Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The budget for this film was lower than the 3D films produced at either Pixar or Disney. So, $$ expectations are lower. While at first glance, it almost seems like a disappointment, the fact that it made back somewhere around half of its production costs in the opening weekend is a good sign.
I'll bet that Disney will greenlight another 2D film before too long.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Unlike much of the animated content made especially for TV these days, this was feature quality. Or at least very close. The lighting, texturing, and animation were all top notch. Even the story was enjoyable (albeit predictable).
There seemed to be a surge in Holiday themed animation this year. The Monsters Vs Aliens Halloween special (missed that one!), the Madagascar Christmas, and P&L were all well done. Nice to see such an effort put forth.
For all of you filmmakers out there, there is a market for making Holiday themed content. If done well, it is something that can air every year, making money each season. Not to mention DVD sales.
If you missed it last night, head over there to Hulu to see it for yourself.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Seems that DWA has been talking about an upcoming film of theirs. The Guardian will star Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Frost.
Click on the image for a bigger version (stolen from Cartoon Brew). I know ripping on DWA is the fashionable thing to do, but I like to buck the trend. The character and design look nice to me. As far as Leonardo as the voice. Well, I'm not very excited about that. However, maybe he can pull it off. We'll see.
On another note, I was watching Up the other day. It is a really enjoyable movie. Not Pixar's best work, but very nice. However, I did notice in parts that the lipsync looked off. Mouths didn't seem to be closing on the m's, b's, etc. Maybe something was screwed up with my BluRay disc, but it just felt wrong in more than a few places. I know Pixar is the end all and be all of animation (rolling eyes), but something just didn't feel right. Ignoring that, it was a fun movie. Also, in the extras section, when they documented their time in South America for research. That was very interesting. What an incredible place to visit. I wonder what the bill was for that field trip.
Boy, aren't you glad you came to the blog to read this lame post?
Monday, November 16, 2009
And when you compare it to other kids animated product (as a parent, I've had to sit through plenty), it actually has a pretty high production value.
Take a look and let me know what you think.
Tomorrow night, the Madagascar Christmas special will take place. Hopefully I can remember to watch this one. And shortly, Disney will have their own called Prep and Landing.
I love seeing these high quality animated tv specials. Not only does it keep our artists busy, it opens the doors for more projects. Let's hope that they are all successful.
I really enjoyed this trailer. It was well done on all fronts. Upon reflection, the first trailer was pretty good as well, but I was a little wishy-washy on the character design. However, this latest one makes me want to see more. The two "villians" look entertaining enough.
IE is banking on a different production model then Pixar/Disney/DWA/Blue Sky/etc. They come up with the ideas and farm out the actual animation production. Not unlike what Sony Pictures Animation is doing with Open Season 3 (and did with OS2). Frankly, I think this is a smart decision from a business standpoint. While I hate outsourcing to foreign lands, the reasons are obvious for IE. France offers tax breaks.
As the economy straightens itself out, and if the US doesn't go bankrupt thanks to some idiotic government spending, we may see more of this as banks begin to hand out money again.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The textures and lighting looked nice. There is something about it that makes it feel really warm. Additionally, the fur and hair are well done. Nice step up from MvA. The animation is also a step up from some of their previous films. Except, the mouth animation seems a little on the dry side and imo, could stand to be a bit more exaggerated.
Can't wait to see more.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I still haven't seen the movie. Many of my friends ask how I can be in this business and not go to see every animated film when it releases. There are many reasons. Everything from having a wife and kids (too young to go to the theater) to spend time with and not wanting to deal with the distractions of rude movie goers. On top of that, before the economy got super-crappy, we spent a ton of money on a home theater room. Big screen projection, nice reclining chairs, and cup holders. I only bring this up because I'd much rather enjoy the movie at home where the distractions are few and the quality is high. Unfortunately, that means that I've seen almost everything well after the fact. And more related to this post, I haven't seen Cloudy/Meatballs.
SPA's next film will be Hotel Transylvania. I've heard good things about the artwork, but haven't heard anything good or bad about the story. Hopefully they can continue to pump out films that make money.
