The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Message
Author
User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#651 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:24 am

life_boy wrote:What people say they love about WALL-E is what I love about this. And I don’t love WALL-E.
So wait, you love that Toy Story 3 develops its primary character through a brilliant 20 minute silent standalone work, which is noteworthy for its visionary qualities? People don't normally say they love Wall-E for the narrative or for its existential dread...

User avatar
life_boy
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:51 pm
Location: Mississippi

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#652 Post by life_boy » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:01 am

Ok, maybe not the exact same reasons. But I did think there was an overriding sense of desperate existential gloom during that first part of Wall-E. Or am I misremembering it? It's been a while. I just remember I found Wall-E captivating at first and then totally disjointed by the shift to fat planet, effectively losing all the ground I felt was gained by the poetry of the opening. Toy Story 3 I found much more complete and focused while dealing with some of the larger themes that were there in Wall-E.

User avatar
YnEoS
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:30 am

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#653 Post by YnEoS » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:45 am

So I've been obsessing over the Georges Schwizgebel films recently and I don't think anyone has mentioned his two most recent works yet. Retouches (2008) which I haven't been able to find a commercial release for, but it can be streamed on facebook (Better quality) or on youtube. Then Romance (2011) can be purchased as an HD download on NFB streaming website, along with Jeu (2006), which has already been discussed in this topic. Jeu and Romance are also available on their own standalone DVD releases, if you feel like paying $15 for DVDs of a single short...

Might have caused more vote-splitting had I seen them before submitting my list, but definitely worth checking out if you've caught the Schwizgebel bug too.

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#654 Post by bamwc2 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:47 am

Random Observation: How interesting that the first & second place titles were originally part of a double bill!

My Top Ten

1. My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki)
2. The Story of the Fox (Irene Starewicz and Wladyslaw Starewicz)
3. When the Wind Blows (Jimmy T. Murakami)
4. The Iron Giant (Brad Bird)
5. Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi)
6. Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata)
7. The Plague Dogs(Martin Rosen)
8. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)
9. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger)
10. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)

Ranked: The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Akira, Bambi, Castle in the Sky, Dumbo, Fantasia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Fantastic Planet, Fehérlófia, Grave of the Fireflies, The Incredibles, The Iron Giant, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Night on the Galactic Railroad, Persepolis, Pinocchio, The Plague Dogs, Princess Mononoke, Ratatouille, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Spirited Away, The Story of the Fox, Toy Story 3, Up, Waking Life, WALL-E, Watership Down, Whisper of the Heart, Yellow Submarine

Also Rans: 5 Centimeters Per Second, Alice in Wonderland, Allegro Non Troppo, Cinderella, Finding Nemo, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Kirikou and the Sorceress, Monsters, Inc., Paranorman, Princes et princesses, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, When the Wind Blows

Orphans:
Barefoot Gen, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Chico & Rita, Chie the Brat (all previously discussed in this thread).

Fritz the Cat: I can certainly understand how this became an orphan. It's a very divisive film that Frit'z creator, Robert Crumb, vocally disowned. It's also a film that actively seeks to wallow in every racial, religious, and sexual taboo of its day. However, it would be wrong to think that Bakshi meant to endorse this bigotry. Instead, in a way not too dissimilar from Lenny Bruce, he sought to explode them by showing how utterly ridiculous they were. Fritz's picaresque journey is also certainly an interesting one, as this pseudo intellectual spends his night running from the police, trying to have a threesome, and doing his best to convince a group of black crows (think Dumbo) that at heart he's really one of them. Not everything here works, but enough of it did to make the tail end of my list.

In the Realms of the Unreal: Oops. Somehow Matrix missed this one in compiling the orphans. This documentary, which examines the life of janitor and secret fantasy novelist Harvey Darger, contains many animated sequences of his fantastic stories. I didn't find his writings as interesting as I found the man himself, but the cartoon elements of this work--in which they use Darger's original drawings as the starting point--are the real highlight here.

