SIONR: Disney is Remaking A Night on Bald Mountain in Live Action (CG)

I fucking hate modern Disney.  There are not words to describe how shitty they are.  I could sit here and explain in exhaustive detail all of my grievances with modern Disney, but then I’d be here for hours and you all would get REALLY bored.  Understandably so.  But what they are doing to cash in on people’s nostalgia has finally reached the point that it pisses me off beyond the pale.  I could handle them fucking over the legacy of Robin Williams with their shit-tastic version of Aladdin.  Especially since Will Smith sounds medicated in that movie.  I listened to the soundtrack, and he sounds so tired in every song he sings.  I was annoyed but just shrugged and went “whatever” when I saw their “live-action” version of The Lion King being advertised.  Sure, all the CG animals have zero personality because they have the uncanny valley level of CG detail, but whatever.

I’ve heard that they are remaking Lilo & Stitch.  Because that’s just what that filmed needed!  A fun and colorful and touching story about a girl, an alien, and finding the meaning of family.  It needed to be remade with Disney doing their now trademark diversity pandering!  Yay!  They’re remaking The Little Mermaid.  Maybe they can have Ariel be a Muslim mermaid.  Have her wearing a seaweed burka.  Diversity, after all.  And you know what, that’s all fine too.  Because after all, why would we want to have those old 2D animated films be the ones we remember?  Those aren’t the moves for “grown ups,” after all.  No, instead we have to remake them in the worst way possible, with acting that is The Last Airbender levels of bad.  Taking all the charm and whimsy the animated films had and bending them over a table without any lube.

Then I found out something utterly horrifying that has pissed me off so much – they are remaking A Night on Bald Mountain in “live-action.”  Oh boy.  Fuck you Disney!  Fuck you and your creatively-bankrupt company!  You all take the things that people love and fuck them over the ass. I loved that piece in Fantasia.  It’s my second-favorite.  My first being The Rite of Spring, telling the story of the growth of life on Earth.  A Night on Bald Mountain is a fantastic piece.  The levels of darkness, both musically and dramatically is just insane.  The demon Chernabog summoning the souls of the dead and the damned for an insane party for one night, it’s incredible.  The animation is flawless.  Absolutely flawless.  The portrayal of the dead and the damned is just so perfect.  As they rise from the graves, rising up the mountain, you can almost feel the dread the townspeople are feeling as they stay inside and hope that dawn comes soon.  It all builds and builds, culminating in the most visceral experience I have ever seen in 2D animation.  Nothing else has even come close.  Plus, at the end, there is the fantastic pairing up with Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” which has the townspeople seeking the light of Heaven to cleanse them of the darkness.  It’s perfect.

So I guess a whole bunch of suits and Disney are sitting around going…
“Hey guys, we’ve been remaking all of these classic movies and making money like gangbusters.  What else do we got?”
“How about we take that one bit from Fantasia about the demon and remake it!”
“But that’s not a whole story.  It’s a musical showing of what happened during one night.  How could we make that into a full-length movie?”
“Just have some big actors/actresses with some stupid story about killing the demon and put in some diversity shit to make people talk about how, if you don’t see it, you’re a bad person.  All of this nostalgia shit makes money anyway, so we can make this into whatever we want.  Just make sure all the advertising for the movie only shows the stuff that will play on people’s nostalgia.  We don’t want them to know that this is just a cash-grab that can make us a fuck-ton of cash.”

And then I figure that they laugh heartily and pay some Thai child to dance on top of a tank full of piranhas for their amusement.  Because Disney is pure evil, after all.

I can’t believe that Disney is doing this.  It isn’t enough that they took this franchise and turned it into a fucking Kinect game?!  It isn’t enough that they have made cash-grab after cash-grab of all their old 2D films, and every last one of them has fucking sucked?!  Without a single exception!  They are all nothing but trash!  That isn’t enough?  Now you have to take one of the hallmarks of animation and turn it into another piece of shit, all so you can make a quick several hundred million dollars to satisfy your investors?!  Oh how I wish Chernabog were real, so he could turn you and all your board of directors into pig demons.  It would be fitting, after all.  Then he could put you in front of a pile of money and tell you to worship it.  Would be fitting, given what you all do.