While we are talking about Sony. On the heels of Open Season 2 (direct to video) success, they're hard at work on Open Season 3. Like the last, this will be at least partially animated in Texas at Reel FX. OS2 was created for well below $8 million and DVD sales were high. Of course this put the third installment in motion. I've yet to hear what the budget will be for this one, but they'd be smart to keep it similar.
From what I understand, Gatchaman is next up to bat. I think Imagi is asking for another bomb. Sadly, the best business move for them would be to try and replicate the type of stories that typically make animated movies successful. From a creative standpoint, I'm all for variety, but from a pure business/money standpoint, it is risky to continue down the same path they're going.
Monday, October 26, 2009
In my travels, I stumbled across Cartoon Brew. And low and behold, there was a post about the closing of the San Fran version of Wild Brain. And in that post was a mention and link to this crappy blog you are reading now!
I can't say for sure, but I'm almost positive Cartoon Brew gets more than 1 visitor a day. Which makes it far more successful than my blog. Man, I've hit the big time. To all my new readers, welcome to hell!
I can't wait to check the visitor stats tomorrow. Right now, it tells me I get 1 visitor per day, and I'm pretty sure that visitor is me. If it's above 5 after this mention in CB, I'll consider it a success!
Against my better judgment, I actually read the comment section of Cartoon Brew to see what the responses were. However, I'm much too cool to reply there, so I'll do it here.
Re-read my post Einstein. I said Wild Brain SF was shuttered. Not the entire company. Oh wait, maybe you're responding to the CB post and not mine. Hmm. My apologies. No wait, I take it back. No apologies! (I need to maintain my bad-boy image.)
To Rainbow Tear (do rainbows cry?)
Of course my post was poorly written. That's how I roll. By the way, absolutely no research goes into this website. That would be reserved for people who actually care about integrity.
I'm glad I could get that off my chest. I feel much better now.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm not a fan of motion capture. But even with the motion aside, this doesn't look very good at all. The characters are not pleasing to the eye. The lighting and textures seemed weird. (Even my wife, unprompted I might add, commented on its sheer ugliness.)
I'm glad. I hope this movie fails miserably and falls flat on its ugly CG face. I'm sure I'll get more motion capture fan boys defending this steaming pile of shiite, but it needs to die a horrible death.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
How did this happen? Well, I cannot say for sure. But the rumor going around is that when the previous CEO left, they brought in a woman to run the company. She was a TV producer down in LA and her big bright idea was to shutter the SF office. Supposedly she put the kibosh on any incoming projects, just to guarantee there was no work to support the studio.
Nothing like what it was in SF, but WB still exists in LA. I've heard they are doing some really crappy work. They've still got Yo Gabba Gabba and a few other projects, but I'm pretty sure there isn't much else.
Seriously, I just wanted to do other things. And it has been hard to muster up the energy to post anything at all on this awful excuse for a blog. I can't imagine anyone still visits, so I'm probably typing at absolutely no one. Which is good. I can say anything I want.
I used to wake up every morning and make my rounds reading various news sites, a few forums or a few blogs. Just to see what others were talking about. I've tried to complete stop it. It has become a waste of time.
The Animation Nation was a place I liked to go to many years ago, but that place has turned into such a hole, it isn't even funny. All the posts come from the same people, and I'm convinced they know very little about what they are talking about. The hot air is enough to melt your skin. If I have to read one more post about "the man" dragging everyone down...
The union blog isn't a bad place to visit. Occasionally they write something interesting. What I do appreciate, unlike myself, is that they update the thing often. Good to see the union dollars going towards something useful...?
As long as I don't read the comments, I'll probably continue going there. Union people must be really pissy or something. Even more so than usual. Seems like a high number of dumb asses that have nothing better to do than complain or get into a political argument. What is with people in this industry? Why so bitchy? Of course, I'm no different. I like to complain about everything. Bitch and moan, bitch and moan. But even I, can't handle the pathetic attitudes in the comments. So, I've stopped reading.