Toy Story 2: I'm a bit shocked that I'm the only one who voted for this. While the third film is arguably the best of the series, the middle part of the trilogy still manages to run circles around the original which charted as an also ran. In this iteration, the world of the first film expands beyond Andy and Sid's houses and finds the toys making their way throughout Andy's town. We also meet an assortment of colorful new characters that add to the enjoyment of the original without cluttering up the plot.

Waltz with Bashir: Here's another surprise. The rotoscoped true story about life in the Israeli army was a critical hit upon its release a few years back. I think that it lives up to its reputation as a surreal examination of the horrors of war. The AE BD should be an essential purchase for everyone here.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#655 Post by knives » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:49 am

Waltz with Bashir is technically not rotoscoped.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#656 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:28 pm

OK, here are mine:

Also Rans:

1. The Wings of Honneamise – still reduces me to tears every time I watch it

4. Balloon (1991)

9. Ghost In The Shell – still stands up as a surprisingly profound meditation on how bound up personality and identity is with your physical body

18. 5 Centimetres Per Second

23. The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb

24. Animal Farm (1954) – I highly recommend the piece by Julian Upton in the recent book Offbeat about this CIA funded film, which really increased this work in my estimation. Even the imposed happy ending kind of works in the context of how the film was funded, exposing the somewhat scarily naïve politics to ensure everything goes back to the way it was and the bad guys are defeated!

34. Kirikou And The Sorceress

37. Paprika

38. My Neighbours The Yamadas

46. When The Wind Blows

Orphans:

2. Patlabor – The Mobile Police (aka Patlabor: The Movie) – a great detective story with an extremely exciting race against time ending that just happens to feature people piloting giant robots. Plus Mamoru Oshii’s dog (which appears in all his films, even his live action Polish-set one, Avalon) appears here to provide the critical clue to the mystery! This probably makes my list less for the action (though that final sequence on the collapsing sea-plaform is one of the best laid-out action sequences of the 80s) but for that excellent , almost wordless sequence of two private detectives investigating the city for clues behind the work of a scientist who recently committed suicide. That for me is one of the perfectly paced sequences in animation.

5. Roujin Z (Old Man Z) – still has that timely message about health service privatisation and using the patient as a commodity!

7. A Grand Day Out – Not as polished as the later Wallace & Gromit shorts, but all the more charming for that. Love the mice putting on the sunglasses to watch the rocket launch!

12. Macross: Do You Remember Love? - the first, and best, film on my list to show how a love song can win a war and save the universe!

13. A Close Shave – I can’t believe I’m the only person who voted for perhaps the best Wallace & Gromit short of them all! The bungee jump window cleaning! The motorcycle display team formation of sheep! The revelation of Gromit’s prison reading (Crime and Punishment by Fido Dogstoyevsky)!

14. I Married A Strange Person – I voted for this secure in the knowledge that Bill Plympton’s better know work The Tune would be getting some votes. Then The Tune didn’t seem to get any! Either way I Married A Strange Person is a great blend of 50s sci-fi, sex comedy and moments of total Looney Tunes anarchy

19. The Place Promised In Our Early Days – a fascinating alternate history film with its strangely political dimension of a divided Japan. Kind of the way I would imagine an animated Wong Kar-Wai film to turn out like.

21. My Dog Tulip – if you aren’t put off by long discussions about the sex lives of dogs and their dysfunctional anal glands then this is perhaps the best film about the joys of pet ownership/being owned by a pet. I’m by no means a dog person but I can easily transpose much of the material here to my cat, her habits, the annoyances of having to clean up after certain ‘events’, yet also the joy of seeing another animal seemingly happy to see you or stay by your side, and the wish to do the best for them in return.

26. Faust (1994)

29. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – with the new Daft Punk album out, I simply had to vote for this animated film version of their Discovery album. It kind of outdoes Rock & Rule, but is not quite as good as Macross: Do You Remember Love? in the ‘love song that saves the universe’ stakes!

31. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade – a fantastic mix of alternate history, retro 50-60s stylings, political revolution, and a doomed love story across the police force/terrorist divide that takes the Red Riding Hood tale as its main metaphor

32. Steamboy – up there with Akira for its handling of action and its great sense of locations

33. Strings – this is an epic quest story told through puppetry, with the death of the characters involving the strings holding them being cut, and many philosophical conversations about who is up there manipulating them, and for what purpose. A beautiful take on mythological stories.

