Commentary 30 Apr 2009 07:22 am

In collusion with JULES ENGEL

Borge Ring sent a delightful letter, and here it is:

    In collusion with

    The Festival Jury is assessing LUXOR John Lasseter’s warm poetical film about an office lamp and its child.. Jury president John Halas clapping his hands proclaims: ”This is the victory of he computer, this is the victory of the computer”
    “No, it is not” sayz I.
    The head of Halas & Batchelor Brittain is baffled. “What do you mean?”
    “It is the victory of John Lasseter’s human warmth.”
    Halas retorts demandingly:”You don’t mean to say it could have been DRAWN?”

    Now this is a very tricky question that can be answered with YES or NO according to what you deem important: The play on your emotions or the magic of manipulatng numbers into stunning verissimilitude.

    I felt insecure about answering and looked around. Fellow juror Jules Engel whose omniscience in the matter understood the situation, looked intently at me from across the room and nodded a subtle, silent “Yes”.

    “Oh Yes, it could certainly have been drawn”, I say. Halas turns to Jules Engel: “” What do YOU say, Jules?” Jules Engel answers in a slow laid back academical manner: “I’d say Yes”


    ps: John Lasseter is an accomplished Disney trained animator. His mentor was Eric Larson the famous. I saw the film that Lasseter drew to round up his studies. It tells about a small boy who has nightmares. It would be nice to revisit it.

I haven’t seen Nitemare but hope to rectify that problem soon. Conse-quently, it’s tough for me to properly _________________Lasseter’s Nitemare
talk about it.

It’s obvious that John Lasseter has enormous respect for 2D animation; certainly his background would dictate that. The experimental piece he did on the Where the Wild Things test, done at Disney, shows a true attempt to combine 3D and 2D animation – at least for the Disney mold.

The piece, however primitive, did work in that you forgot you were watching 3D background animation – in the days when cgi was not so matter of fact. However, back then, the title made me think they were trying to destroy Maurice Sendak’s work by making it look like one of Peter Pan’s lost boys was starring in it. It was hard for me to make the leap (never mind the upcoming live action film by Spike Jonz) from the book to that film test.

We can also see the influence Myazaki has had on Lasseter, and hope for it to be something larger than Toy Story 3 or Cars 2. Perhaps 2012 will bring us something as sensitive as Luxo Jr.

Images of Luxo Jr. from Amid Amidi’s book: The Art of Pixar Short Films.

One Response to “In collusion with JULES ENGEL”

  1. on 30 Apr 2009 at 3:32 pm 1.Doug Vitarelli said …

    I can just picture this in my mind. Jules was very much like that.

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