Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Linkorama of Toondom

New links, new stories, new joys and new heartaches, starting with the unhappiness of Mr. Katzenberg:

... [Jeffrey] Katzenberg's 3-D zeal has its limits, especially when it comes to a rival studio that's going to open its 3-D movie a week after Katzenberg's new film. As you may have heard, Warner Bros. announced it will release "Clash of the Titans" in 3-D on April 2, one week after DreamWorks Animation unveils its latest 3-D film, "How to Train Your Dragon." According to my colleagues Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller, Katzenberg was furious when he heard the news, so much so that he shot off an e-mail to Warners Entertainment chief Barry Meyer, heatedly protesting the decision ...

And the sadness of it is, Warners will be stealing screens with a movie in semi-fake Three Dee. (But at least it's starring Sam Worthington.)

Speaking of unhappiness, over on the green isle the animation community is a wee bit disgruntled.

The Animation CEO Forum, an Animation Ireland body that brings together CEOs from the leading Irish animation companies to discuss industry issues, has criticised Irish public broadcaster RTÉ saying they are failing to support, develop and fund the Animation sector in Ireland.

Says Cathal Gaffney: ... “Irish children have as much right to quality home produced programmes as their parents do.” ... “However, the RTÉ schedule is almost entirely full of imported animation from the US and Europe. Unless there is a change in RTÉ’s policy, Irish children will learn to speak with an American accents and can expect to see American-style yellow school buses for a long time to come.”

“Who knows what success the Animation sector could achieve if RTÉ were to commit just 5% of its programming budget towards animation. Ultimately, Irish children would be the real beneficiary as they watch quality home produced programmes relevant to an Irish audience and to their lives,” he concludes. ...

Technorati links up to the latest Toy Story 3 trailer:

It's nice to see familiar characters back in action, especially recast in gorgeous new settings. As is to be expected, the animation is unbelievable. Pixar grows with leaps and bounds with each new picture, and this one is no exception. The textures and lighting all look phenomenal. ... previews the parts of Despicable Me that Universal-Illumination Entertainment unveiled in Santa Monica last week:

... This grouchy old man with stick legs (going to be hard to get an action figure to stand up) who pops the balloons of children and threatens to kill his neighbor's dog for pooping on his lawn calls a meeting of his scores of little minions to plan his next heist. Under his house (the only creepy one on the block) is a vast underground cavern filled with the little yellow dudes. He seems to know each of them by name ... Gru reveals that his next big heist will be to steal the moon! (He's shrinking it. More portable that way.)

The sequence was quick moving and funny. Really, really funny. Particularly the scene in the coffee shop. ...

I guess you'll have to go see the flick to find out if the whole thing is "really, really funny."

Turner Classic Movies will be holding a film festival that will include group of cartoons that don't get out and about much:

... [A]uthor Donald Bogle will introduce and discuss a collection of cartoons removed from circulation because of negative racial stereotypes. Titles include Clean Pastures (1937), Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarves (1943), Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944), Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land (1931), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938), Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time (1936), Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943) and Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1937).

Lastly, there is super hero news:

During an interview with Comics Continuum, Warner Brothers Animation supervising producer Alan Burnett revealed that "Green Arrow" would be the third of three 10-minute animated "DC Showcase" episodes. Burnett also mentioned that a fourth DC animated short is also in the works, which will be 22 minutes long. However, Burnett declined to say which characters would be featured in the fourth short.

Add On: Linkage here has already overlapped with Cartoon Brew, so I'll do it again with this:

"Snow White has to be out by Christmas—if not it’ll be too bad for Disney’s,” 20-year-old platinum blonde Reidun “Rae” Medby wrote her boyfriend ... in the fall of 1937. She was barely able to keep her eyes open after a month of working weekends and double shifts in the Ink and Paint department ... “The minute I get a pen in my hand my brain goes numb—just like it does at the studio. Don’t be upset if I start inking ducks and mice.”

Ms. Medby's words echo down the decades. She was relating, seventy-three years ago, what visual effects artists, storyboarders, and tech directors know too well in the present age: the studio policy of "work them until their retinas pop loose" is always with us.

