animation division I'm aware of, save the TV unit-nothing as far as feature films go.)

I'm a working animator and I'm fairly sure I can tell from the tone and expressed ideas who else here is. They don't write "like little kids". The visiting fan types, on the other hand, do.

Don't presume to tell actual professionals, none of whom you know, what to do as if it's some brainstorm that the sad hacks at Disney, DW etc etc haven't yet stumbled upon.
You have no idea how any of this works. You obviously never will, either.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify my wishes.........I don't want animation to die or 2-D or CGI to die......I just want the Disney Corporation to DIE!!!
Belly up!
Let the other studios reign for a while.

Arlo said...

"And no, it doesn't "blow the doors" off of anything. It's a cute animation for a videogame. "

Actually, yes it does.

That animation is the finest current day example of pushing the limits of technological advancements. Its movement is snappy and stylized in a way not yet seen in a feature. It has a unique aesthetic to it and the depth and colors are rich and interesting.

You must be a mouth breathing fanboy(big surprise in here) if you can't appreciate the look of that animation.

More on that trailer here:
http://tinyurl.com/lo38e6

I'd wager dollars to donuts that the dinosaurs who headed up TP&TF don't even know that that animation exists.

Anonymous said...

I dont want Disney to die, I just want them to make good movies.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Wanting them to die and let the "other studios reign" sounds like sour grapes. Besides, when was the last time Disney (not Pixar) reigned? Its been a long time.

I think the Rapunzel image looks pretty bad ass.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

Well, Happy New Year, everyone! Nice to see the TAG "boards" going out with a bang! Thanks again, Steve for another great year! Cheers, Bob

Rodger said...

I've gotten in the habit of Watching "The Prince of Egypt" every 31st of December (if I'm at home) and during the ritual this year I had a flashback to 11 years ago when it had just came out. It was probably the most pivotal animation that moved me to seriously become a animator, a hand animator at that...

It was not the most high grossing film, nor the most universally loved, but little things like the changing of lighting in the background art and subtlety of the expressions in characters that gave me chills of excitement, even to this day.

I worked...bullshit...fought for the past 8 years to become an animator. Everyone in my art school thought I was crazy, they had no formal tools or courses in hand-drawn animation, I had to learn everything through trial and error ( and a great deal of help from Williams book) as well as watching tons of animation from around the world trying to figure out how the hell they nailed their timing. In 2004 we had a special guest from Pixar come to the campus and tell us about how they got tons of Demo Reels everyday, who they would put them in the VHS during lunch and continue their conversation with their partner, unless something on the screen caught their attention, otherwise they would just throw them out...if not just toss em' when they arrived in the mail, for where could you put the poor bums? most of the ground level positions were done for 5 cents an hour in Korea or Taiwan... That was great for morale.

Some of you had the privilege to actually work on productions that if not beloved by tons of people, were at least cherished by a few for one reason or another...

I don't give a damn whether my work drives me into a 2 car garage or my grave, I love animating by hand because I can. Someone above stated that the hand drawn animator is limited where the computer provides endless possibilities... Bullshit! I know I can draw out anything the computer can if I'm given the time (and motivation). It's the bondage of impatience and money that put restraint on a good animator.

2d animation may have lost it's ability to generate massive amounts of $, but with the rise of the free web, how long will it be before all of us have to find new ways generate ANY profit in a world where you can easily be undercut by the foreign market.

That is the 2012 of the industry, but I envision a small city in the U.S. where a private artist makes their own films and displays them for a short period in a small independent theater with a reasonable entrance fee, eeking out a moderate living from a community of local fans looking to escape their Grey lives for a couple hours each month.

Who knows what the future will be like, but for now, in honor of all the hand animators of the past, I salute you all wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

r said...

Rapunzel is almost blending with the background on this pic. The character design is nice, if a tad on the unoriginal side.

The teaser better be awesome. And it would be nice for Disney to do a good movie every once in a while. And do away with the tired formulaic cliche's it has relied on for the last 15 years.

rufus

Anonymous said...

I know I can draw out anything the computer can if I'm given the time (and motivation).
>>>>>

That's awesome. Show us. I'm excited to see what fresh vision you can bring.

I still love great paintings and I admire artists who love to paint. However, if you want to be culturally relevant, painting is probably not where its at.

2d is probably the "painting" equivalent for animation for the foreseeable future. For better and worse.

Anonymous said...

"...I'm a working animator and I'm fairly sure I can tell from the tone and expressed ideas who else here is. They don't write "like little kids". The visiting fan types, on the other hand, do..."


ha-ha... I am a fan and a working professional... at one of the big studios. ...all I hear is complaining on this blog most of the time. Talk about little kids..look at your response. Quick to bring someone down. If it was written by a fan who cares...you would spit in their face because they like the studios and are not crippled by the politics? I want every studio to do well so my friends and I can continue to do what we love...animate (and I didn't just start in the industry)! Most of the good artists I know dont let office politics cripple them. Artists who have drive and desire keep going and make things happen for themselves (Shane Acker for example). Say something negative about what he did because I know you will, but guess what...he didn't complain he made something happen.

