Monday, May 11, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

The first animated film to be animated entirely by one woman since Lotte Reiniger's Prince Achmed in 1926 is now available to watch online for free. Actually, I'm not sure if Lotte Reiniger animated the whole thing herself, but that's not the point. This is so cool!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Robert Zemeckis Revisits Roger Rabbit

So, I loved Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Oh, it was perfect: Brilliant performances by Christopher Lloyd and Bob Hoskins, the first appearance of fanboy favorite Jessica Rabbit, and of course, Richard Williams' animation (it's Williams' most well-known and well-received film to date).

When I attended one of Richard Williams' presentations at Portland Community College, he mentioned that he had been talked to about making a Roger Rabbit sequel, but didn't like the idea. Apparently, this is no big deal for Robert Zemeckis, because he has the power of mo-cap.

Remember when Richard Williams went to Robert Zemeckis and famously said "I'll be your pencil"? I don't, because I was born the year Roger Rabbit came out, but that's beside the point. It really feels like he's acting as though Richard Williams can be replaced.

The original Roger Rabbit was great because they did the animation the old fashioned way, no digital technology. The film took place in the 40's, and the animation was done to fit that. This film was proud of the fact that it had no digital animation in it, and scoffed at the way anyone else combined live action and animation. There's no way mo-cap technology could re-create the brilliance of the effects seen in the original film.

But more importantly, and this is something that cannot be disputed: Richard Williams can never be replaced by any technology. He's Richard Williams. He animates on ones, decides he wants to do it differently, and then does it over again, and that's just business as usual.

The point is, any sequel to Roger Rabbit will never be as good as the original, the same way the sequel to Gary Wolf's original book was not as well-received as the original novel, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? However, Zemeckis has realized that sequels to movies from the 80's (Indiana Jones, Rocky, Rambo, etc.) are all the rage now, and Zemeckis has four of the most popular films of the 80's. I guess he thought three Back to the Futures was enough.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Preston Blair rip

Preston Blair... his elusive rip-offs lurk everywhere, if you look hard enough. Heck, just about every high school sports team with the name "The Bulldogs" has used Preston Blair's dog as their mascot.

This one is particularly bad, but not the worst I've seen. Aside from making the mouse look less appealing overall, notice how the line of action is no longer implied. His ear looks like it's behind his shoulder, too.

OK, so it's just a mascot for a pest control company in SE Portland, and I shouldn't expect anything fancy. And, to be honest, you have to look closely to actually see the similarities. Maybe I'm stretching it?

However, when I saw this on the side of a truck, I instantly thought of Preston Blair. Actually, I took the picture with my cell phone almost a year ago. I'm really lazy...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

RIP Emru

I'm sad. I've never even met the guy, but I'm sad. The most unbiased, logical and articulate animation critic and enthusiast has passed away. Will there ever be another guy like him? I find that when many critics and bloggers write about animation, they can sound biased, inconsistent, occasionally difficult to understand... Emru wasn't like that. I remember his Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda reviews being very well thought out, while others were either blindly praising or bashing said films. I won't name names. I loved that his main complaint about Kung Fu Panda was the abundance of fat jokes. He is, after all, a panda. Who else would have thought of that? This was a guy who was thoughtful. Yes, thoughtful. Not fueled by anger against Adult Swim or Seth MacFarlane, just a thoughtful person who knew a lot about animation.

Emru Townsend was an expert on a wide variety of animation. I mean, this encompasses the likes of Looney Tunes, The Nine Old Men, Frederick Back, Norman McLaren, Rock and Rule, Ralph Bakshi, Aardman, anime and manga, animation installations, and just about anything related to animation, comics, cartoons, etc. Part of the diversity of FPS Magazine was due to the diversity of its contributing writers, but Emru himself had such a wealth of knowledge on the subject, he could have written the whole damn magazine himself. I'm not saying he should have, I'm just saying he knew a lot.

I'll still check FPS every day like I normally (try to) do, but Emru was FPS Magazine. It's still a great publication, one of the best out there. I know for a fact that Tamu, Kino Kid, and the whole FPS Staff are going to keep the website running strong.

Well, anyway... he will be missed. One more thing though. For those of you who donated bone marrow in reaction to Emru, keep donating when you are able to. If you didn't donate, but wanted to, you can still help save someone's life. Visit Heal Emru for more information.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008