Friday, December 26, 2008

The Post Christmas Linkorama

While you're digesting the rich food that will soon bulk up your waistline, peruse the Links of Toonage ...

Beginning with an interview with animation director Ari Folman:

[Waltz With Bashir] is such a beautiful and strange film. But it's such an unlikely subject for animation. Why did you decide to tell a true story about your memories of the Lebanon war as an animated film?

You know, when you write a story you imagine it, and the scenes in my mind were always drawn, always animated. So there was not another option. I would never do it any other way. And, honestly, I think I wouldn't be sitting here with you today if this was not an animated film. You wouldn't care about what happened to a guy like me 25 years ago, when I was just a common soldier in Lebanon, if you weren't told, "Oh, it's a very cool animated film. You have to see this film."

As a filmmaker it gave me total freedom to do whatever I liked. To go from one dimension to another. To go from real stories to the subconscious to dreams to hallucinations to drugs to fear of death to anxiety, everything. I had the liberty to play with everything in one story line ...

(Add On: The L.A. Times has a new article about WWB and Mr. Folman here.)

Wallace and Gromit might not have set the world afire at the theatrical box office, but they're doing quite nicely on British television.

A Matter Of Loaf & Death, the first new made-for-television adventure starring the animated pair in 13 years, was watched by an average of 14.3 million people, the highest figure for any programme on British television this year ...

[BBC One Controller Jay Hunt said:] "More than half of all people watching television tuned in to watch Wallace & Gromit's latest adventure. This is a phenomenal performance and one that confirms once again BBC One's position as the nation's favourite at Christmas."

Despite the increasing popularity of video games and the internet, it appears that families still enjoy slumping in front of the television on Christmas Day. The average total television audience in peak time was 24.4 million, up from 23.8 million in 2007.

In little more than a month, Toon Disney magically transforms into Disney XD, which is fortuitous, since live action will be rearing its head on the rebranded platform:

Beginning in February, Toon Disney will morph into the newly named Disney XD. There won't be any High School Musical or Hannah Montana on this Disney network. Instead, this multi-platform brand will feature both live-action and animated fare that appeals to the mud-eating, snot-blowing, rough-and-tumble crowd of boys, tweens and teens. In addition to current Toon Disney fare like Jetix, there will be a number of new shows on XD as well.

The new offerings include Aaron Stone, about a video gaming teen who is secretly being trained as a super agent; Zeke & Luther, a mockumentary about two skateboarders and their quest to become the best in the world; and Kid Knievel, an animated show about a young boy trying to become the world's greatest daredevil ...

And you'll be pleased to know that Bugs Bunny's greatest hits are being played live and in-person by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra:

The names Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn don't appear on any list of the great composers of our time. They should be. At least that's what George Daugherty thought back in 1990.

The San Francisco-based conductor developed the super popular Bugs Bunny on Broadway concert series as a way to celebrate the musical genius of the two Warner Brothers cartoon studio musical directors.

For a symphony orchestra to tackle playing live scores to Bugs Bunny hits such as "What's Opera Doc?" or "The Rabbit of Seville" is, in many ways, far more challenging than a Mozart or Brahms concerto. In other words, it's a lot of fun for the musicians ...

Because once you've seen Elmer Fudd chasing about on screen singing "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit," you will never hear Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" the same way again, whether in concert or in Apocalypse Now.

"That's really why I'm still doing this project after almost 20 years," says Daugherty. "This material is so brilliant that it just doesn't get old." ...

Box Office Prophets does a profile of Pixar's upcoming The Bear and the Bow, a trip into classical fairy tale country for the Emeryville studio:

The Bear and the Bow is set in a mythical Scotland and follows the royal family King Fergus (Billy Connolly), Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), Princess Merida (Reese Witherspoon) and her three little brothers. Merida wants to pursue her dream of becoming an archer. However, due to her reckless decisions she inadvertently brings disaster and destruction to her father’s kingdom. Realising what she’s done, Merida tries to set things right. Along the way she meets a 15-foot bear and a witch (voiced by Julie Walters).

Across the Pacific, the Philippines has produced its first animated feature:

“Dayo: Sa Mundo ng Elementalia,” the only animated feature in this month’s Metro Manila Film Festival, garnered an A grade from the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB).

Directed by Robert Quilao and produced by Cutting Edge Productions, “Dayo” received enthusiastic praises from board members.

“It’s very Filipino, but very hip,” said one reviewer ...

Have a restful weekend. And if you're able, take a long winter's nap.


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