35. Macross Plus – I think the four part series is the best way to watch this film but the film is great as well. While not quite as good as The Wings of Honneamise, this does feature some of the best and most exhilarating airplane flight sequences in animation (albeit planes that can transform into giant gun-firing robots in mid-air! And I have to admit that I’ve not yet gotten to The Sky Crawlers yet), a very touching love triangle storyline that as it develops throws issues involving past memories of attemped assault into the mix to complicate matters, and the wonderful computer generated pop idol Sharon Apple whose inevitable breakdown into computerised insanity provides the impetus for the climax. Plus this has an absolutely stellar score.

40. Fly Peek! Peek The Baby Whale – this is one of those strange cases, like Simba The White Lion/The Lion King where a more famous film comes along later that bears a striking similarity to a Japanese original. In this case Fly Peek! is a film made two years before Free Willy, featuring a young boy trying to free a captive whale. Yet this is far more touching and magical.

41. Battle Angel Alita – there have been frequent rumblings of this getting made into a big budget American film at some point (wasn’t there rumours about James Cameron doing it?), but this little film is good enough to stand on its own. Set in the future and featuring a society of haves (never seen and in a floating city anchored to the Earth via enormous cables) and have nots (who exist in the slums/enormous rubbish dumps on the ground below), a scientist scavenger finds a discarded robot, puts her back together and names her Alita. He also gives her a thorough grounding in fighting techniques which comes in handy in the frequent encounters she has defending herself from other scavengers who attack others for their ‘spare parts’ to sell on the black market.

Half of the film is this origin story but the other half involves the desperate attempts of a young man to escape the world below and reach the floating city above, with Alita (who has no memory of the floating city) concerned but tagging along. This is where the film gets even darker but stays full of fascinating ideas, as the boy turns out to be the notorious part scavenger that has been terrorising the area even more than usual in an attempt to make the money to buy his way onto the station. When even that isn’t enough he tries to climb the tethering wires, with the result of losing half of his body and only being saved by the scientist grafting him with mechanical parts. Having lost most of his humanity the boy is still so driven that he chooses to continue chasing his unobtainable dream even if that means certain death.

Bleak and in some ways nihilistic about the prospect of ever making your way in a stratified society (yet also in some ways showing that you can make a go of things in abandoned places if you try), it is also a very thoughtful science fiction film in its own way.

42. Grey Digital Target – staying on the subject matter of Battle Angel Alita, Grey Digital Target is about a world where people have to enlist in a never-ending war in order to win the credits needed to achieve much coveted Citizenship. Grey is the man who has survived many tours of duty at the beginning of the film, and the first half of the film shows him meet a whole new crew of cannon fodder only for them to be mercilessly killed. This happens a couple of times with only Grey left standing as the interchangeable supporting cast of characters arrives and gets immediately killed (this is one of the best films for creating that sense of trauma, fading into numbness, of always being the last one left) until eventually a bigger quest to reach a central tower and destroy it slowly comes into view. Grey takes his newest band of supporting players to attack it (along with a couple of stragglers they pick up along the way), but will they succeed and even if they do will it only be as a suicide mission?

The animation of Grey Digital Target is quite limited but it is the ideas in this one that make it stand out. Brutal and upsetting but an excellent piece of work.

43. Fear(s) of The Dark – This one kind of crept in as an overspill from the horror list project: a neat little black and white fully animated portmanteau film!

44. Princess (2006) – This is obviously inspired by the animated sequence from Kill Bill Vol 1, in the sense that it takes subject matter that could never be tackled in live action and animates it instead.

45. Memories

48. Alois Nebel

49. In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep

50. Urotsukidoji: The Legend of the Overfiend – I had to throw this in there, although I’m kind of glad that I’m the only person who voted for it! It is just that, in an era where mainstream films seem kind of besotted with ‘THE APOCALYPSE’ whether in the form of the End of Days, zombies, natural disasters and so on, The Legend of the Overfiend, for all of its reprehensible demonic assault scenes and limited animation, is still unique in capturing the utter ‘destroy it all’ nihilistic urge in humanity. Nothing is pure and even the illusion of innocence, such as teenage love, is soon sullied.