How people can stomach modern Disney is beyond me.  They pander to diversity because it sells.  The moment it doesn’t, they will kick it out the door like a $10 whore.  It’s why you don’t see gay characters in their big-budget movies, after all.  Because then they wouldn’t be able to sell their films big in China.  Although, I guess they won’t have to worry about that with this live-action trash.  You can’t have ghosts in films that go to China either.  So hey, go big with the gay pandering in this movie.  Oh wait, that would be hard because the premise is about a demon having a giant party.  Associating that with gay people would send the wrong message to the far-left community you are trying to pander to.

Ah, what the Hell.  Just fuck over the entire storyline.  In order to make this have a 90 minute runtime, you’re already gonna have to do that anyway, so might as well go big.  Make Chernabog a person of color transgender pansexual.  They aren’t having a party with all the damned and the souls of the dead that they summoned to them with their presence.  They just wanted to give all the dead POCs a place to gather where they feel included.  The villain can be Christian white nationalist groups!  Maybe they are having a straight pride parade!  Yeah, that’s a great angle.  It’s not like Disney or whatever two-bit director they will get for this shit actually cares about the story they are adapting anyway, so why not?  I’d kind of prefer that you all just go the distance with fucking the story over.  Then I don’t have to feel like you are shitting on one of my favorite movies.

But you can guarantee that I’m not giving Disney money to see this trash.  Not a fucking chance.  Disney and their live-action butt-rape of this bit from one of my favorite films can suck a dick.  Can suck all the dicks.  Fuck Disney.  Fuck these live-action movies.  They all suck.  They will always suck.  The critics who say nice things about them are paid shills.  The audience who likes them is Americans who we already know are dumb as dirt.  Fuck this.  Can these people please stop raping what I love?

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s very simple – if you stop going to bad movies, they’ll stop making bad movies.” – Jay Sherman

Peace out,

Maverick

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SIONR: Cal-Arts Students and Teachers Insult Don Bluth

My first introduction to the animation director Don Bluth was The Land Before Time.  I had it on VHS, and I watched that so many times it wasn’t funny.  There are still some warm memories that come to mind as I think back on it.  The days of my childhood, when I didn’t have to worry endlessly about my finances and my future.  Doesn’t help that I live in a country without universal healthcare, because it’s full of retards who believe that it magically wouldn’t work here.  You know, while it is working in every other 1st World nation.  Idiots.  I remember Littlefoot’s mother dying, and how that made me tear up.  Didn’t help that that film had an incredible score to accentuate the scene.

Later on, I came to Don Bluth’s absolute masterpiece – The Secret of NIMH.  The tale of Mrs. Brisby and her mission to save her son and her family.  It’s a heart-warming story.  For all the SJWs bitching about the lack of strong female characters, I don’t hear her name come up much.  I guess because she’s a mouse, she isn’t a strong mother who is able to face her fear of circumstances much larger than herself and a mission with no guarantee of success that takes her everywhere she doesn’t want to be.  That’s not strong at all.

So when I came upon this little nugget on Twitter, needless to say, it kinda pissed me off.

Are you fucking kidding me right now?!  “cheesy out-dated overflowy animation”?!  Did I read that right?!  Oh yeah, because the shit we have now is SO much better.  Like this shit!

What’s that, you ask?  Why, that’s the new Thundercats design for the reboot cartoon!  Yeah, because that doesn’t look like a massive pile of shit.  It blows my mind that in universities, people actually believe that a living animation God is outdated and worthy or ridicule.  Kinda hurts, too.  Look at that crap above you.  That’s the kind of animation that gets praised in the modern world.  Garbage by Steven Universe loving chodes!

It kinda kills me that 2D animation has died in this country.  At least in film.  I think back to Don Bluth and old-school Disney.  Fantasia is one of my favorite movies.  It turned me on to both classical music and 2D animation.  Walt Disney originally wanted it to be a series that would keep growing and evolving.  There was a sequel, and while it was fine and all, it wasn’t at the same level as the original.  It felt like there was something missing.  The success of Pixar and this STUPID attitude that the dumb-shit public has about 3D animation being more grown-up than 2D led to Disney eventually ditching their 2D animation studios.  How many people can even do anything approaching the level of depth and detail that Bluth was able to have in all of his movies.  Even the bad ones.

