Is your holiday tree lacking that extra special something? Tired of the same old ornaments and toppers? Add an animation director to it.
The post Holiday Decorating Idea: Animation Director Angels appeared first on Cartoon Brew.Add a Comment
Is your holiday tree lacking that extra special something? Tired of the same old ornaments and toppers? Add an animation director to it.
The post Holiday Decorating Idea: Animation Director Angels appeared first on Cartoon Brew.Add a Comment
"The Iron Giant: Signature Edition," director Brad Bird's remastered masterpiece of war, peace, and paranoia, returns to theaters this Wednesday and Sunday, with new scenes courtesy of Duncan Studio.Add a Comment
Remastered with two new scenes, Brad Bird's animated masterpiece of war and peace is returning for a very limited engagement.Add a Comment
The signature edition of "Iron Giant" will have its world premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.Add a Comment
Warner Bros. and director Brad Bird have both confirmed that the anticipated Blu-ray release of 'The Iron Giant: Signature Edition' is indeed on the way.Add a Comment
If you worked on the film, now would be a good time to share memories and archival materials.Add a Comment
Colleagues and admirers are remembering the creative genius of the man who helped create "The Simpsons."Add a Comment
It is 1939 and Lee, who is on vacation, has been given a mysterious comic book that contains a secret that could change the world. Full of science and intrigue, it all happens in a place called Tomorrowland, and the novel contains the secret comic. Books mentioned in this post Before Tomorrowland Jeff Jensen Sale [...]Add a Comment
A much sought-after piece of animation history has surfaced on YouTube at last.Add a Comment
The sequences were originally supposed to appear in the film itself.Add a Comment
The director will be slipping back into the animation spandex very, very soon.Add a Comment
The "Iron Giant" director has revealed that he's not done yet with hand-drawn animation.Add a Comment
It’s often said that the writers on Lost were just making it up as they went along; weaving the most impossible scenarios into the yarns of the story, hoping an explanation or ending might surface after-the-fact.
If that is, in fact, how Lost was written, it’s easy to argue that Damon Lindelof‘s latest writing venture takes the opposite approach. With a script credited to Lindelof, Jeff Jensen, and director Brad Bird, Tomorrowland feels like a concept or idea (or a philosophy, even) that was fleshed out into 15 minutes of story in the writers’ room. That 15 minutes of story was nestled into the movie’s ending, and 90 minutes of “robots-are-chasing-you-run!” were tacked on ahead of it. A movie that knew where it wanted to go, but had no idea how to get there.
Given the movie’s title and inspiration, it’s awfully hard not to compare it to one of Disney’s rides – waiting more than an hour for an experience that lasts minutes.
The premise of Tomorrowland centers around Casey (Britt Robertson), a rebellious, intelligent teenager who has a knack for understanding how things work. When Casey is gifted a mysterious pin by a child named Athena (Raffey Cassidy), she realizes she has a key to another world where ambitious minds can meet. She enlists the help of a grumpy man named Frank (George Clooney) to help her escape a gang of robots that have started chasing her for the pin (…it’s genuinely as abrupt as it sounds), and they work together to get back to Tomorrowland.
It’s also worth mentioning that several people (primarily bystanders) die on-screen in Tomorrowland, but the violence is glossed over so quickly that it’s simultaneously jarring and forgettable. I’m not opposed to violence showing up in movies, but I prefer if it has a purpose in the story. Here it’s to show that bad robots are bad. Got it? Bad robots. Bad.
It’s not all bad stuff, mind you – the movie’s peak features a Home Alone style house that’s been booby-trapped by Clooney’s character – but after several successful directorial efforts from Bird, including The Incredibles, it’s hard not to consider this one a misfire.
The break-out success of this film, if anything is to be remembered from it, will likely be Robertson’s performance. For a hollow character in a hollow film, Robertson manages to lend enough personal ticks and mannerisms to Casey to make her likable. It may not be a particularly challenging part, but Robertson’s Jennifer-Lawrence-like persona shines through.
Lindelof has already taken to the press to say that this is a movie fanboys will be too cynical to like. While it’s true that Tomorrowland offers a more optimistic look at our future, rather than pining over a world of zombies and destruction, I don’t think it’s the premise that will kill the film’s good will. In fact, I think that’s one of the few and only reasons I’ve seen cited for people enjoying it.