So, lately I've cut out my former morning routine. Now, I skim some websites that are completely unrelated to animation. What a much happier mood I find myself in. I actually had to take a hammer to my fingers to get me pissed off enough to write something for this blog.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The animation, modeling, texturing, and lighting are pretty well done. No uber cloth simulations or fancy schmancy technical achievements (in the trailer that is), but it did do the job. Not everyone can spend those Pixar $$.
What is most important, is that the trailer made me want to see the movie. Looks to be a good time. Although, come to think of it, I may of said that for Cloudy w/ a Chance of Meatballs when their first trailer released. Now... I have no interest in that film.
I haven't heard for sure, my budget guess is in the (USD) $70 million area.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
If you recall, this is the film and company (CritterPix) that I bashed numerous times on this blog in the past. I've got to commend them for getting a promo done and getting it to Cannes (not the festival mind you!). However, it still looks like ass. And unfortunately, the story still sounds about as good as it looks.
I still have a negative outlook for the film and the company. But hell, I've been wrong before and who knows what may happen. There is a place in this world for crappy films. And those crappy films sometimes make a lot of money.
Thanks to the Anonymous guy who pointed this out in a previous comment section.
After seeing the second trailer that was recently released, I'm starting to think that won't happen. What an ugly film this has turned into. The art direction looks horrible. Everything looks muddy. Poor lighting choices. The animation looks okay, but seems to have taken a step down from their previous two films. Perhaps the good stuff isn't in the trailer and being saved for the movie. On top of all of that, the character models are uninteresting and downright boring.
Whatever the case, I'm no longer looking forward to this film. Sad. I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that SPA is going the way of the dodo bird.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Come back soon, hopefully I'll find some time to write more about all the stuff going on in the animation world.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Take Chester Cheetah for instance. Have you seen the CG version of him in the last year or so? U-g-l-y! How about Tony the Tiger. Another mistake. The list goes on.
The hot chick from the Esurance commercials is the latest character to go down in flames. That cute and sexy Erin has morphed into Ugly Betty. Not only did she lose most of her charm, but the animation and lighting was downright nasty. What a mistake. I hope this is not a permanent decision.
I feel bad for the 2D guys and gals at Wildbrain that had to sit by and watch this happen. They've got to be hating the results even more than I do.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Even though I'm not posting, I'm still thinking about what to say here in my next post. The problem is, when I actually sit down and start typing, I've forgotten all the things that I wanted to say.
Lucky for you, I did remember one of those things...
While browsing youTube, getting my fill of cute puppies and kitties, I ran across this guy who posts about his exploits trying to get financing for an animated film. The guy is really creative and his videos are actually funny. I'm pulling for him for no other reason than he makes me smile.
You can click here to find him. It seems he is "close" to getting funding. I put it in quotes, because it always appears close, then the rug is pulled from beneath you. He hasn't said what his movie is about, but from the videos, I've gathered that he has a co-production deal with some (probably foreign) animation studio. His latest video explains that he is trying to get an investor and distributor to agree so that he can finally fund his film.
I wish him luck. And anyone that reads this blog knows, I'm not normally nice enough to actually wish someone luck. At least, with any real meaning.
My advice to him, as if he were listening. Is to employ a producer that is actually familiar with these negotiations and not do it yourself. Don't risk it. You could probably talk someone into helping you in exchange for some money after the deal is done.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
First off, SPA released a trailer for "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs". You can find it on the website of the same name. The low resolution trailer absolutely sucks. Why do companies release them like this? It just makes the film look worse than it possibly is.
The character designs are simple. I'm not sure that this is a bad thing. While at the same time, I'm not sure it is a good thing. I'm really mixed on the look of this film. I'll have to get back to you. As far as the story, it sounds entertaining enough.
Speaking of Sony. I forced myself to watch "Open Season 2" on video a few weeks back. The story was absolutely horrible. I could barely keep it on for the entire movie. But I did it anyway. Just for you! My faithful audience. My wife said the animation was fine. But as someone in the industry. I can only say the animation was bad. Not Hoodwinked bad, but pretty bad, just the same. Boog just looked off. Something weird about his model and facial expressions. The other characters just looked cheap. I was really disappointed.
