Commentary 28 Jul 2007 08:35 am

re animated masterpieces

Jeff Scher‘s monthly animated piece has been updated for August, and the new episode now appears in the NYTimes on the Opinion page.

This month it’s Lost and Found a play on animated films of the early Thirties. In Jeff’s words:
“This film is made of more than 2,000 watercolor paintings and drawings in a style I call “psychadelichrome,” in which the color varies wildly from frame to frame while the forms remain consistent. The result is a kind of percussive shimmer.” Check it out.


- Slate, the on-line magazine, has an article calling for Disney to continue their straight-to-DVD sequels.

The author, Dan Kois, cautiously tries to argue that Bambi II is better than Bambi (and just about lost me in doing so), but what their thesis seems to be, at least my interpretation of it, is that 2D painterly animation is more powerful than 3D cg animation. Basically, he’s suggesting that there should be more 2D animation, and these sequels present the best opportunity. This, certainly, wouldn’t be true if the executives at the various studios would wake up to the fact that both forms of animation can co-exist profitably and productively in the same marketplace.

If you do read the Slate article, note that there are some fine comments on the site responding to the article.

I am not sure that I was ever upset about these knock-off dvds. Obviously, it shows a lack of imagination and daring on the part of the executives, but can anyone seriously tell me that Treasure Planet (a futuristic reworking of Treasure Island in space) took significantly more imagination than Scamp’s Wild Adventure (or whatever Lady and the Tramp II was called)? Note also that Lady and the Tramp II made more money than the original Treasure Planet.

Is there any difference between Bambi II and Toy Story II? Should there be no Cinderella II when there’s Lilo and Stitch the tv series or Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, the tv series? Or what about the countless sequels to Aladdin? Or that short sequel to Monsters Inc., Mike’s New Car? Or how about the hideous tv series that were done featuring Mickey and gang or even those new shorts using Goofy. Where and how do those fall in?

John Lasseter is trying to preserve the integrity of the Disney library, but he’s marketing his own films somewhat more voraciously. If you want to preserve the esteem of those films of the “Golden Age” why not re-release them in theaters? Didn’t we see that scheme once worked for Disney putting them out theatrically every 7 years? Has the presence of the five remastered dvd versions of Peter Pan made that film less valuable theatrically?

CG is popular with executives for financial reasons. They can see a product that they can better control while it’s in production. Why is this any different from exploiting the hits of the past? If you can put Belle or Tarzan or Mary Poppins on the stage or dancing around the theme parks, why not be able to rework them in animation? Isn’t it a variation of the same thing?

Money making.

I don’t think anyone is thinking about “Art” (with a capital “A”) these days.

Why hold the old films in such esteem when the animators of today don’t hold their own work up to the same standard?
I so desperately want to critique this image, but I have to
hold myself back. The knowledge just isn’t there.
Suffice it to say, that this is evidence enough that
the new doesn’t equal the old.

Take a look at Hans Bacher‘s new site to see what
stunning, well planned BGs look like.


4 Responses to “re animated masterpieces”

  1. on 28 Jul 2007 at 10:40 am 1.Galen Fott said …

    Some good points, I think. But the main difference between Bambi II and Toy Story II is that Toy Story II was made by the same people that made Toy Story I.

  2. on 28 Jul 2007 at 5:57 pm 2.Nancy Beiman said …

    The author of the Salon article specifically states that BAMBI II is ‘superior’ to BAMBI since there are no depressing parental deaths, but lots of interaction between the Prince and his son.
    I think that I stopped reading at that point.

    What is wrong with sequels? Every single TOM AND JERRY cartoon and every single ROADRUNNER AND COYOTE cartoon had the same characters and the same basic relationship. Sequels are okay if they are good–that is, as long as they can bring fresh new material in. People like familiar and continuing characters. Sagas predate film.

    J.M. Barrie wrote a sequel to PETER PAN and L. Frank Baum wrote twelve OZ books.

    Toy Story II was arguably superior to the original. The difference was that it was made by the original filmmakers. A sequel to BAMBI made sixty years later will not have the same focus as the original film.

    As for TREASURE PLANET,it’s apples and oranges: this film’s directorial/writing team worked on it for 17 years. That’s a luxury that no production today can afford.

  3. on 29 Jul 2007 at 8:23 am 3.Stephen said …

    Hate to say this but they have made “Cinderella 2″

  4. on 30 Jul 2007 at 1:56 pm 4.Bill said …

    W.W. Denslow, the original illustrator of the Baum “Oz” books wrote and illustrated several further “Oz” books on his own, after Frank Baum passed away, to extend the franchise.

Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

eXTReMe Tracker
click for free hit counter

hit counter