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Animation Thread

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:03 am
by Shamanic Shaymin
Thief and Raggedy Ann & Andy have their own threads, so here's one for other animated movies. I don't know if Disney discussion is big enough to have its own thread or not, but I figure that here would be a good place to start. That said, let's kick things off with the animation world's punching bag: Don Bluth. ... 71309.html

We're going to discuss two animated films by Bluth that never came into being: "Beauty and the Beast" and "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." ... 66748.html
I will begin with a very special heroine. Let’s say that this heroine is a princess who is actually not only quite unknown but ,above all ,who has never come to exist. Indeed, Beauty is in reality "Belle" in Beauty and the Beast. To understand the story, we must go back to 1984, when Don Bluth and his team had just released the stunning success of Dragon's Lair (a video game that also offers scenes of very good quality animation produced by Bluth who was overtaken by the technology that was offered in video games but who nevertheless intended to animate scenes that appear in Dragon's Lair.) Following the success of the game as well as his first feature film,The secret of N.I.H.M, he began to develop some stories to adapt on screen. His choice was later focused on two stories including Beauty and the Beast. He began working on a screenplay and also suggested a storyboard and some new artistic concepts but a budget for this project was lacking. Even if incomes provided by Dragon's Lair and Brisby were amazing (especially at that time when there was very poor animation), producers were afraid to finance a fairy tale story because it was no longer a mode of the time (the last one being "The Sleeping Beauty" by Disney Studios twenty five years earlier).

Don Bluth nevertheless continued to further his project, but he also focused more on a second video game Space Ace (which met with a more honorable yet a less dazzling success than that of Dragon's Lair). He then decided to make two films for Spielberg who agreed to finance both of them on condition that he himself was to decide which stories would be told to the public. At that time, since this producer was not interested in the world of Beauty and the Beast, he proposed other scenarios such as The Land Before Time and An american Tail .
Both films met with a public and critical success thus allowing Don to resume his work on Beauty and the Beast. It was too late , however, since Disney studios were already preparing their version taking advantage of Bluth’s lack of time and budget .Since he could not face competition with such huge studios ,he cancelled the project and gave it up entirely forever. It is equally ironical that Don Bluth had (at the same time) the desire to adapt Aladin ( and not Aladdin) which was also taken up by Disney right after Beauty and the Beast.

Regarding character development, we know very little about it except that Don Bluth had in mind a very different idea from that of Disney. It even seems that he wanted to make a version that was very close to the one of the 1946 film that he adored. We also know that his film was also going to include the witch Queen Livia, who, being jealous of the beast, would have attempted to manipulate Beauty in her sleep so she would leave the castle and let the prince die.

Gotta say, Bluth's Human!Beast looks a hell of a lot more interesting than Disney's Human!Beast. Poor Disney!Beast, stuck with a generic prince human form. If Bluth's Beauty and the Beast retained the dark elements like the 1946 film, instead of turning into something like Thumbelina (more on that one later), this would've been cool.

Here's some fanart: ... -377549118 ... -381681677 ... 89965?hf=1 ... 71351.html

EotS,WotM was cancelled back in 1982 due to financial problems. Which makes me weep because it's one of my favorite fairy tales and I would've loved to see Bluth's take on it. And I love the heroine's design! Then again, I'm a sucker for long braids. I imagine this movie would've been like Dragon's Lair, except this time, it's the girl saving her prince. This film would've been awesome and filled with old*sk00l adventure goodness and waaaaaah. ... -313584596

Eventually, Don Bluth got to make a fairy-tale movie after all, with mixed results. ... 18158.html