There will always be politics, but where i am from...the guys that cry and don't do anything about getting kicked get broken down real quick. So at a young age you learn to step up fast! So how it works is.... you stop complaining, press forward, make something cool on your own if you feel what you are working on is lack luster, and be happy you have a job if you are working as an animator/artist because you could be doing something much worse.

in other words MAN UP!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you're bickering over "American Animation" Japan has pretty much wiped the floor with all of you for the past 20 years or more!!

Just lay down and accpet your fates and fade away into nothing.

Anonymous said...

Once again the animation industry proves that they are the absolute best at Eating Their Own!

Vot den? said...

Roger,

"Prince of Egypt" on December 31? Not Passover?

Anonymous said...

Just lay down and accpet your fates and fade away into nothing.

I worked on an American movie last year that made over 500 million worldwide.

Excuse me while I fade away into nothing...

t said...

<"I still love great paintings and I admire artists who love to paint. However, if you want to be culturally relevant, painting is probably not where its at.

2d is probably the "painting" equivalent for animation for the foreseeable future. For better and worse.">

Um...no. Painting and other more "traditional" art-forms are just as "relevant" as ever. In fact, they're still the core. I suggest taking a look at the current hardcore art world...

Anonymous said...

I suggest taking a look at the current hardcore art world...
>>>>>>>>>

Um...my point exactly. The hardcore art world caters to a very small group of art buyers in major cities.

When I say culturally relevant, I'm talking about its impact on the broader audience. I'm talking about where the truly interesting new stuff is taking place. I'm talking about what will be the most important influences looking back 100 years from now.

It's not painting.

Anonymous said...

__truly interesting new stuff is taking place.

well, cultural relevance definitely isn't happening in CG animation, that is for sure. in film - yes. films like persepolis, which is a film first, animation second - yes. Wall-E scratched the surface, Up perhaps. but there is a lot of infantile storytelling in both. Most CG unfortunately falls victim to the Lucas/Spielberg school of studio movie production, for better or worse. nothing has changed since that stupid shark. it would be far better in animation if more CG movie people at the studios and on the creative side would acknowledge the fact that the stupid thing didn't work in the first place, and that the stupid thing takes up about five percent of total screen time, the remaining balance dedicated to good storytelling, good writing, good acting, and of course, good directing.

Anonymous said...

Not suggesting CG has made its mark yet. Only that it is where the greatest possibilities lie.

r said...

the stupid thing keeps animators employed.

rufus

Anonymous said...

yes. agreed. tail wags dog. no different than in DC.

Anonymous said...

Why would ANYONE watch Prince of Egypt? It's just awful. BAD animation, compositions, and color.

And truly horrendous music.

There's a reason it flopped...

Anonymous said...

The Beatles opening is truly nice. It has a very interesting look. However, I don't think that would hold up for a feature length film. The characters are dry and need more.

Not saying you can't build off of it for a feature. But that look in of itself wouldn't cut it. imo.

t said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t said...

"When I say culturally relevant, I'm talking about its impact on the broader audience. I'm talking about where the truly interesting new stuff is taking place. I'm talking about what will be the most important influences looking back 100 years from now.
It's not painting."

No, it's not, because painting already made its mark.
But we could not have gotten where we are today without the foundation of drawing, painting, sculpture, etc...In fact, while the tools of making art have changed, what is being made is not that different from those in antiquity...sculpture, ceramics, paintings... They may be more mass produced, but they didn't go anywhere.
The computer is simply a new tool that opens up new possibilities. Does that mean it can't co-exist with more traditional mediums?

And while the major art buyers are a small group, people still put up artwork in their homes, whether they be mass produced or from local artists sold at reasonable prices. Even if it's digital artwork, that artist had to start somewhere. The best I know still start with a pencil or paintbrush...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to simply throw out the past...you build upon it.

g said...

Not every movie (animated or otherwise) can be, or SHOULD be, an art-house film.

Sometimes, you just like a good old fashioned "Spielberg" movie.

Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to simply throw out the past...you build upon it.
>>>>>

I was talking about painting with a capital "P". Obviously drawing, painting, sculpture and yes traditional animation are as important as ever for developing new aesthetic ideas.

As I said earlier, i think traditional animation's greatest legacy will be its influence on the aesthetic of CG and beyond. These skills are as important as ever. The only difference is that the general audience is no longer so interested in the more basic forms as stand-alone entertainment.

Site Meter