If you were to judge this film solely on how it looks you might assume it was a comic book adaptation or fifties crime thriller. You’d be surprised how tame the story is compared to the visual delight of it’s cinematography. The entire movie is a course on color and composition. Countless frame within frames, warm vs. cool, and complementary colors are used throughout the film. The film reeks of mood. Here’s some highlights:
This is an excellent film. I saw it last night for the first time, and it’s truly a well crafted story. I bookmarked this review to read after I’d seen the film and collected my own thoughts on the story, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Check out the film, and the review if you want to learn about good storytelling.
I saw How to Train Your Dragon last night. I managed to see it without a massive crowd or anyone annoying in the audience…Which is rare these days. Anyway, I don’t think it lives up to the hype everyone has created for it. I’m certainly not disappointed. I just went in with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes rating in my mind when I’d give it a 90%. Which is still really good.
This film is definitely Dreamworks best film to date. There are some really powerful scenes in this film that raised the bar for the studio. There’s also some incredible animation that blew my mind, especially on Toothless. Having said that, there’s also some animation that looked to me like motion capture. Someone on Cartoon Brew mentioned that this might be because they tried to emulate live-action motion too much, but I take what I read on that site very lightly, especially in the comments. Whatever it was, I noticed it just as much as I noticed the really good stuff. In the credits I saw that they had character leads for animation, getting back to the old system of animation, which is really cool.
There seems to be an equal amount of over-excitement and bashing going on for this film on various sites. I’m not going to rag on the story because, while I recognized some repetitive elements, they were repeated because they work. And who am I to bash a film anyway? I’m of the mindset now that if I can’t do better, shut up. And all in all I was very entertained, which is the point, right? To be entertained…I think some people forget that, and get too analytical. Besides, I am more interested in the film making and animation aspects than anything else. The sequence where Hiccup meets Toothless is magical and powerful. I was really impressed. The ending had a nice twist too. They truly complete each other by the end, and the scene where Toothless helps Hiccup to his feet really moved me.
It’s clear that they used dogs as part of their reference for the dragons, which as a dog lover I really tuned into. I would have loved to have worked on the dragons in this film. Toothless’ design was incredible! You can tell they really had to nail it down perfectly because he’s literally seen from every angle, and every part of his anatomy gets showcased in close-ups at some point in the film. Seeing Chris Sander’s designs realized in 3D was a real treat as well. The CG animator in me dreams of tinkering with the Toothless puppet in the same way I’d like to play around with the Mr. Incredible puppet and see what I can do with them. They just look like they were so well made. But you really have to look no further than the animation on both characters to see what’s possible. They really brought Toothless to life, and whoever did any of his shots should really be proud.
I saw the film without the 3D classes. I might go see it again in 3D because I’m one of the few people that aren’t bothered at all by the process. I was just curious. Anyway, go see it. It’s great. Bravo Dreamworks. Great work!
What did you think?
This film is film making 101 . Just a few of the amazing shots from this film. Note the depth, composition, beauty, framing, and mood. Check out the set used twice but with different lighting. Amazing. Too bad the film itself is rather boring.
I saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs yesterday. What a fun film! I can’t remember the last time I had that much “fun” watching a film. Lots of laughs, lots of great animation, and a fast paced story with never a dull moment. Yes there were cliches, spots of bad animation, and some character designs were not as strong as others, but on the whole it was a great film that the people at Sony should be really proud of. I would put it just below Kung Fu Panda on my scale of awesomeness for no other reason than I found the art direction and character design in Kung Fu Panda looked a lot better. But they were both just as entertaining to me. Congratulations Sony, well done!
Highlights for me were:
- Flint’s hair
- Flint’s lab
- Tim”s eyebrows
- The animation of Earl (the cop)
- The Rat-birds
- The mayor
- The pilot/doctor character (Doesn’t he look like the guy from Pink Panther?)
