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.