Have a fulfilling Friday. And don't forget that you have a three-day weekend in front of you.


Anonymous said...

You don't want to get into a war with Katzenberg. This is the same guy who used inside info he had on A Bug's Life, made Dreamworks push Antz into production fast, then released in months before Bug's Life in retaliation against Disney for slotting Bug's Life up against Prince of Egypt (this was also when Katzenberg just left Disney on terrible terms).

Anonymous said...

Sam Worthington IS the third "D." Just like he was in Avatar. "D" for DULL.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about what Katzenburg is whining about. He's just one of a thousand producers in Hollywood doing the same damned thing.

He should spend his effort on making better films, like Shrek 2.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or was the Toy Story 3 trailer pretty underwhelming?

Im way more excited about Despicable Me.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that Toy Story 3 falls flat on its face. I'm not looking forward to the big rush of pixar sequels lining up at the gate - Cars 2, Monsters Inc 2, et al. Plus I'm tired of their holier than thou attitude. A little humility didn't hurt anyone.

j said...

Whine whine whine jeffery, suck it up like a big boy movie executive and move on with your life.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that Toy Story 3 falls flat on its face. I'm not looking forward to the big rush of pixar sequels lining up at the gate - Cars 2, Monsters Inc 2, et al. Plus I'm tired of their holier than thou attitude. A little humility didn't hurt anyone.

Just wait a little while longer. Toy Story 3 will probably make huge bucks, and they'll feel more holier than thou than they are now - but they really are set up for failure in the future now.

Unhappy animators, milking golden geese by just making sequels, arrogant leaders who end up pushing talent like Jan Pinkava, Chris Sanders, and countless others away because they don't agree with their master John Lasseter...

Meanwhile, Dreamworks is ready to flood the market with quality films (people scoff, but their upcoming slate looks really good compared to Disney and Pixar), and Katzenberg's company is not losing money like Iger's is.

Soon, Lasseter will fail at Disney Animation because none of their films will make it big, and Iger will be forced to make a decision on whether or not Lasseter should still be in charge... And you know JL will not take a demotion lying down; it's possible he leaves The Mouse House completely.

Not to mention Disney's other projects like the theme parks losing money left and right...

I am smelling a disaster coming real soon for them.

Anonymous said...

It's more about how more effects heavy movies are dominating the landscape. About the only unique thing DW's and Pixar films can market for is family/kid demos. CG effects in live action make animation fare look tame. CG heavy spectaculars tend to stamp down any hedge Jeffrey has in an already crowded market. Audiences get confused by all the marketing chatter, and already expensive marketing campaigns get crowded out by the sheer noise. CG has grown up fast.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey seems to be laboring under the impression that we come to DW's movies to see -him-. Which is one reason why DW's concepts and design may temporarily grab the audiences, but the attempts at "warmth" or character involvement...don't.

Now that he thinks he finally has a "house brand", he's moved away from the image of Stealing Everything Disney Doesn't Nail Down, but hasn't lived it down--He could've used that time more effectively to learn about things like diversity of product, or emotionally involved storytelling.

Anonymous said...

With Disney doing head-up-its-ass projects like Tron and Black Hole remakes, not to mention a frickin Muppet movie, my money's on Dreamworks too.

Anonymous said...

Here's a new link:!/photo.php?pid=3369110&id=23245476854&ref=nf

Tangled?? Really? Is that the best name they came up with?

Anonymous said...

Thats about as official as it gets

Anonymous said...

I'm less psyched about this movie now.

Anonymous said...

"Plus I'm tired of their holier than thou attitude."

What attitude is that, and where have you experienced it? Just so we know. Is it "them" or the "press" they get? Two different things. It's like saying ANYTHING on fox noise has any bearing in reality.

Anonymous said...

"Despicable Me that Universal-Illumination Entertainment unveiled in Santa Monica last week:
Really, really funny."