Instead, Tomorrowland spends the majority of it’s running time on bad action (pro-tip: don’t see this movie right after Mad Max: Fury Road) and then decides to clumsily tell, rather than show, its message in a few final moments. Regardless of Lindelof’s claim that this movie isn’t for cynics, the problem isn’t with the viewers. The problem is that a fortune cookie philosophy served at the end of a bad meal doesn’t make the food taste good.Display Comments Add a Comment
The silver lining: Brad Bird is returning to animation.Add a Comment
A clearer picture of Brad Bird’s next live-action feature film project is starting to emerge. Described as a Close Encounters Of The Third Kind-esque project about a man who makes contact with aliens on Earth, the film’s official title was revealed today as Tomorrowland, a not-so-subtle tie-in to another part of the Disney empire:
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The Walt Disney Studios has announced that its live-action release previously known as 1952 will be titled Tomorrowland. The film will be released domestically on December 19, 2014. George Clooney is set to star. Tomorrowland is written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird from a concept by Lindelof and Jeff Jensen. Lindelof (Star Trek, Lost, Prometheus) will produce and Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) will produce and direct.
“Animation is a young man’s game,” Chuck Jones once said. There’s no question that animation is a labor-intensive art that requires mass quantities of energy and time. While it’s true that the majority of animation directors have directed a film by the age of 30, there are also a number of well known directors who started their careers later.
Directors like Pete Docter, John Kricfalusi and Bill Plympton didn’t begin directing films until they were in their 30s. Don Bluth, Winsor McCay and Frederic Back were late bloomers who embarked on directorial careers while in their 40s. Pioneering animator Emile Cohl didn’t make his first animated film, Fantasmagorie (1908), until he was 51 years old. Of course, that wasn’t just Cohl’s first film, but it is also considered by most historians to be the first true animated cartoon that anyone ever made.
Here is a cross-selection of 30 animation directors, past and present, and the age they were when their first professional film was released to the public.
The We The People petition website is run by the White House and bills itself as a site that gives “all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.” Any citizen of our great nation can create a petition and round up signatures from other constituents. The petitions that achieve over 100,000 signatures will generate a response from the Obama administration. Democracy in action…or so it would seem.
Last week, a courageous American started a petition that asked President Barack Obama to “re-enact the scene from The Incredibles where Frozone is looking for his supersuit.” The petition was supported by Incredibles director Brad Bird, who retweeted the request on his Twitter account. It made a reasonable request of the leader of the free world:
However, it turns out that Obama (or his minions who run the We the People site) do not appreciate The Incredibles as much as the rest of America’s freedom-loving, tax-paying, God-fearing citizens do. In an act worthy of the Turkish government, the petition asking Obama to re-enact a simple one-minute scene from a beloved animated film and which had received over 5,000 signatures in two days, was abruptly halted by the the U.S. government. Perhaps, then, Frozone was an appropriate character for Obama to re-enact because he clearly has no qualms about freezing the needs and desires of American citizens.
The harm that has been caused to the fundamental integrity of our democratic process is unquestionable, but we should never forget that, as Americans, we have the right to demand of our leaders to perform scenes from classic animated movies. In fact, a new petition requesting that Obama dress up as Frozone has already been launched on Change.org. We will make it happen one way or another:Add a Comment
Whether it be for lack of budget or a desire to take center stage, series creators lending their own voices to their animated television shows has always been fairly commonplace – Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill), John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) immediately spring to mind. However, in recent years, more and more feature directors have started getting in on the trend. From throwaway one-liners to continuous roles throughout entire franchises, here is a list of some animation directors and the characters they brought to life in their own films.
As the animation director for Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), Goldberg not only supervised the animation of the WB’s classic characters but he voiced some of them as well. Goldberg recorded the dialogue of Marvin the Martian, Tweety Bird and Speedy Gonzalez.
The distinctive sputters, spurts and high-speed mutterings of The Minions in Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013) belong to the films’ co-directors Pierre Coffin (above left) and Chris Renaud. And as the character’s popularity grows, so does their vocal commitment, as the two will reprise their roles in next year’s prequel Minions.
In his debut film Fritz the Cat (1972), director Ralph Bakshi voiced one of the boorish antagonist Pig Cops, who is also referred to as “Ralph” multiple times in his scenes.