As you may or may not know, much of, if not all of this show was done at Reel FX in Texas. I don't know what to make of those guys. Sometimes you see some decent stuff out of them (Furious Five animation comes to mind) and then you see crap like this. I hope it has to do with the budget. I've heard rumors it was under $10M for OS2. Much under $10M! If so, I guess I should give them a break. Even if the story sucked and the animation was well under the bar. I am thrilled that they kept the work in the USA. Kudos to Sony for doing that. I'm willing to bet that another badly written OS3 will be coming soon. That is okay if it means more work for those in the States.
Blur Studios in Venice released a still or two for "The Goon". A CG film they are doing. It looked pretty decent. Although, I'm going to hold back my judgement till I see more. Blur does some nice work. That short film they did with the two guys fighting over the woman with bouncy boobs was sweet. If they can keep the film on that level or better, we are in for some good eye candy. Maybe I just hope we get more CG bouncy boobs. If anyone will do it, Blur will.
I rented "Madagascar 2" to watch again. Nice entertaining movie. Didn't blow me away, but it was fun. The animation wasn't all that great, imo. But it was serviceable. Some really nice moments, then some crappy stuff. I'm slowly falling off the Monsters Vs Aliens bandwaggon. I'm getting less and less interested in seeing it by the minute. Not good.
Pixar has released the plot for their next short "Partly Cloudy". No, it isn't a ripoff of SPA's flick. Instead, it is about an actual cloud. While the last Pixar movies have been somewhat lackluster in my opinion, their shorts continue to entertain. I have a feeling this one will too.
I guess Disney is stirring up controversy with "Princess and the Frog". Why? Cause the princess is black and the prince isn't. WTF? Doesn't that mean more diversity? I don't get it. Some people are never happy. I expect this film to do pretty good when released. Will that mean more 2D features from the mouse? I don't know. Probably. But don't expect them to drop any CG productions to make room.
And lastly. Mr. Phil Knight has promoted his son to CEO of Laika. Travis will be taking the place of the previous exec Dale Wahl. Does this surprise anyone? It shouldn't. Maybe the kid is deserving, but it sure sounds like daddy warbucks is just buying Tiny Teabag (or whatever his rapper name was. (yes, he had a short career as a rapper. No doubt paid for by his dad.)) his own little kingdom to rule. Don't take this personally Travis, I'm just jealous. If I had a mega rich father, I'd want to be spoiled too.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
My feelings about the best animated film category hasn't changed. Wall-E will probably win. But in my eyes, KFP deserves it.
The first 20 or so minutes of Wall-E was very enjoyable. I loved it. But after that, the movie started to nose dive. Not long thereafter, the thing crashed. I tried watching it 3 times, in an attempt to see what I missed. Same reaction each time.
Here's hoping that "Up" is a better film.
UPDATE: Two predictions came true tonight. 1- Wall-E won. And 2- I didn't watch one second of the Oscars. Instead, I spent the time on more important things. Like laundry. I was running out of underwear and my toe nails were not in need of maintenance.
Monday, February 09, 2009
I'm not sure what this means for Laika's future.
Friday, February 06, 2009
I'm not sure we can blame it entirely on the economy or what. My guess is that it has a lot to do with studios underbidding everyone else in order to get work. It is amazing how little money the big effects companies bring in these days. One or two slip ups can really screw you over.
You can bet that several more studios are going to go out of business before the world climbs out of this financial shit hole.
Unfortunately, my gut instinct is telling me that Coraline will stink it up and do very poorly this weekend. It just doesn't have the wide range appeal or push behind it to be considered a success. Especially since the film cost north of $70 million.
This will not bode well for future features out of this Portland studio
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Good to see that I'm not the only one that thinks KFP is the better movie. Although I expect Wall-E to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. I have my fingers crossed that KFP takes it as well.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
1) Imagi makes TMNT.
2) Imagi goes into production on Astro Boy and development on several others.