In fact I might go as far to say that it is, albeit sublimated, only of the best ‘teenage experience’ films yet made, where everything seems desperately, life threateningly important! One where all of the adults are corrupt, rapacious and sometimes literally inhuman. Where coming of age sexually is kind of the end of your idyllic life and in a strange way the sign of your impending death (it is no coincidence that the final apocalypse causing the demonic world to overflow into ours is caused by the hero and heroine losing their virginity with the girl immediately becoming pregnant with ‘the saviour’ and whisked off to a secure temple, while the boy turns into the ultimate giant masculine hell beast and proceeds to destroy the city over the end credits!)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
barbarianeggplant
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#657 Post by barbarianeggplant » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:46 pm

colinr0380 wrote: 29. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – with the new Daft Punk album out, I simply had to vote for this animated film version of their Discovery album.
I'm kind of regretting not voting for this one. I worry with music videos - particularly for music I really like - that I'm voting more for the music than the filmic elements, but I worry conversely that it makes me hold these at too much of a distance to give proper credit to the filmmaking involved.

The one that's killing me is Big Bang Big Boom (my #14), which ended up one point shy of being part of a 4-way tie for #100, and which made the list before it had to be revised.
Last edited by barbarianeggplant on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#658 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:50 pm

Just so everyone knows- I've updated the lists to have more information about the various titles, a la the Decades Lists results (with Swo's gracious help). I've also fixed the directors list, as due to a misspelling of his name Jacques Drouin was originally omitted. It should be finalized now.

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#659 Post by bamwc2 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:54 pm

knives wrote:Waltz with Bashir is technically not rotoscoped.

Oops. My mistake. At least I wasn't wrong about it being animated. :oops:

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#660 Post by dustybooks » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:33 am

domino harvey wrote:
swo17 wrote:I also strongly suspect that Raumlichtkunst would have made my list, but zedz for some reason insists on people only voting for films that they've actually seen!
You'd be in good company-- didn't Rosenbaum vote for a film that doesn't even exist for his 1000 films list?
Can we please do a "films that don't really exist" lists project?? We can vote for lost films or movies we wish existed or movies we pretended to make when we were kids. Or "modest-budget suspense-action-noirs for the booming 3-D market!"

Re Fantasia, which I revisited last week and still found emotionally overwhelming (it may be kitsch, but so am I probably):
matrixschmatrix wrote:of the rest of the film, the only thing that really doesn't work is the dance of the hours
Funny you say this because I was thinking at one point that if we could vote for individual sequences in that film "Dance of the Hours" would be my #1. I just think it's perfect -- and I can't think of many moments in movies I love more than Hyacinth's ecstatic little skip during her run from one group of alligators to the other. But I cheerfully agree with the rest of your comments.

Edit: And Matrix, thanks for all your work on this!

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#661 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:45 am

dustybooks wrote:Can we please do a "films that don't really exist" lists project??
I think you'll find a major problem with overlap, lack of.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#662 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:52 am

It'd go the obvious direction though: films are orphaned only if they make anyone else's list

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#663 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:52 am

And hamburgers eat people!

User avatar
barbarianeggplant
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#664 Post by barbarianeggplant » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:00 am

A world where hamburgers evolved from men?!

karmajuice
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#665 Post by karmajuice » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:21 pm

I had a few self-imposed regulations: no filmmaker more than once (I don't even think any studio has more than one ranking) and no one I would classify as an avant-garde filmmaker rather than an animator. I also excluded several deserving animator, namely Chuck Jones, with the knowledge that they would excel without my help.

Top ten:

1. Breakfast on the Grass, Priit Parn - Glad it placed, but I got the sense that not many people saw it. But as zedz said, even if you have seen his films they're likely to divide up votes.

2. Hedgehog in the Fog, Yuri Norshteyn

3. Tuning the Instruments, Jerzy Kucia (ORPHAN) - Am I the only one who voted for this? In my mind, superior to the frequently lauded Tale of Tales, which it bears some resemblance to (it was probably an influence, but the student surpasses the mentor). I almost ranked it above Hedgehog in the Fog, too, which I absolutely adore.

