Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goings On

Been a while, huh? What else is new. You should be used to my lack of posting by now. Hopefully, the three people that still visit this site will get some lunch time reading fodder out of this.

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.


Anonymous said...

no comment on your failed prediction about Coraline?
well its your blog :)

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that OS2 has a fair bit of animation work done in Imageworks India.

Melanie said...

Hmmm... in your opinion why wasn't the animation of mad 2 "not that good" ?

Staloren said...

Failed prediction? I said that I didn't think it would do very well. It hasn't exactly lit any fires. I stand by my remarks.

Staloren said...

Anonymous #2. Thanks for the info. Now that you have said that, I think I may of heard that too at some point. Do you know what the breakdown was between Reel FX and India?

Melanie. When I watched Kung Fu Panda, I thought that DWA did such a nice job on the animation. However, when watching Mad2, I was less impressed. Don't get me wrong, there was some good work throughout. But generally, I was a little disappointed that it didn't live up to the standards set by KFP.

RayChase said...

Most of the animation was done through ReelFx. A little bit was done at Sony and a tiny bit down in India. We had an extremely tight schedule and a low budget; lower than 10mil.

We did the best we could under the constraints we were given. But yes indeedy, most of the movie was done in the US, so that was a good thing :)

Neelabh Bisen said...

I just saw "IGOR" and its too frankstanimatedly boring.IMHO;tis bcos the storyline gets tangled specially the Lady Frankstein monster that Igor created.In making the pivot of plot i.e. intending to make a she-companion Igor creates a monster with no/unresponsive mind'and does the routine of going to evil extremes;helped by 2 token sidekicks...!
But I really appreaciate "OKATPODI" by 6 students is awesome work.Being a student of 3dcg&a myself I hope to make a short like these guys did.
OS2 is drab; Madg2-EtA also doesn't have a second look feel to it.Though animation is great but content is poor in all 3-OS2,Madg2-EtA & Igor.

Stop-motion said...

I've haven't met Travis Knight myself, but I have several friends at Laika and they've only had positive things to say about him. From all accounts he's down to earth and has put in the time and effort to mold himself into a top-notch animator.
Laika will have a CEO that actually loves animation.

Hopefully he gets rid of that psycho Henry Selick before he runs yet another studio into the ground

Anonymous said...

I think it would be good to define what a "good box office" is. Is a box office earning (equal to the film's cost) in the first month of release considered good, great? Are you also considering the $ to be made on International box office, dvd, tv continues to earn?
The actual earnings on all aspects of a film are rarely if ever released publicly, but so many people posture as financial experts on this subject....

Staloren said...

Everyones opinion of a good box office is different. And when a film is still in release, it is a little premature to say anything.

However, given the amount of money it has currently made in both domestic and international, it is doing okay (remember, this is a $70+ million film before P&A are added in). But, it is not what I'd consider a hit.

I'll write up a post sometime in the (hopefully near) future about my views on what a film needs to make in order to be successful. Though, my definition is pretty much considered the general accepted formula.

p.s. "The earnings on all aspects of a film are rarely released publicly." That is very true. But this information is available. You just have to know who to contact. All it takes is a few phone calls.

Anonymous said...

Travis Knight is a nice guy, and a decent animator. But he's no businessman, and this does not bode well for Laika.

g.w. bush got everything from daddy, and look where THAT'S lead the country.

Anonymous said...

Well, Coraline is doing a bit better than expected, and is almost halfway back to covering it's cost. NOT exactly a huge success, but respectable enough for a middling, disjointed film.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic --
Saw Monsters vs Aliens last night at an early showing in San Francisco -- fitting given the movie's setting. I really liked it. Wish I had worked on it.

Anonymous said...

To be exact regarding animation on OS2...

- 15 animators were in-house in Dallas, TX.
- 10 animators were actually at Sony (some leads from Cloudy).
- 5 animators were at Sony India.
- 40 animators off-site working remotely from their house from all over the world.

It was a 4 month animation schedule for 72 minutes with a budget of $4m total for entire film.

As for Furious Five, 5 minutes of animation over a 3 month schedule. Made a huge difference in the quality for the animation crew in Dallas, TX. It was a breath of fresh air after rolling off of OS2 and that killer schedule.

If the Reel FX crew could get more Furious Five type schedules, you would see more KFP quality.