Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Rabbit's Progress

Robert Zemeckis, in the course of beating the tom tom for Christmas Carol, tells us this:

"There's a script that's being developed [for a Roger Rabbit sequel.] We've got the original writers that are working on it now — Seaman and Price ..."

"I think there was a time right after the movie came out that the Disney regime at the time — it was a point in the life of the studio where if you made a successful movie they could no longer afford to hire you back. ... I guess there were some projects that I don't know anything about ...."

The great animation myth is that Little Mermaid was the animated feature that kicked off "The Second Golden Age," of Toonage. But face it, there was a slow and steady accumulation before Mermaid happened.

Mr. Spielberg and Don Bluth produced American Tale for a pittance and it was a sizable hit. Land Before Time (the first one, not the 552 sequels) did well, and Disney's Oliver & Co., the first Disney animated feature of the Eisner-Jeffrey Katzenberg era, performed nicely.

Then Little Mermaid was released in November 1989 and did way more than nicely.

But before Disney's Burbank animation division took flight, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? one of the last animation-live action hybrids of the hand-drawn era, became one of the Mouse House's biggest grossers.

I would even say that RR, as much as the young mermaid, kicked off the heightened consciousness everyone has today about animation, so it's nice to see that there might soon be a sequel to this 1980s tent-pole.


Anonymous said...

In my mind it was always Roger Rabbit that got things started.

I remember going to it and being stunned, having thought that all the people who could do full animation were dead or retired.

I realize now that there was always some activity going on, but somehow by claiming to be retro it made things new again. Can't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

You can quibble all you want about what film started what, but the one thing RR did was to make it okay for adults to go to 2D animation - at least, for awhile.
It wasn't because RR was a good film (it wasn't by any stretch), but because they had Jessica in it and that instantly allowed adults to view it as more than the kids fare that it had been considered for decades.
Another 2D RR (with Jessica, of course) just might do that again - though I have my doubts Zemekis has anything in mind for it but mo-cap.
And I doubt that Frog Proincess will make that same claim - making 2D cool again for adults.

Anonymous said...

bet he'll do it mo-cap.

Anonymous said...

From a director's POV (especially a live-action director) it makes sense. On RR he had to trust a long drawn out process where an animation director (Williams and later Baer) gave their input to multiple animators that gave their input into a final performance that Zemekis wouldn''t see until long months later. With Mo-cap he can shoot the performance and basically walk away with the knowledge it will still be his direction that makes it onto the screen.
I'm not saying he's right or even gets a decent performance on screen finally, but I can understand why he would prefer it.

AND to top it off if an actor is a pain in the ass and doesn't give him exactly what he wants (since actors can have a mind of their own) he can have an animator tweak it so he gets what he set out to shoot.

Anonymous said...

>AND to top it off if an actor is a pain in the ass and doesn't give him exactly what he wants (since actors can have a mind of their own) he can have an animator tweak it so he gets what he set out to shoot.

What a shite way to work. What's the point of making a film if the goal is to artificially construct 'exactly' what the director wants? God forbid actors have minds of their own. And ADs. And cinematographers. And cameramen. And every other professional that brings their 'mind' to the table. God, we can't have that now.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Eric Goldberg is going to direct the animation. Great news for the project!

Anonymous said...

Little Mermaid, The Brave Little Toaster, and then Family Dog and The Simpsons predated Roger Rabbit, and were the shows responsible for changing the tone of animation in general.

Roger Rabbit was reasonably successful (more overseas than domestically, where, after prints and advertising, it made just a little over it's cost. It's a mess of a movie, and the animation is quite spotty, and mostly mushy. I can forgive the mushy animation, but the film as a whole is quite awful, with just enough plot to get lost in Zemeckis' love of technology.

If true, the rumours of Eric Goldberg supervising the animation on a sequel is a HUGE plus. He understands "character" better than most of the animation in the original film exhibits.

Anonymous said...

roger rabbitt would be better off without zemeckis. hes lost something over the years.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that could save this is if Goldberg really did direct the animation and there was no performance cap.

Anonymous said...

Disney should ask Brad Bird to write and direct the film.

Anonymous said...

brad bird, there you go.

leave zemeckis to beowolf 2

Anonymous said...

He ought to just get to it and make a zombie movie. That would take care of the "uncanny valley."

Anonymous said...

I heard its going to be CG even if its not motion capture.

Blue Sky should do it then. They're the only ones Ive seen who can make CG feel like 2D.

Floyd Norman said...

I love the idea of Brad Bird writing and directing.

Zemeckis should simply go away and play with his toys. Like Lucas, he stopped being a film maker years ago.

Anonymous said...

Brad would NEVER want to do such a project, ever.

If he was the sort to take on that kind of assigment he'd have about 10 more films on his resume already. Thank god he's virtually the one lone guy in animation who doesn't go for the brass ring every time it's offered by his management. Mind you, he's paid a price for it, but I'm sure he'd do it all the same way again and has zero regrets.

Anonymous said...

Wow...usually there are folks telling us what Walt would or wouldn't do and now we have someone telling us what Brad would or wouldn't do....

Anonymous said...

At least they're finally being smart enough to do a sequel instead of a prequel. They already had to leave out (or "they weren't discovered yet") several toons from the first one due to the date of the story. Why go back in time further? If the studios are looking for quick money (like they're not) then they'd try to incorporate Simpsons, etc as well as the classics so more people are likely to watch. prequel doesn't do that!

The bigger question to me is if Spielberg is involved to the same extent as last time & if so does that mean we'd see Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, etc in the film since it'd be the only opportunity for those Amblin/WB toons to do something new??

Anonymous said...

"Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, etc in the film since it'd be the only opportunity for those Amblin/WB toons to do something new??"

GOD, I hope not. How awful, ugly, and unfunny could they think of making this?

And seeing as how Speilberg now distributes via Disney, I'm betting he's involved.

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