Agnes Gooch, Edith Head, Patricia Highsmith, Linda Hunt – when it comes to figuring out who inspired the character of Edna Mode, people love to toss out many names, but in the end, the cutthroat designer of superhero fashion was brought to life by The Incredibles (2004) director Brad Bird.
Rich Moore, director of Wreck-It Ralph (2012) provided the dreary monotone of acidic jawbreaker Sour Bill, the henchman to the bombastic King Candy.
Even to this day, the toon celebrity cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit(1988) remain some of the best nods to the golden age of cartoons, especially that of Droopy Dog, who gets his opportunity to best Eddie Valiant with some traditional ‘toon high-jinks as a tricky elevator operator, sluggishly voiced by the film’s animation director Richard Williams.
What began as the high-strung snivels and snarls of Scrat in Ice Age (2002) has become a second career for director Chris Wedge who has gone on to vocally personify the prehistoric rodent in 3 sequels, 6 short films, 2 video games and in a walk-on role in an episode of Family Guy.
Royal messengers, tower guards, army commanders, friars and penguins, story artist Chris Miller has lent his voice-over skills to numerous animated films, most notably his returning roles as Geppetto and The Magic Mirror in the Shrek franchise, including Shrek the Third (2007), which he co-directed.
The often ignored and underrated animated film Cats Don’t Dance (1997) features some beautiful hand-drawn work and stellar vocal performances, including that of director Mark Dindal as the tight-lipped bodyguard/butler Max.
Pixar story artist, the late Joe Ranft, brought a handful of memorable animated characters to life, including Heimlich (A Bug’s Life), Wheezy the Penguin (Toy Story 2) and Jacques the Cleaner Shrimp (Finding Nemo). But it was in Cars (2006), which he co-directed, that he voiced three characters including the semi-truck Jerry Recycled Batteries.
In Lilo & Stitch (2002) co-director Chris Sanders takes on the nuanced role of Alien Experiment 626, aka “Stitch,” who escapes from an intergalactic prison only to find himself trapped on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Nathan Greno (above right) and Byron Howard not only paired up as co-directors of Tangled (2010) but also doubled as duos of Thugs and Guards in the animated picture.
With five features under his belt, John Lasseter has had plenty of opportunity to throw himself behind the microphone, however upon review of his filmography, you’ll find he has chosen his roles very carefully, as the role of John Lassetire in Cars 2 (2011) and the hilariously bug-zapped Harry the Mosquito in A Bug’s Life (1998).Add a Comment
Well, it’s that time of year again. A couple animated films perform below-average at the box office and the mainstream media begins asking, “Are Hollywood studios cranking out too many animated films?”
The article is filled with alarmist descriptions of the film animation industry, like “a flood of computer-animated movies” (because five films apparently constitutes a ‘flood’) and eye-roll worthy quotes like this one from DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg:
“We’ve never experienced this level of animation congestion in a period of time.”
and this gem from Illumination chief executive Chris Meledandri:
“[A]s more films are planned, it’s inevitable that there will be more acute cannibalization of each other.”
Cannibalization? Let’s get a grip, here. There are only eleven major animated releases planned for this year. That’s compared to hundreds of live-action releases. How is it that the feature film market can support hundreds of live-action films but less than a dozen animated pics?
The problem isn’t that there are too many animated films; the problem is that every single animated release is targeted at the same family demographic.
Yes, there were five animated releases this summer in the span of a couple months. That’s hardly newsworthy considering that there were dozens of live-action releases in the same period. The issue is that all five of those films were targeted to the exact same audience. I suffered through a couple of them, and if you have an intellectual capacity beyond a seven-year-old’s, chances are you’re going to want to watch something more stimulating.
A far more illuminating article would have been to ask why film executives ghettoize the animation art form and refuse to cater to a broader range of audiences, as animated filmmakers in Europe and Asia routinely do. Hayao Miyazaki’s controversial new animated feature The Wind Rises is geared toward adult audiences, and has not only been the number one film in Japan for the past month, but will likely become Japan’s number one film at the box office for all of 2013.
The writer of the LA Times article, Richard Verrier, who should know better considering that he covers the film industry for a living, erroneously refers to animation as a genre in his piece on multiple occasions. But, as we’ve discussed many times before, animation is NOT a genre. It may be perceived as a genre by Hollywood execs, but animation is as much a genre as live-action is.