4. Fehérlófia, Macell Jankovics

5. Ring of Fire, Andreas Hykade (ORPHAN) - Another brilliant orphan. Available legally online and under ten minutes long. No reason not to watch it.

6. The Monk and the Fish, Michael Dudok de Wit (ORPHAN) - Dudok de Wit didn't make the top 100, but I was glad to see someone else voted for his The Aroma of Tea.

7. It's Such a Beautiful Day, Don Hertzfeldt (ORPHAN) - What a lonely top ten. Some of my choices are pretty idiosyncratic, but the only reason I can fathom the exclusion of this film is a lack of viewership.

8. The Hill Farm, Mark Baker (ORPHAN) - I expected this one to be left out in the cold, but it still merited a place on my list.

9. Jabberwocky, Jan Svankmajer (ORPHAN) - I should have voted for a more popular Svankmajer, because this is a pretty arbitrary choice. It's merely one of my favorites of his.

10. Snow White, Dave Fleischer/Roland Crandall - At least this one made it. The weirdest and most wonderful of the Fleischer cartoons.

The compiled list is pretty respectable, though. It's a little feature heavy (especially Ghibli-heavy), but that's inevitable. I have lots of recommendations to explore, though!

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#666 Post by swo17 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:01 pm

Gregory wrote:I agree, "Big Bang Big Boom" is really impressive. There's a DVD available that includes 10 years worth of BLU videos.
Haven't watched it yet, but I can now confirm that this DVD contains Big Bang Big Boom, along with 23 other films that run just a hair over an hour in total. There are also about 40 minutes of extras including various tests, experiments, and documentations of live performances.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#667 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:26 am

I included Jacques Drouin's Mindscape on my list, thanks to swo's posted link, but I didn't get to see the NFB's superb DVD of his pinscreen work until this weekend, and feel I need to celebrate two other films.

Nightangel is a one-of-a-kind collaboration with Jiri Trnka's studio in which exquisite stop-motion puppet animation is perfectly integrated with pinscreen work. Technically, it's a marvel, but the real thrill is the way the film manages to express in purely visual terms the experience of blindness. It's a magnificent feat of imagination.

Imprints is a brief masterpiece that takes the whole, rarified tradition of pinscreen animation and explodes it in the most exciting way. Traditionally, the pinscreen has been used to achieve amazingly subtle, painterly effects, with Drouin's own Mindscape a tour-de-force of the technique. In this film, however, Drouin has the brainwave of abandoning painting as a model and basing the entire film around the medium's sculptural capacity. He comes up with an incredibly tactile film that rubs our face in the medium, getting up close to the metal (where the tradition always strove to make the apparatus as invisible as possible), moving the camera around the pinscreen to accentuate its depth, and raking light across it or shining light through it.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#668 Post by Lemmy Caution » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:48 am

This impressive-looking 6 disc set The History Of German Animated Films just turned up here. But unfortunately only has German and Chinese subtitles, without English.

The breakdown by disc:
1. Animated Vanguard - The artistic animation film in Germany in the 20s and 30s
2. Animation in the Nazi Era
3. Post-war West German animation
4. Post-war East German animation (inc. underground works)
5. Animated advertisements and music videos
6. Reunified German animation to the present

If you follow any of those links, click on the image of the cover to get thumbnails for most of the films in that set.
Image

If anyone is interested in a copy, let me know.
I might pick it up for myself, but think it would be too frustrating having such a fine set with a total lack of English.

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#669 Post by dustybooks » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:03 pm

After ignoring Pixar for a few years, I saw both Brave and Monsters University this weekend. (Still haven't caught up with Cars 2 and don't really plan to anytime soon.) Hope it's okay to drop a few thoughts here...

Brave seemed to be the definition of a noble failure. In the first hour especially, it had phenomenal ideas and a great setup, but the finale just seemed too rote and anticlimactic to me. Reading what little information exists about Brenda Chapman's forced departure from the project, one wonders how much the clumsy action sequences in the third act were an imposition born of bottom-dollar impulses by John Lasseter and/or Disney. But a few things crept in that were absolutely brilliant: the animation of the mother after she transforms is a bit of truly great cartoon acting that I thought worthy of the early hand-drawn Disney films. And the witch was for me one of Pixar's most delightful characters, ever.

