Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Space Chimps, Failure during liftoff

Let's all give a big congrats to Space Chimps for that $7 million opening. I hate to kick something when it's down. But, given all the flak I've received via private email for my knocks on this movie, I think it is well deserved. Those in charge at this studio just don't get it.
On every movie they release, they can't resist the urge to advertise "from the makers of Shrek". How long are you going to ride those coat tails? Shrek is as old as dirt in the movie world. With all the flops, people are going to come to the conclusion that either you had nothing to do with Shrek's success or you got lucky. Time to re-evaluate what you're doing. Something is wrong with your formula!

Maybe they're trying to create a new niche. Lower budget movies that require less box office to be considered a success? That ain't happening either. These guys need to strip everything down and start fresh or just give it up entirely. Since they'll probably do neither, we can only expect more of the same.

It seems that most of the start ups trying to get on the CG feature bandwagon are rushing in and not really grasping what it takes to make a good movie. It all starts with story. Yeah, it's cliche. But true. I have a feeling there is just too much input by the monkeys (how fitting) that should be running the business, not the story department. The priority should be hiring very good writers and board artists and someone with a good track record to oversee them. Not some producer that should be sticking to gathering financing, making schedules, and working deals, but an honest to goodness creative.


SpaceChimpLuvr said...

Maybe Vanguard should start riding their own coat tails for their next film.. such as "from the makers of VALIANT" or "from the folks that brought you HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER". or like you mentioned, "from the monkeys that brought you SPACE CHIMPS."

Apparently, stripping down the crew and starting fresh is the strategy for each of Vanguard's films. Each film apparently has a brand new crew/studio. Maybe their inability to build a cohesive functional production team AND pipeline from scratch each time causes a mishmashed prodution. or maybe their stories and characters simply don't appeal to people. yeah, it's probably the latter.

i agree with your idea of hiring talented writers and story artists and leaving them alone. but these folks are very tough to come by in my opinion. and finding a producer who's willing to follow the story department's lead....no comment. personally, i think any producer trying to jump on the CG bandwagon should be forced to make their own CG short film entirely on their own. it would be a 6-month right of passage that, I think, would make them a better producer. Plus, every animation artist should try to budget a multi-million dollar feature down to the paperclips.

After all this, I think both sides would wonder why the hell they're in the animation business in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Whoo boy, I snuck in to take a peak at this film. Words (nor images) could describe how painfully awful it is on so many levels. From the "writer" of the flops Racing Stripes and Quest for Camlot comes "Space Chimps." And the "producer" of shrek.

Sassy, yapping chimps with ZERO personality spout lame one liners on theiir way to a plot with no structure, interest, or entertainment. That about says it all. Except that it LOOKS as bad as the average episode of dragon tales.

What idiot in their right mind would hire someone like kirk de micco to direct a movie? How about getting someone with experience in directing a film? Or at LEAST animation?

And yes, it really was THAT bad.

Anonymous said...

oops....make that "peek" instead of "peak."

What a time to turn off the auto spell function of my computer!

Anonymous said...

Producers and financiers sticking to business and not having creative input? When does that EVER happen? Seriously.

There was a joke going around when the writers' strike happened that the executives at Fox would have nothing to do because they spend so much of their time rewriting scripts.

The truth is that in most cases, good movies happen despite the meddling of the producer/financiers, not in its absence. The talented and smart people work 3 times as hard as they have to to maneuver around asinine ideas.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, in many ways, ruined the movie business. He became the prototypical "creative" executive. Trust me, every executive in town now thinks that they are Katzenberg -- if these damn writers would only execute MY vision, everything would be perfect!

Look at any sequel to a successful non-Pixar animated movie -- Ice Age 2, Shrek 2 & 3, etc. The quality of the story and characters falls off a cliff. Why? Because the execs and money people get more involved and are more determined to take credit for the movie than they were the first time.

Yes, Space Chimps is highly mediocre. But so is Shrek 2. Seriously, on a story level, there really isn't that much difference in quality.

Anonymous said...

Shrek 2 is better than Shrek. But that's like saying a cow pie is better than a dog poop.

But Space Chimps is on the level (maybe a bit above) Shrek 3 and Kung Foo Panda.

Anonymous said...

No posts in a while? What is up with massanimation?

K. K. said...

That settles it. Not everyone is using the rendering done by Pixar.that would do a big-high-budget. In my views Space Chimps was a good humour but not as close as Pixar's and No way close to "Horton Hears a Who".