I think that there is more misreading of trends in animation than any other of the film community. If Cool World fails, then all adult-themed animation is doomed. And if Disney fails, all of animation is doomed. And it’s not like, “Well, hey, man, you know, maybe people are tired of five songs and a familiar story.” … That’s like if George Lucas hit a rough patch, somebody would suddenly say, “Well, people are tired of science fiction.” It’s ridiculous! It’s the kind of idiotic statement that never seems to go out of style in Hollywood… Animation is not a genre. It is a method of storytelling. People are constantly analyzing it and misanalysing it as if it is a genre. It isn’t a genre. It can do horror films, it can do adult comedies if it wanted to, it could do fairy tales, it could do science fiction, it could do musicals, it could mystery, it can do anything. Because Disney has been the only one that’s lavished any care on it, people [then] think it’s the only kind that can be told successfully.
And even if you want to lump all animation as a genre, the argument is still flimsy and incorrect. How is there a glut when two of the top four films at the American box office are animated this year:
On top of that, Despicable Me 2 is the single most profitable film in the history of Universal. The financials alone would suggest that the success rate in animation is far higher than live-action’s hit rate. Perhaps then, the writers of the LA Times should be exploring whether there’s a glut of live-action films in Hollywood.Add a Comment
First it was Brad Bird. Now Sylvain Chomet, the director of The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist, has switched over to live-action filmmaking. Chomet’s feature debut, Attila Marcel, will premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is described as follows:
Paul is a sweet man-child, raised — and smothered — by his two eccentric aunts in Paris since the death of his parents when he was a toddler. Now thirty-three, he still does not speak. (He does express himself through colourful suits that would challenge any Wes Anderson character in nerd chic.) Paul’s aunts have only one dream for him: to win piano competitions. Although Paul practices dutifully, he remains unfulfilled until he submits to the interventions of his upstairs neighbor. Suitably named after the novelist, Madame Proust offers Paul a concoction that unlocks repressed memories from his childhood and awakens the most delightful of fantasies.
Chomet, who had earlier dabbled in live-action with a segment in Paris, je t’aime, explained the switch to live-action in an interview with the LA Times:
“I’ve always made animation as if it was a live-action film. I try to make it look almost real, the way it’s edited is not really like an animated film. I try to have continuity in between the shots like live action. I was always thinking of live action but came to live action through animation. That was a way for me to get into live action. Animation is filmmaking, it’s the same thing. And you really train as a director when you do animation. You get the eye, the sense of composition and timing. Live action is very similar to animation apart from animation takes ages and live action goes really fast.”
There’s still some hope for those who appreciate Chomet’s animation films. The Times said that Chomet currently has two features in development—one live-action and one animated—and he plans to make the film that gets funding first.Add a Comment
On a couple occasions throughout the years, people have asked me, Why do so many animated films have dead mothers in them?Add a Comment
New chapters of Mouse in Transition will be published every Friday on Cartoon Brew. It is the story of Disney Feature Animation—from the Nine Old Men to the coming of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Ten lost years of Walt Disney Production’s animation studio, through the eyes of a green animation writer. Steve Hulett spent a decade in Disney Feature Animation’s story department writing animated features, first under the tutelage and supervision of Disney veterans Woolie Reitherman and Larry Clemmons, then under the watchful eye of young Jeffrey Katzenberg. Since 1989, Hulett has served as the business representative of the Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE, a labor organization which represents Los Angeles-based animation artists, writers and technicians. Read Chapter 1: Disney’s Newest Hire Read Chapter 2: Larry Clemmons Read Chapter 3: The Disney Animation Story Crew Read Chapter 4: And Then There Was…Ken! Read Chapter 5: The Marathon Meetings of Woolie Reitherman Read Chapter 6: Detour into Disney History Read Chapter 7: When Everyone Left Disney Read Chapter 8: Mickey Rooney, Pearl Bailey and Kurt Russell “Chief has to DIE,” Ron Clements said. “The picture doesn’t work if he just breaks his LEG. Copper doesn’t have enough motivation to hate the fox.” Ron looked at me intently, shaking his head. He