Which brings me to the fact that Bluth wasn’t perfect.  After All Dogs Go to Heaven, he had a run of VERY weird and pretty bad movies that were some of the funniest fodder for The Nostalgia Critic, back when that was still funny.  But to say that the man’s style is out-dated and “overflowy” (what the fuck does that even mean?) just hurts me inside.  Of course it is.  Because why should we value really deep and detailed art, when we can make crap like Thundercats Roar, that looks worse than old Scooby-Doo cartoons.  You know, when they were made on the budget of a ham sandwich.

In this age when everyone has to be so holier-than-thou, it really is telling that this attitude has seeped its way into universities.  Kinda breaks my heart.  Just a little.  It’s a sign that the true greatness of 2D animation is never coming back.  What I wouldn’t give for someone with some level of ambition to really try and do something great with it.  It’s a dream I will have for the rest of my life.

Until next time, a quote,

“Courage of the heart is very rare.  The stone has a power when it’s there.” – Nicodemus, The Secret of NIMH

Peace out,

Maverick

ThunderCats Reboot, Oppa Tumblr Style!

Anyone remember Teen Titans?  A show that had some pretty awesome characters, some pretty sharp animation, some really intense and dark themes, along with one of my favorite cartoon villains (Slade)?  I remember it too.  Was pretty alright stuff.  Anyone see what happened to the series with Teen Titans Go?  That terrible, kid-friendly animation for a series that is as void of darkness as it is with fun.  The animation is god-awful.  It looks like some shitty Flash animation from the early 2000’s.  I think that show is shit, and people who say otherwise are retards.

Let’s talk about the 80’s.  In the 80’s we had the cartoon Thundercats.  It was made to sell toys, as most stuff in the 80’s was, but it was at least dark and violent enough to be taken seriously.  There was a reboot in 2011 that had animation that was much more anime, but it was still high quality stuff, and the show was pretty alright.  But because LEGO had a show in the same universe that could be made for half the cost, it got cancelled.

Well don’t you worry, nostalgic people for all things 80’s!  Because a new series done by a soyboy has got you covered!

What the fuck is this?!  What is this terrible animation?  What is this garbage aesthetic?  Did Steven Universe shit this out?  Oh fuck, even that show has more self-respect than this crap.  These are not the ThunderCats!  These are the Tumblr stereotypes that had to be created for a series that is made on a budget of a ham sandwich and is going to have all the dark violence of the aforementioned sandwich.

I mean, who thought this was a good idea?  What incompetent retard at WB Animation decided “hey, let’s make a cartoon based on one of the most iconic series from the 80’s that looks like hot garbage”?  I have to know.  Look at the shit above, and then take a look at this original opening from the original series.  Tell me if you can see a stark difference in quality.

The original series eats that pile of ass’ lunch!  What the fuck even is that?!  It’s something that WB decided to throw up all over the Internet, and thankfully people are having none of it.  The votes on the reboot above is a graveyard of people hating the fuck out of it.  The guy who they have having pimp the series and his gay hairdo doesn’t help.  That hair is gay, and I just watched the original ThunderCats trailer.  That had all that beautiful, homo-erotic 80’s gay all over it.  That’s how gay that dude’s hair is.  I can see his Tumblr page now.

Man, kids these days grow up with such shit.  I remember growing up with Batman: The Animated Series.  Its art deco design, dark themes, and PHENOMENAL voice acting by the real Joker, Mark Hamill.  You had the animated X-Men series, which had messages about prejudice and not understanding people who are different than you.  You had the occasional series selling you toys like Digimon, but at least most of those series did take themselves seriously, and some of them were pretty awesome, flaws and all.  But this?!  This is garbage that we force on kids today like the new Star Wars film.

Identity Politics approved!  Come get your watered-down bullshit!  To be a kid today and have nothing but this watered-down bullshit to look up to.  Groj forbid I have a kid, I’m going to show them some real quality television.  Before the days when female characters had to be perfect Mary Sues that had no flaws, so little girls could shove themselves into them like a second skin.  Because what child can identify with a character who isn’t perfect in every way?