Bluth had fun making the film, but admitted that he "couldn’t understand how he made it so silly and so unexciting." The push for marketing was also an issue.
In Thumbelina, everything is flat, everything is fine, and everything is nice. There are no real issues; we all know beforehand that she will find her home and family and that she will end up being happy . I feel that it is precisely for this reason that we needed to have great villains and great moments of fun for despite the countless villains in the film (Mr. mole, mouse, frogs, beetles, foxes),none of them are terrifying; they only serve to fill the gaps in the story .Apart from that, we never laugh, we never get attached to anyone. So we honestly get the feeling that the film is meant for tvery small children just by looking at the costume of the frog (and even themselves could get bored!). Actually, we don’t feel any worry for the heroine; besides she does so enough for herself since she spends her time complaining. She does not believe in anything and everything is "impossible" for her(If you feel you're about to fall asleep during the projection, have fun counting the number of times the heroine uses that word).
That pretty much sums up the flaws of the movie in a nutshell (that, and Thumbelina is Too Dumb to Live. Seriously, she doesn't notice the thorn sticking out of the Annoying Bird Sidekick until she's told it's there? And the bastard never bothers to fly her home). Despite that, I don't hate the movie. It's got gorgeous animation and it has its charm, and I loved "Soon" and "Let Me Be Your Wings." While the rest of the music isn't memorable, I've heard way worse songs in other animated films than "Marry the Mole," including other Bluth films.

Still, I think about how much better Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun, West of the Moon would have been if they were made. Until someone makes a machine that lets us visit alternate dimensions...

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:26 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Beauty and the Beast was always low-hanging fruit for Disney or anyone wanting to be like Disney, since there was already a very popular French live-action version of the story, which Disney was basically obligated to copy. There's a reason the animated version is set in France. (If you haven't seen the live-action film by Cocteau you should check it out.)

It's also an early digital film in terms of the coloring, and I've never felt it holds up visually at all, looking quite dated despite being the best example of a Disney Ashman/Menken "princess" film.

Richard Williams was apparently asked to direct the film at one point, then Richard Purdum who had of course worked with Dick. Purdum accepted but was replaced.

It is a shame that Bluth didn't tackle a "princess" film earlier, closer to his Dragon's Lair era. Bluth's style is very distinctive and it's easy to imagine what that would have looked like, for better or for worse. I haven't revisited Bluth's feature work in recent years but it's clear that he put out an increasing amount of junk as the years went on, and never created anything that can stand up to the best of Disney. My favorite work of his, oddly, is still the video games - though Space Ace and Dragon's Lair 2 are far too difficult frankly.

Here's some thoughts from Glen Keane:
http://believeinyourcharacter.blogspot. ... keane.html

This is a good idea for a thread, as animation comes up constantly in the Random Thread, and much like the Videogame Thread it's probably needed to keep that thread from getting even more cluttered than it is.

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:32 am
by JustinHoskie
Garrett Gilchrist wrote:Richard Williams was apparently asked to direct the film at one point, then Richard Purdum who had of course worked with Dick. Purdum accepted but was replaced.
Here's a brief history lesson on the Richard Williams / Richard Purdum involvement of Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast that nobody asked for: As production on Who Framed Roger Rabbit was wrapping up, Disney went to Williams and asked if he wanted to direct a film Walt Disney had trouble breaking, Beauty and the Beast. He declined, deciding to work on The Thief and the Cobbler instead, but recommended his friend Richard Purdum for the job. Purdum jumped at the chance, and a group of Disney story-artists and animators -- including Joe Raft, Glen Keane, and Andreas Deja -- flew out to London for six months to develop the film. After six months, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Peter Schneider (and possibly Roy Disney) flew out to see the pitch -- a leica reel the first twenty minutes of the film. Purdum had great respect for the original tale, so the film was much closer to the story, it was darker in tone, and it wasn't a musical. Katzenberg and Schneider felt like the film was too dark and didn't work, and, continuing the tradition started by Walt Disney himself, they decided to scrap it and start over, starting with a research trip to France. (The trip was already scheduled and was intended to help with the further development of the film.) According to Don Hahn on the Waking Sleeping Beauty audio commentary, Purdum stayed with the production for a time, but when it became clear that Disney wasn't going to let him make the film he had in mind, he left. Since production on The Little Mermaid was ending, Katzenberg went to Howard to help develop the story and turn it into a musical. Though Howard didn't really want to (I believe this was right after he found out he was HIV positive), "Jeffery buttonhold Howard, as only Jeffrey could do" (Peter Schneider, Beyond Beauty) and Howard relented.