The only thing that bugged me enough to mention were those gigantic power puff eyes. They worked a lot better in this film than I’ve seen before, but they’re still not my cup of tea. Well nothing is really, I don’t drink tea.
As for the 3D thing. I saw it in 3D, and like every other 3D movie I’ve seen, I really enjoyed it. It didn’t take away from my experience. It didn’t come across as a gimmick. Whether it added to my entertainment experience, I do not know. It probably did. The thing with the 3D is, I don’t notice it after a while, except in the really good parts where they push it. It doesn’t bug me or give me headaches like it seems to for everyone else. I’m tired of hearing everyone harp on about how unnecessary it is, and how they deliberately avoid it, every time a new animated film comes out. Give it a rest people. Please. We should be talking about the films themselves and how they affect us, not how the execs are gouging us for another $5. This film was worth my $10, and certainly worth my $15. So I’m okay with it. Everyone go see this film, in 3D or not in 3D, who cares!
I’m pretty impressed with the new Pinocchio Blu-Ray. Watching this film on a big screen is amazing. The color and picture are absolutely beautiful. I can’t help but think that this is how the film was intended to be viewed; the technology has finally caught up with the artistry. There’s a excellent review here, constrasting the image and sound quality differences between this new version and the limited edition DVD I bought years ago. What a difference!
Restoring DVDs like this makes them an experience again. I don’t feel like I’m watching something old anymore, and I can get lost in the story and beautiful art. I can marvel at the painted backgrounds, and crisp character animation. I’m taken back, without feeling like I’ve been taken back. Look at the beautiful color in the image above! That’s how it was supposed to look.
CineExplore is another Blu-Ray feature I’ve just discovered that I’m totally geeking out on. What a treat for people like me. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s basically a deluxe commentary track. You get visuals (production art, maquette turn-arounds, interview clips, etc) while you watch the film and listen to (and watch) the commentators. It’s a big deal for animators. Buy the Pinocchio Blu-Ray, you won’t be dissapointed. I’m really looking forward to the new Fantasia Blu-Ray.
Check out this re-review of the Phantom Menace. I have to say I feel the same way about the film now, and I felt the same way about the film ten years ago. Here’s a quote from the article:
That’s why it can be enlightening to look at a movie again after some time has passed — say, 10 years, if you like round numbers and meaningless milestones. The movie has stayed the same, but the viewer (“that man,” as Warshow put it) is different. Your tastes, preferences, attitudes, and philosophies evolve over time, sometimes becoming more firm, sometimes shifting slightly, sometimes reversing altogether. Everything about you, from your personality to your life experiences, plays a part in how you perceive a movie. It’s unreasonable to think you’d feel exactly the same way, in every respect, after another decade of living has altered you.
I just finished watching Don Bluth’s Banjo the Woodpile Cat. I got it earlier this week off Amazon from Don Bluth studios. Up until Jerry Beck posted about it on Cartoon Brew, I’d never even heard of it. I’d always assumed Secret of Nihm was the first Bluth project.
I was drawn to buy it because of the animation history revealed in the extras. I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff, and the whole Bluth leaving Disney situation was always something I wanted to know more about.
The 26 minute feature is full of some beautiful animation, and I totally recommend you pick up a copy. It’s well worth it.
What a visual treat! I really was amazed at how far forward Laika has brought stop-motion animation. Some of the shots and animation in this film are mind-bogglingly complex. From the cinematography to the art direction to the character designs to the score, I was thoroughly enchanted. The characters, save one or two, were all rich and hilarious. The film itself felt so right, not too long or short.
I’m noticing a tendency in these stop-mo films in that they veer towards the creepy a little more than I like. I suppose that’s due to the fact that Selick and Burton have been involved in all of the major contributions to feature stop motion animation. It’s not that I don’t like creepy, but when Nick Park seems to be the only major animator NOT doing creepy it gets a little tiring. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying Coraline. It’s a beautiful film, and well worth seeing (Especially in 3D).