One of my heroes growing up was a kid who was clever, kind, principled, chubby, and loved to have fun – TJ Detweiler.  He had a streak of pulling pranks and being against doing what he’s told that did often conflict with what the right thing to do is, but in those episodes you see him realizing what the right thing is and setting aside how he feels to do that greater good, whether it be to help a friend or just because he knows that the greater good takes priority over his personal desires.  Or there are the episodes where his anti-authoritarian streak is for the greater good, even if he has to do some very bad things for all the right reasons.  He’s a punk, but he still is relatable.  It was the kind of kid I always wanted to be like, and I see a lot of more TJ in myself now than I did when I was his age.  Back then I was too much like Mikey.

Hopefully this series dies, but it probably won’t.  Since the budget does look like it was the same as making a ham sandwich, I figure the show will break even.  That hurts me inside.  Come to think of it, I think that Teen Titans Go may have predicted how this would turn out.

A good place to end on.

Until next time, a quote,

“‘Hey everyone, I’m Manbun McDipshit, and I watched ThunderCats as a kid, and it was my dream at a young age to rape the entire essence of ThunderCats and turn it into an absolute pile of shit.'” – TJ Kirk

Peace out,

Maverick

Fantasia 3?

Now, I have talked to death about why I like this movie, so I have been thinking about a future this film could potentially have.  I didn’t so much like the second, but honestly, I want to put a few things in context.  This film had such an impact on me, that whatever potential future it may have is very intriguing to me, and I like to think about it.  Originally, the idea had been that this would be a forever-growing experience when the first Fantasia came out.  Of course, since it took a metric ton of money to make, such a fate didn’t come to pass.  There was a sequel, and we’ll be talking about that, but it never stuck to the formula of each showing of the film being different.  All of this said, where do I think a sequel should go?

To answer that, I first, like I said, need to put a few things on context.  So far as I can remember, Fantasia was the first Disney film that I have seen.  For all of you who want to make the argument that Disney is an evil corporation – you won’t hear me arguing.  But the fact is that it doesn’t matter.  For most of us, we grew up with Disney.  It took our childhoods to new heights, and we love it for that.  But Fantasia was the first piece of Disney work that I saw, and from that day on, it formed a lot of my loves and passions.

The first is a passion for music.  I LOVE music.  Good music can not only intrigue the mind, but amaze the soul.  I am not a religious man, but if I was, music would be my god.  The best things in life are brought to us by music that makes us think and makes us feel.  Classical music is especially good for both.

It is interesting that Disney’s fourth film decided to do something that was entirely different from any of the ones previously, and almost all of the ones since – make an emotional film without words or story.  Just pure expression, and each piece of expression having pure emotion.  Another difference is that this movie wasn’t made for children.  This was an animated film for adults.  Of course, a kid like me could (and did) get something out of it, if they are of a certain mindset.

What I love most about Fantasia is the fact that it was allowed to run with the abolute free expression.  This film, you could tell, was about showing you into the minds and hearts of the animators.  Each segment was perfect, and I mean perfect.  My favorites are The Rite of Spring and The Nutcracker.  I love nature, and I love dinosaurs.  To this day I orgasm to the sound of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.  I was such a nerd for it when I was younger, and I still am.  But The Nutcracker suite was also great, showing the changing seasons, along with a fantastical element, but also merging in the absolute natural, like the bit with the fish.  I love stuff like that.

You’re probably wondering what I thought about the sequel.  Now that I have some more time to articulate, I think I will tell you.  Fantasia 2000 made my heart soar.  The ads for it looked awesome, and I was totally stoked when my cousin bought it on DVD.  I must have gone there to see it I don’t know how many times.  But, with that said, I both love and hate this movie.  The bits that I love are many.  And let me say, when this film hits a high note, it REALLY hits a high note.  When it got stuff right, it got it VERY right.

Pines of Rome, with the flying whales, was incredible.  I don’t share Nostalgia Critic’s belief that it should have been the finishing piece, but it was still awesome.  And there was Rhapsody in Blue, by George Gershwin.  I loved that pieces.  It combined a Hirschfeld style of animation with one of the classic pieces of big-bang American jazz.  As a matter of fact, this was one of the first pieces of American jazz.  The version of A Steadfast Tin Soldier was pretty good.  I actually didn’t like their Noah’s Arc story, mostly because, as a non-religious person, I find the story ludicous and the topic boring.  Not to mention it highlights what an asshole God is.  But then it finishes on a major high-note.

