Animation &Disney 22 Jan 2009 08:52 am

Sw in St – Squirrels

Oscar Nominations
The following films have been nominated for Best Animated Short Subject
La Maison de Petits Cubes by Kunio Kato
Lavatory – Lovestory by Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi by Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand
Presto by Pixar/Doug Sweetland
This Way Up by Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

The Best Animated Feature nominations are:
Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E

The nominations for Short Subject (both Live and Animated) are an interesting choice. I much prefer Glago’s Guest to Presto (my idea of a really bad film), but my favorite (House of Small Cubes) is nominated. I won’t complain. I expected Skhizen to be among the choices, but it’s probably too intelligent.


On to a more interesting, though not topical subject:

-When you speak to most animators they’ll probably tell you that the key sequence in The Sword In The Stone is the squirrel sequence. Hans Perk has been posting the drafts to this film, and since he’s now putting up the squirrel sequence, I thought it worth contributing a “mosaic” (not as good as Mark Mayerson would have done) for the sequence.

It’s longish, so it’ll take a few days to put it together. Here’s the first part:

(Click any image to enlarge.)

Seq. 006 sc. 1: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 2: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 3: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 3.1: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 4: Animator: Hal King | Seq. 006 sc. 5: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 6: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 7: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 9: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 10: Animator: Hal King | Seq. 006 sc. 11: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 11.1: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 12: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 13: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 22: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 23: Animator: Hal King

Seq. 006 sc. 24: Animator: Frank Thomas

More tomorrow.

10 Responses to “Sw in St – Squirrels”

  1. on 22 Jan 2009 at 11:03 am 1.Steisha Pintado said …

    As far as the nominees for Best Animated Feature go, did you mean Bolt instead of Balto?

  2. on 22 Jan 2009 at 11:21 am 2.Michael said …

    Thanks for the correction. I fixed it. Balto is a film I liked and must have had it on my mind having just visited Hans Bacher’s site.

  3. on 22 Jan 2009 at 5:30 pm 3.Elliot Cowan said …

    I’m sure we’ll be seeing it as a direct to video feature soon enough.
    Bolt vs Balto…

  4. on 23 Jan 2009 at 12:52 am 4.keith lango said …

    I thought I was alone in being quite underwhelmed by Presto, but kept the disaffection to myself. Watching it again today on DVD I just couldn’t put my finger on why it left me so filled with antipathy for it. It would be interesting to hear why you found it to be a ‘bad film’.

  5. on 23 Jan 2009 at 5:16 am 5.Hans Perk said …

    I love seeing those pan composites, Mike!

  6. on 23 Jan 2009 at 12:31 pm 6.Michael said …

    Hi Keith, my thoughts on PRESTO are simple:
    There is NO character animation in the film. It’s all stretch, squash, pop. Both characters are animated in the same style, so their characterization isn’t developed other than as cartoon cliché.
    The cuts are paced much too quickly so that no joke has time to settle.
    All the scene angles are dynamic, but they have no real relation one to another. Hence, the film doesn’t easily cut together to make the jokes told easily. This is too typical of many, many shorts being made today, all supposedly in homage to Tex Avery.
    The animators who did Avery’s animation knew what they were doing and could get away with their fun animation. I’m not sure most of those doing this type of work are trained well enough to make it work properly.

    The world of animation seems to have forgotten pacing, rhythm and timing with no variation in characterization. The audience wants to like it and gets what the film makers are trying to do, so there’s a constant interpretation going on in their minds. However, truth be told, it’s not working properly.

    The film eats off other films and has no relation to human beings whereas the films it’s imitating did. This is typical of many films – animated or live action – being made today. What’s the reason for watching it when so many similar films were done at WB and MGM, and they were done much more creatively. PRESTO, to me, is just a failed experiment. Not Oscar caliber. Much better at this sort of thing was the Goofy short done last year – though I just don’t like Goofy shorts.

  7. on 23 Jan 2009 at 1:40 pm 7.Sunny Kharbanda said …


    When I first saw PRESTO, I was thrilled that someone tried to pull off classic cartoon animation in today’s time, that too in CG (where we’ve been seeing a relentless trend towards realism). For all its story flaws, I still think it deserves credit for being an experiment, at a time when all other major studios are creating more of the same.

    That said, the classic Looney Tunes that it tries to pay homage to had more character depth and built their stories more carefully. Even the early roadrunner and coyote shorts – purely gag based cartoons with no plot – had pathos, and made you feel for the coyote.

    I couldn’t care less about who wins the Oscar, but then I’m very cynical about those awards. For me, Persepolis losing to Ratatouille last year was the final nail in Oscar’s coffin.

  8. on 23 Jan 2009 at 4:14 pm 8.keith lango said …

    Excellent observations on all points. I recall seeing the film in the theaters and having a difficult time following it. After another quick look thru the film I noted that nearly every camera angle was unique and did not flow from a keen sense of how to set up a scene. This is a significant problem in most CG films I’ve seen and worked on. The cinematography (for lack of a better term) is undisciplined. Too many shooting set-ups and as a result nothing feels ‘grounded’. I once did a sequence study on a film I worked on as an animator and I found that we used 47 unique camera set-ups (position, lens, etc.) for a 63 shot sequence- and it was not an action or chase sequence. No live action or stop motion film could afford the number of camera set-ups that exist in Cg films, and no classic animation would even try. So things just don’t hold together very well- it’s so hard for the character narrative to get any real momentum that way. What you’re left with is a series of one-off shots that exist mainly as a canvas for the motion- which becomes the point instead of illuminating the point. (another common foible in Cg animated films). I’m disappointed in myself for not catching that in Presto.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. on 23 Jan 2009 at 4:43 pm 9.Michael said …

    In the book, Truffaut/Hitchcock, Alfred H says that there is only one appropriate angle for any given scene. The trick is to know what that one is.

    Unfortunately, storyboards today are too often trying to mimic comic art creation – dynamic pose to dynamic pose to dynamic pose. That’s not always best for storytelling.

  10. on 23 Jan 2009 at 9:36 pm 10.keith lango said …

    I remember that line. Funny- I was just browsing through my copy of Trufaut/Hitchcock today. Now there was a disciplined filmmaker- it was pretty rare to see him put up a throw away or poorly put together scene.

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