Thursday, March 16, 2006

March Madness

No, I'm not talking about college basketball. I simply couldn't come up with a more clever title for this post. Speaking of basketball, did you ever play "around the world" as a kid? That's what we are doing here, going "around the animation world". Wow, was that a pathetic transition or what?! I'll send my apologies up front. My coffee adiction has gotten out of hand and I am trying to quit. Unfortunately, it is playing havoc on my usual mental prowess.

How about Brad Bird taking over for Jan Pinkava on Pixar's next movie "Ratatouille"? Does anyone know the skinny on what happened over there? I haven't gotten a straight answer, which means no one wants to be honest. Eventually it will slip out. Maybe someone can shed some light on the situation. I would imagine Jan is now a co-director on the project, as opposed to just completely removed from it. These things tend to cause rifts and we all know what happened to Ash Brannon (one of the original directors of TS2. Ash ended up leaving Pixar and is now directing a movie for Sony Imageworks after brief stops at some other studios.) I wonder if the same will happen with Jan? Probably not, but you never know. My gut instinct is that Ratatouille had some story problems and it was just moving too slowly getting them fixed. Insert new director.

Rapunzel is still moving forward. Sounds as if Glen is really interested in seeing how far he can push CG animation. Good for him. Last I heard, American Dog is on the ropes and is a possibly going down for the count. I'm speculating here, but I think there are far too many "Pixar" projects that will be realized at Disney. Somehow they have to start making room on the calendar for them. Wilbur is moving along just fine and I think this could be a really nice movie. And now that the development execs and layers of management are on their way out, it won't get destroyed at the last minute. This will probably be the first movie coming out of Disney in a while that no one will be able to blame management.

Sony Pictures Animation continues to work on Open Season. This film (imo) has the nicest look of all the CG films coming out in the near future. Cars looks nice, but it just doesn't grab me in the art direction department. Maybe it is just too glossy for my tastes. Over The Hedge looks okay, but parts just plain look sub(DreamWorks)standard. The story appears to be boring and the voice casting is insane. Back to SPA... I've recently seen some artwork and development work for Surf's Up, and like Open Season, it equally looks great. I think SPA is really onto something here.

Framestore (UK) recently announced they are starting their own feature animation division led by... David Lipman! ... trying.. to restrain myself.... umm. No comment here. :o

The Weinstein's continue to scour the universe for lower budget productions created in other countries. The latest distribution deal is with the CG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that is being produced by Imagi in Hong Kong. This is good news for anyone making cheaper films. Maybe you can get distribution through these guys too. They seem to be hungry for projects.

The latest "Happy Feet" teaser features a penguin dancing and singing (voiced by Robin Williams). It is much better than their previous clips, however it still has that odd motion capture feel. I'm sure the general movie going audience could care less. And really, most producers just don't care what you or I think about mocap.

That's it. I realize that my posts lately haven't been the most interesting. I just haven't had a lot of time to sit down and come up with something really enlightening (as if that has ever happened). Hopefully things will change. I appreciate the three people that continue to read this blog anyway!! :)

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