was a supervising animator on The Fox and the Hound, and was just then in the process of making a jump into the story department. He was something of a perfectionist and (for some reason) wanted the story to be better. Ron had worked for a season at Hanna-Barbera and then entered the Disney training program, apprenticing with veteran animator Frank Thomas. Within a decade he would be co-directing Disney’s breakout blockbuster The Little Mermaid, but at this moment he was unhappy with the story arc of The Fox and the Hound. “I agree with you, Ron,” I said. “Agree completely. But do you think Art Stevens will buy a change like that?” “I don’t know. But we have to try. The picture needs to be stronger.” The Fox and the Hound had a three-act structure. The second act had the fox, Tod, involved with a railroad accident. The old dog Chief gets knocked off a tall bridge by a thundering locomotive, and Tod gets unfairly blamed for the accident. Chief dies in the book on which the movie is based, but in the Disney version, the elderly dog only suffers a broken leg. Even so, Copper (the young bloodhound) angrily vows revenge against his friend Tod. Ron and most of the younger story crew thought Copper’s anger and lust for revenge was several clicks over the top, considering Tod’s minor sin. So Ron and the rest of us pleaded the case to the lead director: “Please let’s have Chief DIE.” Art was skittish about it, and said no. No surprise there. So the same argument was hauled upstairs to Disney’s management, with the same reaction: “You can’t kill off a lovable central character! Children will FREAK OUT! Parents will hate us! WE’LL GET LETTERS!!” Neither tearful pleas nor the example of Bambi’s mother catching a bullet could change the directors’ or the top brass’s minds. They wouldn’t kill Chief, and that was final. Ron Clements was not a guy who easily took “No” for an answer, but after a protracted campaign, he dropped the issue. Arguing was as pointless as jousting with windmills. (I had dropped the issue earlier. I am not a big believer in banging my head against hard, thick walls.) But it was one more point of dissatisfaction between the recently-arrived Young Turks and the Disney Animation establishment. The old timers from the 1930s were gone, but the generation that had rolled in during the 1940s and 1950s was finally holding the tiller, and they were bound and determined not to cede their newly acquired power and leverage to a bunch of goddamn kids in their goddamn twenties. Many of the “kids” were from California Institute of the Arts, the Disney-funded college in Valencia, California that served as a training ground for a lot of the animation industry. Walt Disney Productions had, in recent years, skimmed off the cream of the CalArts crop, and recent grads like John Musker, Henry Selick, Brian McEntee, Bruce Morris, Joe Ranft, Mikes Cedeno, Mike Giamo, Tim Burton, Jerry Rees, and an ebullient CalArts star named John Lasseter (among numerous others) populated the animation building. A 1980 volleyball game between the Disney producers and artists. The color commentary and play-by-play by John Musker reveals the underlying tensions between the two camps. Video by Randy Cartwright. Most of the CalArts group groused about the old-timers’ stodgy, moldy fig attitudes, and the stodgy, moldy fig product that resulted therefrom. They had been against the Bluth forces; now they chafed against the veterans’ tightly-held reins. Brad Bird had already gotten his ass fired for making his gripes too loud and too public, but the general mood of frustration and desire to try something fresh, new, and different continued. Even with the bad feelings, various CalArts graduates were being groomed for better things. Early on, John Musker jumped on a career track pointed toward director. John Lasseter was assigned to different projects in development. Bruce Morris and Joe Ranft quickly worked their way into story development. But the veterans remained territorial…and a touch paranoid. I remember Art Stevens saying, “Who do these pipsqueaks think they ARE?! They’re not geniuses. They can’t come in here and have their way after fifteen minutes!” (Another old-timer told me: “Art spent years in John Lounsbery’s unit as his key assistant. And Art would get furious if artists in their group tried to move up and out. He always wanted everybody to stay where they were, to not change anything. He’d get offended if anybody tried to jump ship.”) Tim Burton, bent over a light board down on the first floor, was becoming known for his very un-Disney character sketches. Joe Ranft, Darrell van Citters, Brian McEntee, Mike Giamo, Jim Mitchell, and …Add a Comment
"LEGO Movie" Phil Lord and Chris Miller turned down an offer to run Sony Animation because "it’s too hard to do great work there."Add a Comment
At the Oscars tonight, The Rock called animation a genre. It's not.Add a Comment
The full trailer for Disney and Brad Bird's 'Tomorrowland' has arrived.Add a Comment