On the other hand, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Monsters University. It's of course significantly less ambitious than Brave, but I've always felt that Monsters, Inc. was an accomplished and inventive film and this seemed to honor its spirit. I appreciated the attention lavished on carefully developing Mike as a character, when he's really sort of an endless stream of comic relief in the first film. And given the heavy focus upon pathos in Up, Toy Story 3, etc. I was somewhat refreshed that the film primarily aimed to be a straight comedy... until the third act, which was what made me register this as a really fulfilling movie rather than just a fun diversion.
SpoilerShow
In the back of my mind when Mike had such a successful scare at the climax, I found myself expecting the Cars-like ending of underdog triumph and wishing I could see the film in which the fight was fixed thanks probably to Sully... and then I was stunned when I actually got to watch that film! That's just the kind of oddball, unexpected story choice that made Nemo and A Bug's Life so endearing to me. The clever imitation of horror movie beats and jump scares in the real-world scene that follows was also amusing, especially on the heels of seeing -- and being mystified by the praise given to -- The Conjuring. (No offense to that film's fans, it seems I am simply not engineered to like pretty much any horror films for some reason.)
I feel as if I came away with the opposite conclusion about these two than most did, but I still found them both quite worthwhile. Faith somewhat restored.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#670 Post by zedz » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:16 pm

dustybooks wrote:Brave seemed to be the definition of a noble failure. In the first hour especially, it had phenomenal ideas and a great setup, but the finale just seemed too rote and anticlimactic to me. Reading what little information exists about Brenda Chapman's forced departure from the project, one wonders how much the clumsy action sequences in the third act were an imposition born of bottom-dollar impulses by John Lasseter and/or Disney. But a few things crept in that were absolutely brilliant: the animation of the mother after she transforms is a bit of truly great cartoon acting that I thought worthy of the early hand-drawn Disney films. And the witch was for me one of Pixar's most delightful characters, ever.
I didn't know any of the production history behind the film, so I was somewhat stunned when I listened to the DVD commentary that featured two directors, neither of whom was Brenda Chapman. I was even more stunned when neither of these guys mentioned her at all (at least not until the final credits, when there's some passing mention to her 'original story'). Considering how Pixar go to such lengths to portray themselves as one big happy (stressed-out) family, this seemed to indicate some very deep dysfunction.

As for what went wrong with the film, the commentary also gave me a few clues about that, since the two directors were extremely self-congratulatory, but kept alluding to very complex elaborations of the film's existing storylines that they managed to cut out / combine / synthesize (e.g. "this here was supposed to be a set-up for a storyline that took X to this place and then allowed for Y to happen, but we decided that it worked better if we just cut the whole thing out"). Given the number of times something like that cropped up, it sounds like the story development was a very messy and confused business, and that the final version of the film tended to tamp down and standardize a lot of the flights of fancy that were originally part of the film. If you factored in all the dead ends and loose threads that were tidied up, it sounds like you'd have a completely incoherent mess. There's a lot about the film I like in its details, but the overall story arc is sort of numbingly standard.

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#671 Post by dustybooks » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:56 pm

Interesting -- I watched the film on a library DVD and I don't know if it has the commentary, but I'd be somewhat curious to hear it. I wonder if one major example of that loose-ends problem is
SpoilerShow
the transformation of the three brothers. It seemed a fun comic setup but then nothing at all was done with it; they were essentially the exact same characters, only rendered as bears, with no extra story material to justify the complication. That perplexed me a bit.
It's hard to know how seriously to take things like this, but the rumor at Cartoon Brew and various other animation blogs has long been that John Lasseter favors a director-driven system -- as long as said directors are willing to do things his way. Toy Story 2, Cars 2, and Ratatouille all had director firings / changes midstream, but I believe Brave is the first to feature an actual joint directorial credit (as opposed to someone like Jan Pinkava just showing up in tiny print as "co-director").