That's going to be a tough sell, as the marketing hasn't exactly been the most effective: Audiences have been literally baffled by that inscrutable "pyramid" teaser for almost a year now, and the first full trailer wasn't exactly the clearest about who was hitting who.
All that most of the public has been able to make head or tail of is that it's "probably another Dreamworks movie", and not sure whether Universal's taking that as a compliment.

There seems to be a widespread perception that there's just a little too MUCH Dreamworks in the market just now, no matter who's making it, and as mentioned, the real DW isn't exactly doing much to help it. And when one studio becomes a cliche', the entire industry takes the heat for it.

Anonymous said...

@Anon Friday, February 12, 2010 2:17:00 PM

It's actually the people, not the press. A lot of them really look down on what is being done here in LA at Disney(even with all their medling), DWA, Sony, Etc. It's especially sad on their opinion on JK. At least he turned a study at the brink bad in good fortune where as Lasseter is driving Disney into the ground.

Anonymous said...

the new Alice in Wonderland was shot in 2D, and is being released as a stereo film.

Anonymous said...

^^ Yep, Lasseter has been blaming everyone other than himself for the last couple of bombs (i.e. Bolt and Froggy). First he blamed the folks who decided to release Bolt against Twilight, now he's blaming whoever marketed Froggy.

And he used to do the same thing when Pixar's film didn't perform as well as they wanted; I recall there being some tension for Ratatouille as well, when they decided Pixar would market their own movies from then on.

After Lasseter has thrown everyone under the bus, eventually the only one left standing will be him. And that's when Iger will drop the hammer and he'll be out the door and the tyranny at Mouse House will finally end.

Anonymous said...

It must be noted that both Chris Sanders and Jan Pinkava QUIT Disney/Pixar on their own. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I saw "American Dog." Along with virtually everyone who saw it, it was a complete mess. Just plain awful. Some good ideas, but so unfocused. Dean DuBlois is the best thing to happen to Chris Sanders, that's a fact. Someone with strong storytelling skills.

Anonymous said...

My guess is neither of them "quit" willingly - anymore then Keane decided he would step down from directing.

Anonymous said...

Well, according to the facts at hand, that's just not the case. Your "guess" is nothing but that.

Anonymous said...

Sanders' "Dog" -was- a mess (and I'm rather alone in the opinion that "Lilo" was a mess of unfocused story as well), and Pinkava's stylistic approach didn't fit with Pixar's product.
If anything, it more suggests the change from Stainton to Lasseter's "tyranny" of house-brand and group-story concentration, and that "rogue geniuses" weren't going to feel as welcome under the new administration if they were going to be questioned rather than indulged.

Sanders' feelings ran deep, so it wasn't the diva act it might've appeared nor was it a public beheading, but think Katzenberg's about to find out just what exactly he bought.

Anonymous said...

Sanders' feelings ran deep, so it wasn't the diva act it might've appeared nor was it a public beheading, but think Katzenberg's about to find out just what exactly he bought.

Cue: duhn-duhn duhn! Oh come on.
He also "bought" Dean DeBlois, remember. Also Chris and JK go back to the Disney days of Lion King etc together; Sanders wasn't an unknown quantity.

Have you seen "Dragon"? Anything on or about Crood? Obviously not.

Contrary to beliefs in some quarters Dreamworks isn't the fiefdom of All About One Guy it's presumed to be. Comments that frame everything in those terms betray that the person writing them doesn't work at Dreamworks or hasn't for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

You're right in that I don't work for Dreamworks, and as we frequently forget, this isn't a Dreamworks blog. :)

I have to buy a ticket to "Dragon" like everyone else, and from what I see on the sidelines, the design style is glaringly wrong for the picture, but that's just my call--
DeBlois does know structure, but I'm going to have to wait another week or two before standing behind the claim that Sanders wasn't a disciplined team player, that Lasseter knew how a picture shouldn't have been directed, and that JK didn't really much care either way.

Anonymous said...

It isn't a Pixar or Disney blog either. What it does seem to be is a blog for sometimes pompous anon pronouncements with especially dubious claims to knowledge.

Have a great time at HT Train Your Dragon. I'm sure with your fair, unbiased outlook going in you'll really love it.

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