3) An auditor discovers that Imagi is running out of money and won't be able to finish Astro Boy or continue development of other projects.
4) Imagi scrambles to get bridge financing to get them to their second round of financing on Feb 3rd.
5) Bridge financing falls apart.
6) Employees at the LA office are told not to come into work.
7) President of US Imagi says that they are hopeful on Feb 3rd that they'll have money (said to the LA Union Rep).
Item #7 is scary. The fact that she said that it is hopeful that money will come in on Feb 3rd can mean a few things. A) The round of financing to be disbursed on Feb 3rd has not been secured because Imagi has not reached a pre-defined set of requirements. B) Those with the money have gotten cold feet and found a way to back out or delay funds (see A above). C) The round of financing has simply not been secured yet (a very scary thought). D) It was a misquote from the US Imagi President and everything is hunky-dory.
If it is either A, B, or C, I would not expect employees invited back to work on Feb 3rd. Or anytime soon for that matter. The financial situation in our world right now is dire. I'd be looking for another job if I were one of the employees.
My gut feeling is that Imagi will get the needed funds. It just won't happen for a while. In the meantime, they don't have the financials to continue operations.
Disclaimer: All of my information is second or third hand and I do not claim to have an insider knowledge, and I have made assumptions on various rumors circulating through the industry. In other words, it is an educated guess.
Monday, January 26, 2009
It has been reported that Imagi has had many financial issues the past several months. First they ran out of money trying to finish Astro Boy. I'm not sure if they went over the production budget, or too much was spent on the prepro of other films. Whatever the case, they ended up looking for a cash infusion to take care of matters. It sounded like they were pretty desperate, and for many months they were preparing for the possible closure of the studio.
Just a week ago, an article appeared in Forbes announcing that they found the needed funding to keep going. However, if you believe the most recent rumors, that fell apart. Several websites are claiming that Imagi is being shut down. Whether that is permanent or not, has yet to be seen. Again, this could be rumor. We are waiting to hear more.
Imagi's budget problems can be blamed on themselves. However, the inability to get additional funding to keep them afloat is only partially their problem. The financial situation the world banks are in right now is putting the kabosh on most funding. Investors are scared and banks are being ultra stingy with whatever money they have. The situation these banks have gotten us in, just drives me completely insane. Their greed has brought this country and many others to its knees. The US government has a hand in this nightmare too. I'm so irate that they are handing out money left and right without putting more restrictions on how it is used. Someone needs to oversee this crap. Okay. Deep breath. Back to the subject...
I'm close to a few business deals right now that are trying to get funding. Everyone has signed on the dotted line. Matter of a fact, that has happened long ago. The banks are just delaying and moving very slowly with the actual transfer of funds. They have bigger problems and frankly are scared to do anything. So deals are going through, just very slowly. Another side effect of all of this is that if you want money, you need to pay outlandish commissions, fees, and interest. Because if you don't, you simply won't get anything. Companies are stuck in a terrible situation. Either they don't get their money or they get it and immediately put themselves in a hole to be able to pay back these unreasonable terms.
Just recently, DreamWorks (not the animation side) put out a release saying that they received $1.2 billion in funding. If I'm not mistaken, I made a mention of it in another post. The deal was part debt and part equity financing. Come to find out, and rumor has it, the debt portion fell through! So even if you are a big company with big names behind it. You are hurting when trying to get an infusion.
What a screwed up time we are in. Those of you out there trying to get money to finance a company or project, good luck. I'm hopeful that things will improve, but frankly, this could be going on for a very long time. And I don't think we've hit rock-bottom yet.
Wall-E did not get a nomination for Best Film. Thank goodness someone has a head on their shoulders. I'm pretty sure it will win Best Animated Film, however I'm hoping it won't. Kung Fu Panda should be the winner in my opinion.
Coraline will be releasing soon. My guess is that this film won't do very well in the box office. I'm not prepared to make a more detailed prediction. This is just a gut feeling. I just don't think it has the "it" factor. What will this mean for Laika? Troubles. More layoffs and they'll have trouble getting another film going. Too bad.