Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Ten Grossers of 2008

Variety had a list of the Top Ten world wide money makers in 2008. At #3 is Kung Fu Panda with $632 million. Wall-E is at #8 with $507. Madagascar and Horton are slightly down on the list at #11 and $14 respectively. I find the world wide grosses to be the best barometer of what the public wants to see.

As usual, it is a good year for animation. Most of the other Top 10 are heavy effects driven. More good news for those in the industry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just finished watching Horton Hears a Who on DVD. This was the second time I've seen this movie. While it probably isn't my favorite animated film of all time, it was very enjoyable.

A few things stood out. First off, the lighting and textures are absolutely beautiful. Blue Sky really outdid themselves. I honestly think that some of the shots are better lit in this movie than any other CG film I've seen. Very dimensional. The furry soft textures covering everything also gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

The next important point to make is that the animation is excellent. I felt that Blue Sky's other films are pretty well animated, but Horton is far and away better in this department. Those rigs must of been a blast to play with. They seem to be capable of most anything. Speaking of technical behind the scenes goodness...

The special features for this DVD just plain sucked. Were there any? I certainly didn't see any. What happened to the good old fashioned bonus features? Both Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E sucked in this department too. Has everyone given up? I did notice the Ice Age short, which was terrible btw, but beyond that. Nothing. (Please note that I got this movie from Netflix, perhaps there is a second disc I am unaware of).

If you ignore my criticism of the lack of extra features. This is a good film. Not a great film. But a solid good film. The ending was a little silly for me (especially with the singing), however, the great animation and great lighting/texturing more than made up for it.

Delgo takes a Dump

How could I not comment about the Delgo disaster? The film took 10 years to finish and a reported $40 million or so. The opening weekend was a complete failure and one of, if not the most poorly performing films in that many theaters.

So what happened? I haven't seen the movie. And honestly, I have no interest in it. However, I have a feeling the number one problem was story. It just did not fit the typical American animation form. Secondly, the film looks like ass. However, you cannot expect anything less. It was started so long ago, that at the time, it looked only slightly worse compared to the CG films prior to '98. However, by 2008 standards, it looks outdated.

With all that is wrong with this film, I'm sad to see it fail. This was a true story of a guy who tried to make a go at an independent CG film. I respect Adler and his team. Props.

Next time, if there is a next time. You need to spend more money on marketing. No one really knew about this film. The ball was dropped. Very unfortunate.

I hope that some of the money can be made back in home video.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pissing off the troops

No, I'm not talking about our military. I'm talking about the visitors to this blog. There is nothing that seems to tick off the general animation industry more than saying something bad about a Pixar film.

My dislike for Wall-E has possibly created the most comments of any of my posts. Congratulations. This is what I love, causing people to get pissy and say what's on their mind. Good for you!

We all have our opinions. And no matter how much you try to convince me otherwise, Wall-E was weak. Any number of nominations or even awards will never change my view.

I still think highly of Pixar. All you industry wannabe kool-aid drinkers can relax. Presto was genious, Up looks promising and most of their films were good. It just so happens that Wall-E wasn't one of them!

Laika Lays Off

I knew it would happen sooner or later. Today, it was announced that Laika is laying off 65 (or 75 depending on your source). It seems that Jack and Ben has been shelved and those working on it are getting the axe.

When Coraline completely wraps, we may see more pink slips. This is par for the course in the animation industry. The difference is, since this company is on its own little island up there in the Pacific Northwest, they'll have a harder time bringing in new people next time around.

So much for Laika being one of the very few places that gives job security. Their location only hurts in these situations.

I don't have very high hopes for Laika. After Coraline tanks, this may just be the tip of the iceberg.