I loved The Firebird suite.  This was a story of life, death, and rebirth.  The animation was nothing short of incredible.  It was some of Disney’s finest, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  The high-note ending was beautiful.  It even had some subtle animation right at the end of it that just made me feel so much more in-tune with it – the grass blowing in the wind.  So subtle, yet so beautiful.  Simple touches like that just make me feel so much for things like that.

All of that said, there were parts I didn’t like.  The Carnival of the Animals number, for one.  It wasn’t terribly bad, but didn’t belong in a Fantasia movie.  It was cute, cuddly, and fun.  Not something that I want to see in a movie that should be this serious.  Then there were the celebrity cameos, which were almost all totally painful.  In the original, it banked on there being one narrator, and his role was brief.  Just to tell you what was coming next, and to have a cool intro for it.  That’s it.  That was all that was needed.  This movie had some celebrity cameos that just made me gag.  There were a couple that added class, like Angela Lansbury, but for the most part, it was junk, pure junk.

So, I’ve kind of rambled for a while, but I wanted to put into context all of this, so when I say my bit about what I could and really would like to see in the third film, you would get where I am coming from.  That said, what do I want to see in a third part of this tale?

I am just going to say what I want to see most because it just is really important to me, and I hope it is to you.  If any sequel films don’t have a Hayao Miyazaki style animation section, I will kill somebody.  No joke.  This man has brought the anime genre into the public eye in a way nobody thought possible.  And this would be a place where all of his talent could shine.  Not only that, but I can think of at least for great pieces of Japanese classical music that would go so well.  It could be a testament not only to a great man’s style of work, but also to a great nation and the music that it has created.  I can’t stress enough how much I would want to see this in a film.

Next up, I want to see more of old-school American jazz.  That was a fun addition.  Gershwin would be awesome.  or Afro-American Symphony.  Either of those would be just great, and there are a lot of animation formulas that could bring them to life.  I would really hope they will run with it.

I could also see them running with a segment, or even the entirety of Gustav Holst’s The Planet’s suite.  Seeing their interpretations of several parts sounds incredibly fun.

Another thing – have the opening section, which is supposed to be abstract, be abstract.  They were trying to do that in Fantasia 2000, and failed.  Miserably.  It was almost annoying how bad that section was, for me.  In the first film, the level of abstract was very clear, and it left you thinking, and pondering.

Next up, NO CELEBRITY CAMEOS!  I cannot stress to you enough how annoying this was.  I don’t know how they got those people into that gig in Fantasia 2000, but it was beyond annoying.  It was painful.  Just have one narrator, maybe like Morgan Freeman or something, and keep it simple.

That’s my take.  I loved these films, even though the second had problems.  I loved them both, and I hope they keep the franchise going, because we need more visual poetry.  America’s art community is getting more and more dead.  We need stuff like this.

Until next time, a quote,

“Walt Disney described the art of animation as a voyage of discovery, into the realms of color, sound, and motion.”  -Angela Lansbury, Fantasia 2000 

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Visually Arresting Animated Films

One of the greatest things that shows the character of an animated film is how well the animation is done.  A film that has a good story can be totally ruined by bad animation.  As such, here is a list that is paying homage to some of the most visually stimulating animated films that have ever been developed.

10. Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)
Now, this film needs to be a little bit discussed here.  The fact is that while this film was as visually gorgeous as it gets, it suffers from something that all filmmakers need to think about – god-awful plot.  This film succumbs to the same thing that James Cameron’s film Avatar does.  Let me be clear that the visuals in this movie are among the best that I have ever seen.  However, it is so low on this list, on the verge of not being on it at all, because of the fact that this movie couldn’t have possibly had a stupider and more insulting plot.  Really, this film is the same kind of model that I put Avatar on.  It has something that you love to see, but the plot is so stupid that you hate it without realizing it.  But the visuals have earned it a place on this list, despite the thematic problems.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
There are going to be a few Miyazaki films on here.  I figured I should say that up front.  Miyazaki is a very interesting kind of filmmaker.  He combines some incredibly hand-drawn effects with very cool characters, very cool voice-actors, and a lot of interesting plots.  This film is no different.  There are a couple of scenes in-particular that I want to point out that gives this a place on my list.  The first is when Grandma Sophie (played by the brilliant and ancient british Actress, Jean Simmons) is surveying the house, after she comes to work for Howl as his cleaning lady.  The place is such a god-awful mess, and she is horrified by it.  She sees that she is going to be in Hell, and the visual is gorgeous.  The next is that scene of the town being destroyed by airships, late in the film.  This scene gave a lot of respect to what an actual bombing would be like, and the visuals were second to none!  This was a truly great, and kind of unappreciated film in the world of Miayazaki lovers, who almost lambasted it.

