Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Sunday Linkfest

... of animation here and abroad.

Disney is making a push for Wall-E snagging the "best picture" Oscar:

Walt Disney is in. Last week the studio started a campaign that boldly offers its "WALL-E" as a contender for the best picture Oscar, an honor never won by an animated film ...

"WALL-E," from Disney's Pixar unit, emerged as a darling of the critics for its adult sensibility, in addition to its heavily detailed computer animation. The film, the story of a lovesick robot, tackles a serious topic (environmentalism) while taking huge risks (such as a 45-minute stretch with almost no dialogue).

As early as midsummer, Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal's film critic, was saying "WALL-E" should be considered for best picture. Only one animated film, Disney's 1991 "Beauty and the Beast," has ever been nominated for best picture.

Off in Moscow, the Really Big Festival of 'Toons has rolled out this weekend.

... [T]he Big Festival of Animated Films will allow adults with an affection for animation to lay eyes on a wealth of shorts and full-length features for a taller audience.

"I think we may have even made it too big this year, too mammoth," admitted Maria Tereshchenko, one of the program directors for the second edition of the festival, which has more than 300 films showing this year. "We wanted more premieres because last year was mostly Russian cartoons, and there are only so many new films coming out every year in one country. So we looked more to foreign ones this year."

And foreign films they have in impressive abundance. Within the lists of featured films in the 12 different programs are award-winning pictures from six countries as well as sections dedicated exclusively to Portuguese, Hungarian and Korean animation ...

Ben Stiller and Chris Rock riff on the joys of doing voice-work for animated features (specifically Madagascar Deux):

Rock says animation does throw him a bit. "There's no audience, and the audience dictates a lot to me. The audience dictates my ad libs. I'll tell a joke on my HBO specials and, depending on how the audience reacts, I'll try to add more or move on. Working in a sound booth is weird. The two directors are in another booth silently laughing."

Stiller adds, "You're doing this stuff and improvising. Then you look up in the booth and you can't hear anything, but I swear once I did hear the two directors ordering out for lunch."

(The guys also talk about it here.)

For Mouse House freaks, there is This Week In Disney History. And I had forgotten about this nugget:

1977: Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (the first film with animation in which none of the “Nine Old Men” were involved) premieres.

While none of the Big Nine were involved (they were doing early animation on The Fox and the Hound), there were veteran Disney animators -- some who'd been at the studio since the late forties -- who did lots of work on Pete.

Speaking of DreamWorks Animation, the company beat analysts's expectations with third quarter earnings, though earning declined:

Driven by the worldwide box office of "Kung Fu Panda," DreamWorks Animation reported net income of $37.4 million, or 41 cents a share, down 21% from the same quarter a year earlier, when it released "Shrek the Third." Revenue fell 6% to $151.5

"Kung Fu Panda," released in June, generated more than $630 million in worldwide ticket sales. Although a blockbuster, it wasn't able to top "Shrek the Third," which has sold $799 million in worldwide tickets.

Still, the Glendale-based studio's earnings beat Wall Street's expectations

And, to nobody's surprise, David Geffen is bidding adieu to the old S-K-G configuration:

Katzenberg, chief executive officer of the Glendale, California-based animation studio, announced Geffen's departure on a conference call today following quarterly earnings.

``David, you will remain the guardian angel of DreamWorks Animation,'' Katzenberg said on the call.

Geffen continues to hold 22 percent of the voting shares and 5.7 percent of the common stock ...

Add On: ASIFA Hollywood Archives' presents some of Mark Kirkland's most excellent Bambi art.

A few factoids about Disney's fifth* and final pre-WWII animated feature.

Bambi was the first feature put into work after Snow White. Disney veteran Mel Shaw told me that Walt put a small group of artists into an apartment building near the Hyperion Studio to begin work on the picture in 1938.

Frank Thomas told me that Walt came to a low boil at one of the previews of the film. At the most somber point in the picture, where Bambi cries out for his dead mother in the snow, some wise-guy in the balcony yelled: "Heere I am, Bambii! Here I aam!" Walt was not happy.

Bambi (per Mel Shaw) was the first animated feature where the color schematics were choreographed for the entire picture, keyed into theme and mood.

Have a joyous Sunday ... and don't forget to vote.

* The films preceding "Bambi": "Snow White", "Pinocchio", "Fantasia", and "Dumbo." I exclude the feature "The Reluctant Dragon", since it has a mess of live-action in it.

"Bambi" was released after Pearl Harbor, but it most likely would have rolled out prior to the U.S. entry into the war if the '41 strike had been avoided.


Daniel said...

Thanks for mentioning Netcot's article. I work hard to put the Disney History articles out every week (I'm just a contributor) while the real brains behind the site (Van) puts out the best Disney podcast this side of the Pacific as well as quality Disney News.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm..never thought it was Oscar material. The first part was nice, with the robot's little daily routine and subsequent discovering of the huge ship taking his robot pal away..the rest of it was just weird...the usual chaotic mayhem with robots chasing each other around, weird looking CGI of overweight people and the heavy handed message about human indulgence. It was like two movies spliced into one..plot points that didn't make much sense, taking away from the real charm of the movie...Wall E and his quest to save his "girlfriend."

It's not that it wasn't *good*, nor do I have any bais towards any particular studio, but this one just didn't hit the mark, at least for me. The sweet clever parts sort of gave away to some very weird out of place ideas that didn't totally work..a live action president? Clever maybe when done a different way..just kinda weird and out of place this way.

As far as "Presto" at the start...beautiful animation..but nothing..nothing nothing still beats Tex Avery.


Anonymous said...

WALL-E first 40 minutes great. the rest was a let down. I would be very surprised if its nominated for best picture. But lets see what live action lemons the academy chooses this year and I may rethink my opinion real quick.

Anonymous said...

If they're so sure it deserves a Best Picture Award will they have the guts not to submit it for Best Animated Film?

Personally I doubt it stands a chance of being nominated much less winning Best Picture.
Most of the AMPAS memebership is made up of Actors...which weren't very well represented in this film...and every member nominates for Best Picture - Best Animated picture has a tiny nomination committee by comparison and half of them are in the animated film biz.

Anonymous said...

IMO, it does not deserve a best picture nomination. Not even close.

But then again,where is this year's "There will be blood"? or "No country for old men"?


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