And I don't think the Disney Beauty isn't a carbon, 1:1 copy of the Cocteau version (which, BTW, is available on Hulu Plus the last time I checked). The only things I remember them taking from the Cocteau film is the French setting (which I think is based more on the fact that the oldest recorded telling of the story is French), the cocky, egotistical love-interest (Avenant / Gaston), and the idea of the enchanted objects. And though I love and adore the film to no end, and the 3D release was by far the best 3D film experience I've ever had, I agree with Garrett in terms of it looking oddly dated.

I've never really gotten into Bluth's work (I watched part of Anastasia sometime in high-school and I haven't watched All Dogs since I was little), though I wish he could make his version of Beauty. I would love to see what he had in mind, how close to the Cocteau version it would be, and if it actually worked.

I've ever heard of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," like most fairy and folk-tales; It sounds interesting, to say the least, and I wish someone would give him the money to finish it Journey Back to Oz style. Though, hopefully with better results.

Now that there's an animation thread, I have a question that's been on my mind for years. Which do you prefer more, traditional or computer animation? Or does it even matter? I have my own thoughts on it, but I want other peoples' opinions on it.

(At some point, I'll get the hang of writing a post that isn't a mountain of text.)

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:04 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Traditional of course. Except for FoodFight obviously.

I wasn't saying that Disney copied the Cocteau version heavily, but it was an inspiration early on. It's more that the existence of that film made Beauty and the Beast a story that Disney and its competitors wanted to have a go at. It made the story seem accessible, something that a film audience could walk into, which would have helped break it. In the same way that Aladdin didn't bother with a second Genie but did bother with character relationships stolen from The Thief and the Cobbler, but let's not get into that again ....

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:09 pm
by Shamanic Shaymin
Traditional and stop-motion. Though really, it depends on context. If you can make a good movie, I don't care what medium(s) you use as long as you use them well. Some stories are told through certain mediums better than others. For example, Tom & Jerry would be awful and hokey if it was live-action or CGI. The latter would be Uncanny Valley; it just wouldn't look natural, especially with T&J's slapsticky action. Traditional animation lets you create imagery that isn't possible with live-action or CGI, as eloquently shown in Satoshi Kon's Paprika. CGI also lends its own strengths that other mediums can't touch; for a gaming world example, you have Silent Hill. If you tried to recreate the game in a 2D sprite environment, you wouldn't be able to experience the fog and utter isolation of a haunted town where it's so easy to get lost. Technically, you could, but it wouldn't be the same... wouldn't be as real.

What I think is important is that people should realize the strengths and weaknesses of both mediums and use them to their full potential, not throw out one and exploit the other. I don't want traditional animation to be dumped in favor of CGI, but at the same time, it really annoys me whenever people dismiss and hate an animated film simply because it's CGI. I hate the 2D animated Titanic movies as much as I hate Shark Tale, and Shark Tale wouldn't be any better if it was in 2D. CGI gets a bad rep because people like Hollywood abuse it in hopes of Instant Money, which results in a lot of obnoxious Conspicuous CGI. That's not the fault of CGI itself, but greedy executives. Again, I stress execution and the ability to use the medium to its full potential.

While we're at it, let's put an end to the Animation Age Ghetto. That would help.

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:03 pm
by Dennis196492
My thoughts exactly, Sham.

I much prefer calling "2D animation" handdrawn, not because of pettiness, but because calling it 2D makes no sense. Yes, it might have been drawn on a piece of paper on a technical 2D space, but the image itself creates the illusion of 3D, what I'm trying to say is that a CGI film isn't more 3D than a Handdrawn film if both deliver the illusion of a 3D image well enough.

But that's just me.

I really wonder what an Handddrawn Titanic film would be like if they took the story/setting serious, it could happen, and it isn't a bad idea if there were already dozens of other Titanic-related films, one being a different take at the story than the other.

So I just watched Mary Poppins today for the first time (I know, crazy!). Lovely movie.

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:41 pm
by Uncle Sporkums

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:53 pm
by Shamanic Shaymin
Arthur Rankin Jr, creator of the stop-motion holiday specials ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," etc.) passed away at age 89. His studio was also responsible for 1977's version of "The Hobbit", "The Last Unicorn," and "The Flight of Dragons." RIP Rankin. Thank you for making my holiday childhood fun. ... /140139945

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:42 am
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: Animation Thread

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:55 am
by Garrett Gilchrist