8. WALL-E (2008)
This was an amazing film.  The themes in this movie were incredible.  The over-dependence that society has on technology, the will to do the right thing over what is easy, and the idea of social classes that fall in love.  This was an all-around great movie.  The visuals in this film was absolutely incredible!  The scene about flying through space was one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever seen in any film, not just in an animated one.  But then there was the scene with the city that WALL-E created out of trash, that was also gorgeous, and tragic at the same time.  This film had some of the greatest visuals that I have ever seen in a film, and I didn’t want to put it so low.  The problem is, the really great scenes that are in this film, are few and far between.  The story is great, and everything else is great, but the great visuals only are sometimes.

7. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
This film was the directoral debut of the now-fallen Don Bluth.  It was a film that is heralded by the lovers of animated film as one of the greatest creations ever to greet the screen.  This film is unique among kids animated films because of how seriously it takes its audience.  The angles and dark visuals that are almost throughout the entire movie are enough to get it on this list, but I thought it was worth mentioning that this film actuall treats grown-ups like grown-ups, and doesn’t treats the kids like they are total idiots.  Pixar I think took a lesson or two from this film.  But back to the visuals, this film had a lot of them.  The scene where the medallion comes alive, for one.  Then there was the endless series of them when Mrs. Brisby goes into the thorn bush looking for the Rats of NIMH.  Really, this film had a lot of great elements, and it is one of the things that makes the fall of Don Bluth so tragic.  Really, this is kind of heart-breaking, when you look at all of the work after 1990.  But still, a great film, from a once-brilliant filmmaker.

6. Finding Nemo (2003)
A lot of animation buffs are going to give me hell for putting this above WALL-E, but I think it has definitely deserved its place here, not for story elements, but for the consistency of great visuals.  This film used the scheme it had to work with in a way that few others have.  Even Avatar didn’t use the visual elements it had this well.  The scene when Nemo is at the first day of school, sailing over the reef, is one of the most beautiful pieces of animation that has ever been done.  When one thinks about it, there isn’t a single scene that isn’t well-done in this movie.  Each scene makes the most of what it has to work with, from the deep in the ocean scene, to the scene where Marlin is talking with Dory after he believes his son is dead.  The shadows in that scene were absolutely perfect.  This was a perfect movie, in a lot of ways.  Each voice-actor was perfect, especially Ellen Degeneres, who showed in this film that not only does she have the potential to act, and be funny, but she can do it like nobody else.

5. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
I know that I am going to catch a lot of crap from a lot of my atheist friends, since I am openly an atheist and openly treat religion like the joke that it is, but honestly, I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite.  Since I choose to look at the Bible as a piece of mythological fiction, I can look at the stories that it tells much the same way.  So, with that in mind, I am able to watch this film from that point of view.  And I have never seen a film with such gorgeous visual actually make a piece of fiction that so many people take literally almost respectable. But it was the visuals in this movie that I had to talk about.  They are nothing short of incredible!  Combining the wonder of hand-drawn animation with digital effects made some of the visuals in this movie absolute arresting.  And the characters were welld-done too.  It actually made me enjoy a biblical story, which almost no other pieces of biblical-cinema have done.  It has most assuredly earned its place on this list, and regardless of whether or not you believe the Bible to be a bunch of mythological BS or not, it is worth seeing.

4. Evangelion 1.0: You are (Not) Alone (2007)
This is a remake of one of the best anime series of all time.  It is the first in what is to become a series of four animated films.  I feel that I should mention that the sequel to this one is my favorite of the films (to date), I just don’t think Evangelion 2.0 has the same amount of visual poetry that this movie had.  It had the single-greatest piece of hand-drawn animation that I have ever seen.  The entire battle scene with the Sixth Angel was incredible, but it was the scene where the Angel seems to just get really pissed, and the shoots and energy beam that destroys a mountain!  For real, it coats the mountain in energy, that you can see brutalizes the surface, and nearly destroys all the people fighting on it.  This entire scene, from when the battle begins, to when Shinji is forcing open the cockpit of Rei’s unit, was incredible.  I loved this film, and although I loved the sequel more, this one had the visuals that stuck with me.  Check it out, if you are a lover of the series, or if you have never seen it before.

