Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mad Siths

Star Wars is out tonite. Across the world people are lining up to see midnight viewings of the last of George Lucas' episodes. I recall them fondly as a kid. Well, the first two, anyhow. By the time Jedi came out I was a teenager and I was starting to see the series as the kind of goofy space opera with cheesy dialog that it is. Still, the first 3 had a bit of style to them. But the recent flicks... ehh... whatever. I saw them, but never more than once or twice. Never bought the DVD's. Just kinda there. This one? Same verdict. I'll go see it, just cuz. But I'm not really jazzed to go see it. I'll wait a week to let all the Star Wars geeks get it out of their system. (Star Wars geeks, save your venom for somebody who cares. :o)

Now Madagascar... there's a film I'm actually pretty jazzed about seeing. Some of the animation in it looks really fun. After watching the clips recently released online I'm of the mind that I'm gonna like this one. Previous Dreamworks animated offerings haven't been my cup-o-tea. I've got plenty of friends who work for DW, so I hold no animosity toward the studio. It's just their flavor of animated film usually doesn't scratch my itch. They're obviously good projects that make them a ton of money and people like 'em. They don't "suck" like some people like to say. But I dunno.. they just never grabbed me. But here I think Madagascar's showing something that may have been missing from previous DW offerings: a consistent stylistic vision. This looks to be their most cohesively designed film yet. Compared to Sharktale it feels like it's coming from a different studio. I like design- it means something to me. I like to see characters living in an environment that feels like the two belong together. But I really like it when they design scenes to work well as images. Staging, lighting, drawing the viewer's eye to where it needs to go, not overwhelming it with clutter or colors that look like digital fake vomit all splattered on the screen. The clips of Madagascar I've seen feel really well constructed, scene upon scene of solid design, solid staging, clean visual animated filmmaking. It tells me the directors) have a vision for their world, the characters- it gives me hope for the story.
So count me as So-So on Sith. Sure I'll spend my money on it and take my older kids, we'll eat popcorn and enjoy it and then forget about it. But color me optimistically enthused to head out and see Madagascar the first day it's out. Something tells me this one's got something I'm gonna really like.


Goosh said...

Of course, Star Wars has been a topic of late. Just like a lot of people, I loved the first ones and couldn't care much for the latest ones.
But just like you Keith, I'll go see them.

Now, and here is the catch. Everybody complains (me included.. ok ok.. most of us complain anyway) about how crappy they are, still, we pay to see it. (which is all good) but at the end of the day I wonder what's going through George's mind.

I mean... "I just made a billion dollars on sales, my movies are a total success"... well, no, not really.. sure it's a lot of money, but just like a lot of people, I'm going to see it, not 'cause I care much for it, but 'cause... err... I have to? I know it's lame, but still...

So.. how do you measure success? do you do it through the sales? (I don't think so myself)

I'm sorry.. can't get too excited about this movie.. I've been burnt twice already and even though, damn it, I'll be putting my hands in the fire yet again tomorrow (hey, after all work paid for the tickets, I just cannot not go)


Anonymous said...

Well, I kind of feel the same way about Madagascar. I really dig the style they are using, it's blocky, snappy and lively.
Even the first teaser had a lot of spark in it. I feel a good vibe.
I hope this will give me a satified feeling after I leave the cinema, because the previous PDI movies didn't really.

Anonymous said...

Quote Keith: "Staging, lighting, drawing the viewer's eye to where it needs to go, not overwhelming it with clutter or colors that look like digital fake vomit all splattered on the screen."

that's exactly what i totally didn't like about the new star wars movie. i went to see it yesterday evening. it feels like they had to put a million creatures and vehicles an stuff in almost every frame, just because they can and think it looks spectacular. but in fact you don't know where to look, there's just too much going on. sometimes you just see a bubble of light in the fights especially the ones with "fight flubber" yoda. you can't read the action and the movement anymore! a bit more clarity would've helped a lot an some scenes would have had much more impact, 'cause you might have understood them.

apart from that the dialogues, especially in the beginning, where really weak (moment on the balkony between anakin and padme - ouch).

but i really enjoyed the film after the first third - it gets a lot better!!!

btw i'm exited about madagascar as well ;) and narnia...
the trailers are cool.

Brian "My Fault" Nicolucci said...

Yeah the design on Madagascar had me hooked immediately. I so wish there was an "Art of" book for it. The designs are bold and like you mentioned, everything seems to go together and really feels like they would all exist in the same world.

Saw Sith last night and had fun. It's no Citizen Kane and some of the scenes were painful to watch but it was a fun night out with my wife and son. We had electrical problems in the theatre about 3/4's of the way through the movie but everyone was surprisingly calm about it. I expected a geek uprising... and when I say geek uprising I mean my wife going to slap around the projectionist! =)

Anonymous said...

Completly agree keith!

Anonymous said...

heh heh,

I loved sith, Flaws and all (probably just getting used to it, haha)...

but i'm a StarWars Geek, although i didn't like the previous two movies. This ones is definately alot better that 1 and 2.

I hope I'll like madagascar,
although it looks amazing, i kind of don't like the characters in the trailers. except for the penguins.. they rock :)


Clay said...

To be honest, Madagascar doesn't get me excited. Maybe I'm just bitter after Shrek 2 and Shark's Tale. I'm cynical about marketing a movie around its voice talent (in the same way Robots did... shudder), but thats what Dreamworks seems to do. I guess its okay when you've talent as severely clever as Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers, but David Schwimmer and Ben Stiller? This jury is out.

Which kinds of leads into something I've been thinking about - why are all the big 3D companies insistent on doing comedies? Disney didn't always do comedies in its hey-day. Wouldn't it be great to see Pixar take on something with the drama and breadth of Lion King, Beauty and Beast or... dare I say it (if you'll allow me to jump continents), Princess Mononoke?

Now *there's* a concept that makes me drool.