Animation Thread

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Re: Animation Thread

Postby FloorMat116 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:31 pm

Don Bluth and Gary Goldman on Kickstarter to produce a Dragon's Lair movie!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/do ... -the-movie
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby filmfan94 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:41 pm

FloorMat116 wrote:Don Bluth and Gary Goldman on Kickstarter to produce a Dragon's Lair movie!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/do ... -the-movie


How exciting! I had heard that Bluth was hoping to make a Dragon's Lair movie for some time and am really glad to hear that it may finally come to fruition as I love the original games (never played the third one). Best of luck to Messers Bluth and Goldman.
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby filmfan94 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:09 pm

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Re: Animation Thread

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:13 pm

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Re: Animation Thread

Postby FloorMat116 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:57 pm

Did anyone happen to capture the recent specials on ABC for Snow White and Toy Story? You can sign in to watch them on their website, but I'd like to be able to download them.
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:30 pm

What are the titles?
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby filmfan94 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:19 am

Garrett Gilchrist wrote:What are the titles?


Not sure about the Toy Story special, but I believe the one on Snow White is titled Behind the Magic: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Personally, I found the Snow White special to be rather eh. It didn't really have any information not previously known before and I felt the sections with actors acting out parts of the fairy tale were unnecessary (it seemed to me that they were overemphasizing the Once Upon a Time connection with those bits). I will admit that it was interesting seeing pencil tests of scenes that did make it into the film (the "Music in Your Soup" was excerpted though).
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:28 am

Haven't spotted it at my usual sites but I'll keep an eye out.
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:28 am

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is a beautiful, if peculiar, animated feature drawing upon the poetry of the late Lebanese-American poet (1883-1930). Thought-provoking and lyrical, it should delight viewers both young and old, even though it also suffers from a sort of multiple-personality disorder. Roger Allers, director of The Lion King, brings together a team of independent animators including Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea), Michal Socha, Bill Plympton, Gaëtan and Paul Brizzi, Joan Gratz, and Nina Paley, who all direct short segments illustrating Kahlil Gibran's poems. The resulting imagery is dazzling and unlike anything you'll see on the big screen this year. There's also an emphasis on hand-drawn animation throughout, often created with colored pencil and paint. This will remind you of the great experimental animation of the 1980s, and breaks up a story that's otherwise told - a bit blandly - with cel-shaded CGI animation.

"The Prophet" is a book of philosophical poetry with no story behind it. The filmmakers made the decision to tell a story about a poet named Mustafa, who occasionally delivers wisdom in the form of Gibran's poems, which each animation team illustrates. There are some major downsides to this framing device, but it does turn the material into a movie. The drama of Mustafa's story eventually overshadows the animated poems, making for a peculiar mix of material. It's hard to escape the feeling that this all doesn't quite fit together, even though it's always pleasant to watch. That being said, if the film were as moving and thought-provoking as the poetry wants it to be, it would be far too much to take in in the space of one film. The feeling is that they're shooting for an impossible goal, and ending up with something that still pretty much works. The resulting film is a good one, but good because it comes from a mix of flavors both delicious and disgusting, which ends up as "good."

We're first introduced to Almitra, a young troublemaker who hasn't spoken since her father died. Producer Salma Hayek plays her mother Kamila. It's not clear what year, and what country, the film takes place in, but it has an early to mid 20th century Ottoman Empire feel about it. The opening scenes feel a lot like Aladdin, and it's a curiously light and Disneyfied approach for such philosophical subject matter. John Krasinski plays a lovestruck guard named Halim, and is such a comedy character that we're left feeling we're in a cartoon. But the $12 million dollar film doesn't have Disney-style animation. The framing story is told with a cel-shaded CGI look [via Eric Prebende and Chris Browne] which does the job but lacks any of the liveliness of a film like Aladdin, which the script at first seems to want to imitate. There is some hand-drawn animation, notably in a scene with some sheep, but generally the movement is bland. There's snap and speed to it, though, the sort which makes you imagine the full animation they had in mind.

Then there's Mustafa, the poet played by Liam Neeson. You could see him as a little too saintly, a little too perfect. He's been imprisoned for seven years due to having written poetry challenging the local government. He's being freed today, but the Sergeant (Alfred Molina) has other plans for him. The people of the town adore Mustafa and see him as a great leader and inspiration. It's hard not to see this as the story of Jesus Christ, or a similar prophet figure, transposed to a more modern day.