3. Bambi (1942)
Now, I get if you don’t know why such a cutesy movie as Bambi is on this list.  Actually, scratch that, you’re an idiot if you don’t know why this movie is on the list.  This movie is on this list for one reason, and one reason only – the nature animation.  The visual effects showing nature in this movie are incredible.  In every sense of the word.  There wasn’t a single segment of this movie that wasn’t perfectly drawn and shown exactly as it should have been.  This is one of the few 2D animated films that I have seen that really made me believe that I was in nature.  But with this film, I did believe that.  Part of the power of this film didn’t come from what the characters were saying, but from the setup of the scenes and how they played out with the background images.  While this isn’t a movie I watch a lot, because there is only so much cuteness that I can sit through, this is most definitely one of Disney’s finest.

2. Spirited Away (2001)
This is a film that doesn’t do all its animation by hand, but you know what, who cares?!  This film was incredible, absolutely incredible.  This is another film where ever scene, even some of the really dark ones really perfect.  The detail in these scenes was great, along with how they were shot.  The scene with the train going down the flooded world, with no dialogue of any kind, showed us a world of incredible fantasy, and wonderful depth.  The dialogue of this movie was also brilliant, employing a bunch of people most of us hardly knew about.  This film captured the fantastic nature of the world that it was in, along with the human elements.  Plus, the themes were also really good.  Chihiro and her relationship with Haku, the quest to get her parents back to normal, especially considering that they are going to be slaughtered in the not-too-distant future, there are a lot of fun elements to work with.  This is a good film, and it lacks true greatness for one reason – no villian.  It had a lot of antagonists, but no true villian.  A pity, but that’s okay.

And the #1 greatest visually appealing animated film that I have ever seen is!!!

1. Fantasia (1940)
Sorry, I know this has beeen on the top of a lot of lists.  I realize that I have pretty much talked this movie to death by now, but really, what else could it have been.  This film did something that no movie before it, or really since, has done – it took the experience of going to a concert hall and listening to beautiful music, and gave it the respect that it deserved.  Each and every segment of Fantasia was visual poetry.  From the chaotic opening of “Toccota and Fugue,” to the closing horror that is “A Night on Bald Mountain,” mixed with the musical genius, and perfect foil, “Ave Maria,” by Franz Schubert.  But my favorite number, and I know that I am going to sound like a total dork right now, was “The Rite of Spring,” by Igor Stravinsky.  This was just such an amazing piece because, and here is why you are going to think I’m a dork – I love dinosaurs.  Sorry, but I do!  They are so cool, and in this bit, they actually gave them some really majesty.  I think I should mention that while I wasn’t a huge fan of Fantasia 2000, I did kind of like some bits, like “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Pines of Rome,” and “The Firebird,” the rest was not to my liking.  If you haven’t seen this movie, I implore you, please do.

Great animation is something I have a very deep love for.  Really, this is an area that I believe great film is made.  Of course, most people I meet don’t agree.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe you should just try smiling!”  -Shinji Ikari, Evangelion 1.0: You are (Not) Alone

Peace out,

Maverick

The Marvelous World of Animation: Lucien’s Review

I have gotten to grow up watching animated films.  I have never gotten how people can believe that anything that is animated is just for kids and not worth respect.  I have seen a lot of animated films that were made for all audiences, and I have seen many that are not made for kids.  I have seen every kind of animation, and it is all very incredible, when you get beyond what you see on the screen and looks closely at the marvels that unfold before you.  When you think about how much work goes into it, you start to truly respect what unfolds in front of you, and have a deep respect for those who did the work.  It is something that should be respected more in this country, but isn’t. 

The history of animation is truly remarkable.  When you think about it, animation truly combines every form of artwork that has been done throughout history.  The theories of where it began were in ancient cave drawings that depicted moving scenes.  There are also depictions of scenes in murals in burial chambers in Egypt.  For years, humanity has used the power of animation in a very basic way.  It has always been used in the same way for the same purpose- to tell stories.  But animation has had many place of innovation from all over the world.