The most credible theory about what went wrong in this case is that Chapman ignored a lot of notes from the studio and that ended her relationship with them. But we'll probably never know for sure. She's at DreamWorks now and has made a few not-so-subtle jabs at Lasseter since leaving Pixar.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#672 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:43 am

I do like Brave a lot, but there's no question it's a compromised film- Chapman wrote it as a metaphorical treatment of her own relationship with her daughter, and I think that comes out a fair amount, and the movie is absolutely visually beautiful, but it doesn't feel like the arc of it quite clicks along the way it should. I could hardly finish the commentary, as Mark Andrews seemed to ignore some of the more interesting points of what was theoretically his own movie (and his take on Merida seems less interesting and nuanced than that presented in the movie) but if you hunt around there are a couple of featurettes obviously made while it was still in Chapman's charge that are a bit more enlightening. I think I wouldn't call it a failure, but it's a 7 out of 10 instead of an 8 or 9, and there's a disquiet to the first movie about women and women's space from Pixar having its creator and director replaced by some guy (and not even one of the heavy hitters in Pixar's directorial staff.)

I do think the relationship we get and the character of Merida are both pretty compelling, though, and much better from a feminist perspective than a lot of the irritating 'she's strong because she kicks ass but still falls for some shmuck and can't sustain herself without him' kind of characterization that seems to come up with most woman-anchored adventure stories; Merida's conflict is a real one, and both her and her mother's characters are flawed without being weak, nor the necessity of some guy to come and fix them.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#673 Post by knives » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:50 am

zedz wrote:
dustybooks wrote:Brave seemed to be the definition of a noble failure. In the first hour especially, it had phenomenal ideas and a great setup, but the finale just seemed too rote and anticlimactic to me. Reading what little information exists about Brenda Chapman's forced departure from the project, one wonders how much the clumsy action sequences in the third act were an imposition born of bottom-dollar impulses by John Lasseter and/or Disney. But a few things crept in that were absolutely brilliant: the animation of the mother after she transforms is a bit of truly great cartoon acting that I thought worthy of the early hand-drawn Disney films. And the witch was for me one of Pixar's most delightful characters, ever.
I didn't know any of the production history behind the film, so I was somewhat stunned when I listened to the DVD commentary that featured two directors, neither of whom was Brenda Chapman. I was even more stunned when neither of these guys mentioned her at all (at least not until the final credits, when there's some passing mention to her 'original story'). Considering how Pixar go to such lengths to portray themselves as one big happy (stressed-out) family, this seemed to indicate some very deep dysfunction.

As for what went wrong with the film, the commentary also gave me a few clues about that, since the two directors were extremely self-congratulatory, but kept alluding to very complex elaborations of the film's existing storylines that they managed to cut out / combine / synthesize (e.g. "this here was supposed to be a set-up for a storyline that took X to this place and then allowed for Y to happen, but we decided that it worked better if we just cut the whole thing out"). Given the number of times something like that cropped up, it sounds like the story development was a very messy and confused business, and that the final version of the film tended to tamp down and standardize a lot of the flights of fancy that were originally part of the film. If you factored in all the dead ends and loose threads that were tidied up, it sounds like you'd have a completely incoherent mess. There's a lot about the film I like in its details, but the overall story arc is sort of numbingly standard.
I believe its linked in the film's official thread, but there was a reasonably in depth article about the film's background. Essentially Chapman was trying to make a very personal story that didn't fit the Pixar mold at all and was kicked off the project and out of Pixar (she now works for a different Disney subsidiary in Lucas) and was replaced with Andrews to make the movie more appealing to males by adding action scenes and more traditional comedy (Andrews himself says something along the lines of sexing up the picture also). Essentially they tried to gentrify the film.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#674 Post by zedz » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:07 pm

I've just found out that a compilation of the work of the brilliant British animator Barry Purves has been released in France. Here. He's probably best known for the stop-motion work in Mars Attacks!, but his shorts Next! and Screen Play are first-rank masterpieces.

User avatar
YnEoS
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:30 am

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#675 Post by YnEoS » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:54 pm

Came across this episode from 99% invisible (an architecture and design podcast) on Maurice Noble and his contributions to designing backgrounds for Looney Toons cartoons.

Post Reply