Monday, November 20, 2006

Here and There

I really do have a hard time keeping this blog updated. It was so easy in the beginning. My, how things change. There is plenty to talk about, I just can't find time to type it out. Luckily, there are probably only 5 or 6 of you reading this garbage, but for you few people, here is something (albeit, not much!).

A few films have come out since my last additions. Most of them didn't do all that well, Happy Feet being the exception. Although I haven't seen this movie yet and I only have an eventual interest renting it, I’ll still send out my congratulations to those that worked on it (even though parts of it were made with motion capture).

Speaking of recent releases, Flushed Away has been declared a failure by DreamWorks. Okay, they didn’t use those words. But, they might as well of. My often wrong gut instincts are telling me that this was said only as an excuse for the Aardman/DreamWorks split that recently took place. These two forces seemed to be at creative odds and after the expensive experiment, it was just too much to handle for both sides. Aardman didn’t care for the story decisions from DWA, and Katzenberg didn’t care for the unShrek-like BO numbers. After talking with a couple of people over in the UK, it sounds like Jeffrey put his dirty paws all over everything and ruffled a few feathers in the process. So much so, that at least a couple of people left the project in protest. I wish Aardman the best. Although I don't think their humor always works in the US, they do have talent. Maybe they will get some distribution deals over here to allow them to make movies (not settling for DreamWorks visions of their films) their way. I bet the Weinstein's would love a crack at them.

Disney is set to start dropping more people as Wilbur wraps and the other CG films in development or pre-production are getting negative feedback from the Pixar boys. Plenty are upset about the layoffs, but unfortunately, this is the way it goes in animation these days. That doesn’t stop some staffers from having a few choices words about the Pixar guys coming in and shaking things up. My personal take is that they are going to strip WDFA to its core and make sure that Pixar remains king of CG, while Disney goes back to a hand drawn film every 4 or more years and a CG film at about the same pace (i.e. some of these CG films in development are going to get the axe). It sounds like the honeymoon is over for some of the people down here.

Small studios with big dreams…

I’ve heard rumblings of the CG “Opus” feature gearing up here in LA. I don’t quite know what studio is doing the production yet, but it is safe to say it probably isn’t Wild Brain in San Francisco. Although they were going to do it at one time, I heard there was a falling out. I wonder who is directing the film or if it is even greenlit. Whatever the case, it is in development with animation tests being done.

Whatever happened to “Ollie the Otter” in San Francisco? I haven’t heard a squeak in a very long time. It should be in production by now, right? They made an awful lot of claims a long time ago. I also wonder about this project and if it is even still alive.

A story came out a few months ago about some new motion capture technology, and there were some quotes from the director/producer of “Food Fight”. I can’t remember exactly what was said. It had something to do with releasing the film in February, yet it hasn’t even gone into production yet. Yes folks, a feature film animated, lit, and rendered in just a few months time! That mocap technology must be fantastic!!

Lastly, a friend in the Bay area said that rumors were stirring that Sony was to open an animation studio in Novato (N. of San Fran). Now that I've heard the rumor from two different sources, I wonder what this is all about. Sounds like a goofy idea.

Steaming Piles of BS

With all the press articles sounding off about talking animal movies and the glut of CG animated films, Happy Feet comes along and makes $42 million this opening weekend. Will this change anything in these so called reporter's eyes? Will a retraction come? Will they come to their senses and realize it is the stories that have been sucking and not the number of films? Yeah, right!

My guess is that they had a horrible childhood. Their parents probably did something really terrible to them, so they strike out at everything that may remind them of those younger years. Or maybe, they are one of the many failed film students that took up a career as a film critic and are looking for every chance to lash out at animation - the bastard child of Hollywood.

The first two articles to start all of this nonsense and got the ball rolling were from a pair of gay lovers living in West Hollywood. They each wrote VERY similar stories and sent them off to two separate publications. It is obvious that they sat down and wrote them together, or else they both had the exact same horrific childhood. Whatever the case, don't confuse this hatred for these inept writers as some kind of stance on their sexual orientation. I could care less and to each their own. This is purely a jab at them as writers. After all, they are the ones that started this craziness, and the other lemmings, I mean writers, latched onto and rehashed the same garbage over and over again.

I really think that the ambiguous gay writing duo were responsible for these unneeded steaming pile of articles that have come out recently. Have to hand it to them though. They both sat down and wrote the same article together, but sold it to multiple publications under their two different names. Genious!

And that brings me back to Happy Feet. Another talking animal CG film that did well over the weekend. Thank you Happy Feet. Maybe these guys should focus on the real problem. Storytelling. Not who or what is in the story or how many we may see a year.