Friday, May 30, 2008

Chewable Links

Now with Add ons!

Joseph Gilland opines about animation peaks and valleys:

In the late '80s, after a string of relatively dismal feature films, Disney pulled its head out of its rear and in 1991 released Beauty and the Beast, the first animated feature ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. With the hugely successful Aladdin being released a year later, and Jeffrey Katzenberg leaving Disney to form DreamWorks Animation just as The Lion King became the highest-grossing classically animated film in history, the animation renaissance of the early '90s was on ...

... while the Shrek films continue to pull in incredible (sick) amounts of money at the box office thanks entirely to clever writing and highbrow poo-poo humor, and Pixar's offerings are still looking pretty strong, we have watched the market once again become saturated with mediocre content, and animation consumers and critics have grown sick and tired of the same old films, rehashed over and over.

Obvious point drawn here: in the movie and teevee biz, imitation is de rigeur. Always. (There were twenty-something television westerns on the tube when I was a kid. Westerns sold.)

And Ron Musker is directing Princess and the Frog. Good to know.

Let the franchise building begin! Tink comes to a DVD display case near you in just a few short months (and John Lasseter rolls out the first installment here):

The computer-animated Tinker Bell, out Oct. 28 on DVD and Blu-ray ($30 and $35), is the first of four fairy films in the works, a new one launching each year.

The movie represents something bigger, too: a refocusing of Disney's straight-to-DVD strategy. The studio will stop releasing sequels of classics such as Bambi, Lady and the Tramp and Cinderella, which have been a rich source of revenue. (Last year's Cinderella III, for instance, took in more than $80 million, estimates the Redhill Group tracking firm.) Instead, they'll go for "more original work, original stories," says John Lasseter ...

"We're creating a whole new mythology," says Lasseter, who oversees the Disney/Pixar home-video originals as well as theatrical releases ...

TAG President Emeritus Tom Sito profiles animation instructor/guru Dave Masters:

For over 30 years, Dave Master has been in the business of educating people, bringing the collective wisdom of animation professionals to a broad cross-section of young artists. Whether at a low-income high school on the outskirts of Los Angeles, as manager of a Warner Bros. training program, or as an Internet pioneer, Dave has made it his mission to give everyone a shot at becoming an animator.

How did a bearded hippie radical hospital workers union organizer become one of the foremost animation educators in the USA? ...

And of course there are hand-drawn animated features being done at places besides Disney. Here is one ...

...[I]t is the turn of an animated mythological "Dashavatar", about Lord Vishnu's 10 incarnations, to entertain the audiences ...

[T]he 115 minute 2D animated feature weaves together the fascinating stories of Lord Rama and Krishna, Parashuram, Vaman, Narasimha and Buddha, and how they descended on earth to rid the world of evil and save mankind ...

"The music actually forms the narrative part of the story. There is a fun number, when Mohini distributes the nectar as the Asuras watch. Another is a children's song with lots of fantasy," said Thakore.

Princess and the Frog, move over.

We wouldn't be doing justice to this festival of links or ... hell ... life itself if we didn't include another Andrew Stanton interview:

I knew that I had to tell the story with the Earth. I had to tell a lot of history. I had to tell what's happened over 1,000 years. That almost dictated what everything was. You wanted a city that felt sort like, sort of what Shanghai's starting to feel like now. Or Dubai. And then you had to have trash towers that were amongst that because you're telling a history that you haven't seen yet. And now you're also telling the demise of that history, and then the way to try to solve the problem of that past history, and now the sort of dystopian result of that... it's so layered. It was a real brain-tease. Every shot counted. It was thrilling to solve it because every part of the buffalo is used on that. But that's really what drove everything. Just telling the story of that. But then we knew again we wanted the future to be cool.

Wall-E comes out June 27th, so the interviews will go on ... review Jeny Elig looks favorably on 2008 Animation Show #4:

Curated by ... Mike Judge, the 2008 Animation Show #4 brings together the works of animators for an eye-popping program that extends far beyond your expectations for a cartoon.

Or, as Hank Hill would say, "What the hell?"

Toon Zone offers a lengthy interview of voice actor Bob Bergen, who broke into the cartoon voice biz after inspiration from Mel Blanc:

I just knew I wanted to be Porky Pig, so I figure, "I'll just call Mel Blanc and say, 'Listen, I know you're of retirement age, and I'd be happy to help out.'" So, I started looking in the phone book under "Mel Blanc," and I couldn't find him because he wasn't listed in the phone book under "Mel Blanc," but I did find his number under his wife's first initial, "E. Blanc" in Pacific Palisades. So I called and I bugged the conversation. I have it on tape.

Throughout that conversation, I realized, "OK, this is an industry, this is something that you have to pursue as a whole, you can't just go after a character." And the odds were against me to go after one character, but my goal was to go after one character. So I wanted to get into the business ...

Add on: Nothing in the internet age is ever lost. Via the Creative Talent Network, a Disney volleyball game circa 1980 narrated live by John Little Mermad, Alladin, Hercules Musker. Among the players: Tim Burton (who went on to direct a few live-action hits, I'm told), and the chairman of WDP Ron Miller.

Add on #2: Dustin Hoffman reflects on his first animation role in Kung Fu Panda:

I was afraid master Shifu was going to be one- or two-dimensional. I felt maybe we could add that he finds out he's wrong about something. That would come from a certain insight, which by definition could be a third dimension. If you look at people who are never wrong, they seem to be two-dimensional, much like our current administration.

Add on #3: Sleeping Beauty comes to Blu Ray!

The Walt Disney Co. is set to rerelease the 1959 animated feature "Sleeping Beauty" in October in Blu-ray with chat, trivia and video-messaging functions, just as its rerelease of "Snow White" on DVD in 2000 introduced a then-revolutionary animated menu.

"'Snow White' made the mass market wake up to the potential of DVD and helped demystify the technology," said Bob Chapek, president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Worldwide. "'Sleeping Beauty' on Blu-ray a decade later represents much the same thing."

Game changer? Uuuh. I guess we'll see.

Have a scintillating weekend.


Anonymous said...

"we have watched the market once again become saturated with mediocre content, and animation consumers and critics have grown sick and tired of the same old films, rehashed over and over"

Get ready for "Wall-e" then. It is about as far from the "same-old" as you can get. I got to see it last night and it is nothing less than astonishing. A love story with robots that is so emotional and touching. Robots who teach humans how to be human again. And it is the best looking film so far this year of any released or on the horizon. The animation is virtually ALL pantomime--and is so entertaining. I can't wait to see it again! What an amazing risk Pixar took--and it really pays off in spades.

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