And that's a hard note to hit. It's asking a lot of the viewer to not only like Mustafa but be as inspired by him as these townspeople are. That should be impossible. If a film had that much power to inspire, filmmaking would be illegal. We would all be in the cult of Mustafa. The character as depicted is pleasant, if a bit bland. He has no obvious flaws, and flaws are usually what a character is built on.

In eight experimental animated segments, Mustafa talks about life and love. The words are the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, and the animation is beautifully evocative. The first is Michal Socha's "On Freedom," in which birds attempt to free themselves from society's cage. It mixes some CGI with a painted style, and is both beautiful and thought-provoking.

The other segments, though all different in style, are done with the same level of care. Tomm Moore tells a story of two lovers kept apart by dancers in masks, and it's as good as any animation you'll see this year. Bill Plympton goes into farming and food in a segment as lively as anything he's done in awhile. This is pure art, onscreen.

Liam Neeson narrates all of them, though sometimes the poetry is turned into a song. Neeson's narration is rock-solid but lacks passion. Every line is spoken in the same way, a sort of easy-listening approach which makes it difficult to get any meaning out of the words. It doesn't mesh with the portrayal of the poet as an inspirational revolutionary. Of course he's wrongly-accused by a petty local government which is ruled by its own fear, but this seems almost absurd at first because it's hard to get as interested in the words. It doesn't help that I was unfamiliar with Gibran's poetry before this, or that the poetry segments have little to do with the story being told outside of it. The general feeling is that of a song where you're enjoying the melody but not quite hearing the lyrics. For those who know the book, the words will already be familiar though, and should have a different effect.

I was left feeling that the story of Mustafa was keeping me from appreciating the poetry segments on their own terms. I was imagining the version of the film with no framing device, where the poems just follow one another. Being different in style, they would have benefited from different narrators, and this is one film where the foreign dub could improve upon the English dub. The cast also feels very white, or very American, for a film which otherwise has such an Arabic feel. Salma Hayek and John Rhys-Davies feel most comfortable in this milieu.

That being said, it's the framing story of Mustafa that will stick with the viewer most.

It's impossible, to the point of absurdity, that a viewer could be as moved and inspired by the poet's words as the townspeople are in the film. But if we calm down and judge the film on more realistic terms, the poem segments are beautiful and inspiring in their own way. Certainly they're visually lush, and it would be worth rewatching them while reading the original poems as text to study Gibran's intentions. This could well become a film taught in poetry classes - almost certainly so - and inevitably by its very nature has a lot on its mind, and a lot worth discussing.

Eventually, the story takes a darker turn as Mustafa clashes, inevitably, with the local government. It's a dark place to end up in, considering the light and Disney-ish tone struck early on, but also the only place the story could go. It's still a lot to ask of the audience - this saintly man whose only crime was poetry! This could easily seem over the top, or difficult for children. But I suspect the kids will understand this better than the adults do. We do live in a world where revolutionaries and deep thinkers are discouraged by those in power, and where deep thinking is discouraged in any Hollywood film at all. "His crime was poetry" is a leap to take, but not a big one. Kids who see this film may find it plants a seed in their minds.

This does make the story seem more and more like a modernized version of the myth of Christ. That's another big leap to take, albeit one which the film handles deftly and believably. I'm sure that's not what the filmmakers set out to create when they were starting out, and probably not something they'd want to talk about. But it's the story into which they've fallen. This is not a Christian film but it follows the trajectory of such a man, who wanted to inspire the people around him into a better understanding of the universe, and who those in power saw as a threat. The result is moving because it's increasingly believable. The film clearly cares about its characters quite a bit, and so does the viewer.

And then there's that animation. Back in the 80s, in London especially, animators created brilliantly experimental works in mixed media, usually for television advertisements. That whole era has largely been forgotten because no feature film work resulted from it, in those unusual and rendered styles. This is exactly the sort of movie they could have made back then. And Roger Allers and his team have made it now.

The result is an unusual stew - a mix of very rich ingredients that don't always feel like they're part of the same film, or even the same scene. But all of these ingredients are interesting on their own, and on their own terms. There's enough pure art to elevate the film. If it overreaches, and tries for more than it can accomplish, then where it ends up is still more interesting than most Hollywood fare. The end result is a film that's well worth watching.
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Re: Animation Thread

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:43 am

The most obscure animated Disney feature release is surely the 1955 compilation film "Music Land," done as a contractual obligation to RKO. Even Disney doesn't seem to have a copy these days, but this guy does and here's his report on it.

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p ... count=2027
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