First there was the zoetrope, which has moving pictures inside of a cylinder which a person can observe through slits in the cylinder.  Then there was the magic lantern.  Many consider that to be the predecessor of the modern projector.  It would use a simple image that would be sent through a lamp and appear bigger on a flat surface.  Later on there was the flip book, which told a story through the flipping of pages as the images on each page were animated.  The first truly animated film was done in 1892.  It used loops of about 500 frames.  The first animated feature length film was done in 1917.

There are many different kinds of animation, all of which take an enormous amount of time to create, and those who create them should be given more respect.  There is the traditional style of animation, where a person hand-draws different cells, each altering ever so slightly with different frames.  It takes 10 frames to depict a second of time.  The kind that old-school disney movies utilized was called full animation.  This held to a higher standard of pictures quality and detail with plausible movement being depicted.  Hayao Miyazaki has also used this kind of animation in many of his films.  While he does have a history of combining CG effects with his films, for his most recent film Ponyo, he did it all by hand-drawn cels.

Miyazaki has been rightly canonized (metaphorically speaking) for his level of depth with his animation.  Of course, it escapes people who depth has been pioneered by the company that has partnered with Studio Ghibli- Disney.  I got to see a rather remarkable video recently demonstrating the level of depth that was able to be acheived by the use of his invention- the MultiPlane Camera.  This gave a remarkable level of depth to the picture that you don’t think about until you see it in action.  In the video linked beside this sentence, it shows the opening of the film Bambi, where you can see the MultiPlane camera in action.  The Disney studios have contributed greatly to the art of animation.

Disney’s animated short, Steamboat Willy, was the first film which introduced the first syncronized sound in an animated film.  Snow White was the first usage of the MultiPlane Camera in a full-length film.  Fantasia, my second favorite movie, introduced a soundtrack with the film.  Disney has a very long history of creating great effects.  The first full-length feature that used CGI animation was Toy Story.  It changed the scene of animation, and opened the door for a filmmaking company that has revolutionized how we view a kid’s movie.  Pixar has a gift at being able to create a film that is for all audiences, often with themes that kids won’t understand, but the older crowd does.  I remember watching WALL-E and thinking that I was seeing a pure expression of so many great themes- our overdependence on technology, the human spirit, love conquering all, and love conquering barriers.

However, one thing that does not get taken into account is the fact that this process takes forever!  The stop motion animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas took three years to make!  The average animated film takes years to make.  To give another example- it can take up to six months to create a single episode of Seth MacFarlane’s brilliant show Family Guy.  This is not something that can be done in a split.  So people’s lack of respect for the genre and the amount of skill that it involves is kind of disheartening.

To give a different example of how hard this is, examine several of Hayao Miyazaki’s films.  This guy has a reputation for incredibly detailed worlds that use bright colors and vivid images.  The fact that quite a bit of his animation is done with hand-drawn cels proves that this is not something that you can just pick up and do.  After watching films like Howl’s Moving Castle or Princess Mononoke, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the guy doing that.  What kind of credentials do you have to have to get into a job like that? 

The fact is that it is also not only a world for kids.  The series Cowboy Bebop, probably my favorite animated series (although tied evenly with Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion) is definitely not made for kids.  The amount of violence in the series alone take it out of that running.  Plus, the themes are not things that kids would understand.  The main character- Spike Spiegel, is a character who is haunted by his past.  He is trying to run away from it, but it always manages to find him.  The depth of the characters, and their emotional journey through a universe that makes no sense, traveling between planets and asteriods tracking bounties, is something that a kid just wouldn’t get.  Plus, the sometimes insane level of violence would scare some little kids.

Plus, there are some movies that are truly beyond a kid’s ability to understand.  The themes and pains of the characters in my favorite movie The Sky Crawlers just wouldn’t be understood.  Plus, the emotional depth of character like Shinji Ikari in the series and new movies Neon Genesis Evangelion and the films Rebuild of Evangelion wouldn’t interest little kids.  People don’t think about it, but that is how it is. 

But animation is something that deserves to be respected, and needs more interest from people, because as we head further into making CGI animation the only kind we use often, we should never forget how much work goes into this, and how far we have come.

Until next time, a quote,

“Walt Disney once described animation as ‘a voyage of discovery.'”  -Angela Lansbury, Fantasia 2000 

Peace out,

Maverick