Friday, June 16, 2006

Brazil.. and other ramblings

Would you look at this? A fellow goes underground for a couple weeks to visit friends, family and move to another continent and all kinds of stuff breaks looose in the animation biz. So here’s a little catching up on my part. Let’s start with Cars

Saw Cars with the kids on opening night. Sorry guys, but this one didn’t do it for me at all. I’m not a racing fan, I just don’t see much drama in racing. least not oval track racing. Road racing maybe, but left-turn-only-whoever-pits-last-loses-chewin’-tobacco-racing? No thanks. The Lightning McQueen character was so uncharming, so unappealing, so unlikeable as a person for the first half of the movie that I found myself not caring one bit that he’d straightened himself out. Audiences can put up with a jerk- if he’s astoundingly funny. Or if at the very least the situations and other things going on are funny and entertaining. (Groundhog Day, Scrooged- hey, why is Bill Murray so good at this kind of character? Huh). But this car character wasn’t funny. At all. He annoyed me. I have a hard time tuning in to an annoying personality. And the situations weren’t doing any backflips, either. I’m serious, I considered a nap during the film. Looked pretty, animation was OK (how deep can you go emotionally with a car anyhow? There was too much space between the mouth and the eyes, the golden emotional triangle was lost on most of the car designs). When you first find yourself enjoying the movie during the end credit gags, there’s a problem. Technically superb as usual. Entertainingly plodding and dull- definitely not at usual. You could tell there was oodles of skill and talent going on here, but it just didn’t click. All I could think of as I watched it was “I bet the licensing department loved this film.” But there’s hope….

The trailer for Ratatoullie looked fun and fresh and fantastic. The designs were right up my alley- wonderful flow to the lines. Very appealling, great shapes, fun acting, fabulous animation, pretty (if somewhat stock Pixar) visual style. Still, I’m already looking forward to it. So hopefully the good kids at Emeryville will bounce back from Cars and smash another home run with Ratatoullie. One fly in the ointment, though. We’re in for a flood of rat movies. Way to go Hollywood. *sigh*

As for Pixar’s short One Man Band? Ehh. It was OK. Some nice stuff, but it again felt kinda meh. Good to see Boo from Monsters Inc got some more work. Heh. Maybe I’m just uber-tired from the move and nothing tasted good. Who knows?

WB seems to be following their manual for marketing an animated film by basically not marketing it. Heh. But there’s a new trailer up for The Ant Bully. Regular readers here know I collected a paycheck for a year working on this film. Very good crew. Lots of talent. However as has been noted from the beginning by just about everybody who has ever written about it: it is another bug movie. Will audiences be up for another one of those? Aren’t ants so very… 1998? Anyhow I’ll reserve expressing my full unadulterated opinion until after it’s released. But I’ll puzzle you with this: WB has two animated films coming out this year. Happy Feet and The Ant Bully. Which one have you seen more ads for? And what does that tell you about WB’s opinions of each project?

My friends at the surviving remnant of Big Idea are busy working on pre-production on their next feature length project. Titled the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. Here’s hoping it goes well for them. Don’t expect it to be a blockbuster, but if production and marketing costs are controlled better than the last time they made a movie (Jonah) then it should make some money for its masters. It’d be nice to see those guys set free from the shackles of singing veggies, though. Hopefully someday they’ll be allowed to branch out into some other end of the biosphere. Say something with limbs? Heck, I’m sure they’d settle for something in the animal kingdom, regardless of class or phyllum.
Garfield 2? Only one question need be asked: Why? And how much longer do you supose Billy Connolly will be happy taking roles that John Cleese turns down? I give him 3 more films before he snaps and goes postal on an unsuspecting Michael Palin.

Let’s see, what else is coming out in a little bit? Monster House. Hrmm. Interesting story idea, not so interesting designs. That mo-cap-imation thing still isn’t doing it for me. You’d think the human motion would be smoother with it, but it looks as stiff as anything put out yet. Open Season? Looks promising. Love the designs of the bear. Background and production syle are pretty and a nice deviation from the norm. Barnyard? You know that old saying that you mom used to tell you? If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all? Well, this is me not saying anything at all. Flushed Away. Based on the latest burp.. um… I mean trailer- it looks like Katzenberg is wearing an Aardman suit. (remember that from Men In Black? The first one that was good, not the impossibly bad sequel. Remember the “Edgar Suit”? That’s what I mean.)
As for me, after an adventurous runabout and 2+ days of solid travel and another day of sleep we’re safe and sound here in Brazil. We move into our temporary housing this weekend. The hammock will be installed immediately upon arrival and will enjoy it’s inaugural swing post-haste. In the meantime while I struggle to buttress my flagging Portuguese skills (Eo nao intendo mueto de Portuguese) we’re steadily preparing ourselves for the national frenzy which will take place Sunday afternoon as Brazil plays Australia in World Cup action. Every single person in every single line of retail business imaginable is wearing some sort of replica or knock off of the Brasilian national team soccer jersey. From car salesman to busboys to parking attendants to telephone repairmen to women selling shoes- they’re all sporting that insanely bright yellow and green. It’s really quite a fantastic site.

Next post- pictures!!

1 comment:

Keith Lango said...

original comments here...