Friday, December 19, 2008

On the Friday Links

(c) Disney Co. via ASIFA Animation Archives ... click on the image to enlarge it and, you know, SEE it better.

More linkage for a Friday afternoon ...

The animated feature The Tale of Despereaux comes rolling to town, and we get to see how the box office holds up stateside. Visually, the trailer blew me away, but who knows how it holds up story-wise?

“Our goal was to give Despereaux, the other characters and the settings in [the mythical European town of] Dor a painterly, atmospheric look,” says Despereaux production designer Evgeni Tomov. “Much like the rich Flemish paintings, Dor and its citizens needed to look as if they belonged in the Middle Ages. We knew they should not only be beautiful, but also moving and emotionally engaging. We wanted this organic, immersive quality to the film. We deliberately chose a very muted and subtle palette. We did not want saturated, vinyl or obviously digital colors.”

Framestore Animation created the visual style in a computer-generated environment by applying traditional painting techniques. Painters created 2-D digital matte paintings and also touched up 3-D renders with minute detail. They were seeking the look of the paintings of the Flemish masters, who often let detail fall off into shadows in their work and added sharper detail in the focal area ....

Jeffrey Katzenberg continues the drum beating for 3-D:

... Taking advantage of the advances, Katzenberg said he had retooled his studio to work exclusively in 3-D from the first storyboard.

That contrasts with the approach of other studios, which have typically animated films in 2-D and then post-produced them in 3-D (such as Walt Disney Animation Studio's "Bolt").

After seeing the system in action, I think that 3-D is going to be the dominant theater format in the next 2-6 years. It's way better than the 1950s version.

Oscar pundits -- many of whom you and I have never heard -- handicap the odds for Wall-E getting a Best Picture nomination:

T.L. Stanley (Gold Rush, isn't optimistic: "As much as I'd like to see it happen — "Wall-E" was one of my favorites this year — I doubt it will." Ed Douglas ( pooh-poohed the notion: "There are too many good live-action films vying for those five spots."

... Mark Harris (Entertainment Weekly) and Scott Feinberg (Feinberg Files, The Envelope) both point to a key factor — how Oscar voting works, technically speaking. "Wall-E" has a lot of passionate supporters. "When I think about the importance of the preferential ballot, 'Wall-E' strikes me as a movie that's going to get a lot of No. 1 votes,"

It's simple. Once in a long while, an animated film will get nominated for the Top Slot. Who knows? Maybe Wall-E will be the second film to get tapped. But an animated feature has the same chance of actually winning Best Picture as Michael Moore becoming the next Republican Senator from Michigan.

Audioholics reviews a new c.g. animated feature that most people will overlook this yuletide season:

Degeneration will whet your appetite for the upcoming Resident Evil 5 video game. It’s a departure from the live action movies that came before it. This installment of the film is taken into the universe of the original video game. Gone is Milla Javovich’s Alice for Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy, names that fans of the video game series will find familiar.

This new direct-to-video release will be available on Blu-ray or DVD on December 27th. It’s a computer animated movie that probably wouldn’t have received much attention at the box office. But the film is a professional production worthwhile to any anime fan and a must-see for fans of either the video games or movies ...

Real Estate Booklyn has a fine history of young Max Fleischer, to wit:

... In 1900, 17-year-old [Max] Fleischer took a fateful bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge to the downtown offices of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He finagled a meeting with Herbert Ardell, then director of the Eagle's art department. Max wanted to pay the Eagle $2 dollars a week to learn the craft from his idols. Ardell instead offered Max a salary of $2 dollars a week to run the art department's errands. Soon he was doing work far beyond the usual chores ...

It was just a short logical leap from Fleischer's Daily Eagle-era comic-strips to flipbooks on the screen to animation ...

ASIFA's Animation Archives has some dandy Disney Christmas cards (see above) from way back, when the studio gifted their employees with Warm Holiday Wishes each season (I remember when we got some of these).

Lastly, an edgy take on the non-animation Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life, linked here because of the resonance the film has in these interesting financial times:

... Think about it: In one scene George helps bring manufacturing to Bedford Falls. But since the era of “It’s a Wonderful Life” manufacturing in upstate New York has suffered terribly.

On the other hand, Pottersville, with its nightclubs and gambling halls, would almost certainly be in much better financial shape today. It might well be thriving ...

May each of you thrive over the holidays, and far beyond.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's 'cause I'm overwhelmed with the holidays at the moment, but my first thought was "Yuck! Who squished Jiminy?"

Anonymous said...

"there are too many live action films vying..."?!?

I'd like to know which ones, this year was such a dissapointment on the live action side of things.


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