acroyear: (bad day coyote)
Left this on a comment at another blog, but it basically repeats something I wrote on FB when it happened:

I’ve got all of the Looney Tunes golden collections (then hunted on youtube the rest until they get officially released), though from there I ripped them all into individual ones I can shuffle so it is more like what Saturday Morning (when the BB-RR Show was 90 minutes long) was like when I was a kid. Thus, I’m already selective of which ones I’ll include, leaving most of the black-and-whites and some of the Tex Avery’s and Bob Clampett’s out.

One thing that bothered me is their repeat of gags that really just weren’t funny. It isn’t just that they were wrong (though they were), it is that they weren’t funny. Especially when they were totally out of theme of the rest of the material.

Case in point, a bit totally not in the original book of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg, that Clampett added to the 1942 cartoon – at one point as the boat crosses the ocean to take him to the circus, a fish sees it, goes “now I’ve seen everything”, and quickly pulls out a revolver from nowhere and blows his head off. I’d forgotten it was there, as it had been cut from syndicated versions since the late 80s so Cartoon Network’s broadcasts never had it.

And it all happened faster than I could react to stopping it before my 3 year old daughter basically saw her first on-screen suicide (her first on-screen death was the dinosaurs in Fantasia, but I was there to talk her through that *before* it happened, making it clear that not all dinosaurs are nice like Buddy and Mr. Conductor ;-) ). The most I could do was repeat “it’s not funny” a few times and then start talking about the plot as it took over from there, because it’s true. It isn’t funny.

It is a gag that the Termite Terrace used at least a dozen times in those early years, and it has never been funny. I honestly have no idea why they thought it was funny enough to keep repeating over and over, and worse still, stick it into a Dr. Seuss work where it absolutely didn’t belong.

No wonder (besides the war and a few other projects) it would be more than two decades before Seuss was willing to let someone animate his work again.

In any case, not every aspect of the Termite Terrace years is bad because of stereotyped racism, or overt sexuality. Silly gun violence is one thing, but un-funny suicides are something different and deserve just as much a warning as the rest.

on D23

Aug. 22nd, 2011 03:59 pm
acroyear: (don't go there)
Blue Sky Disney: Lessons Unlearned...:
On what went right and what went wrong. Mostly on the wrong part of that reflective question. Lets recap a little about the 2009 D23 Expo. First, it was over 4 days and in the end had over 20,000+ attend the show. Not bad for a first time event. Disney pulled it off pretty well, although there were some rough edges that you would think they would learn from and tweak the next time, right?

Not really, no.
What follows is a pretty impressive list of PR and "Con" organizational failures from this past weekend in Anaheim.

QotD

Jun. 30th, 2011 09:24 am
acroyear: (don't let the)
“Weird Al” Yankovic | Music | Set List | The A.V. Club:
I wrote this song before 9/11 just because I felt a lot of that selfishness in our culture, and immediately after 9/11 it felt like our national attitude had changed, and everyone was pitching in and being helpful, and being supporting and loving, which lasted about a week. -- Weird Al, on 'Why Does This Always Happen To Me' (Poodle Hat, 2003)
acroyear: (oh that's clever)
Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz - Stuff:
So Doctor Who is not a complete loss. But then there are some shows that go completely beyond the pale of enjoyability, until they become nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning.

I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called "World War II".
keep reading, this is hilarious...
acroyear: (I'm being serious)
but it is hilarious...

grokked from jwz

what if...

Mar. 7th, 2011 12:55 pm
acroyear: (oh that's clever)
...the current Doctor Who stories were novelized by Target?
acroyear: (fof earplug)
Renewable Music: Oscar rant obligato:
I do listen closely to sound editing and mixing, however, and find, as a composer, that the sound design is often the most interesting, subtle, and complex part of a film. As far as I'm concern, last year presented some classic examples of mainstream sound design done both very well and very poorly, particularly in the mix. But my ideas of what works or doesn't in a sound track seem to go against the grain: Inception took both sound Oscars this year, but boy, I thought it had a dog's breakfast of a mix.
I'm probably getting old, but increasingly I'm finding the sound levels in films to be overwhelming. If the original mix is muddy and indistinct (or filled with uninteresting elements), adding more volume (and more subwoofer) to the room is not going to help it.
acroyear: (fof oooh perty...)
Blue Sky Disney: To Convert Or Not To Convert...:
In fact, it makes sense especially with the blockbusters that are using mo-cap or heavy fx, why would you want to shoot Optimus Prime or Yogi Bear twice by dual rendering? You have to shoot the left and than the right, instead you can just wait till the fx are done, hand the material over and then post convert it. Shooting a film in 3D is only right for the big boys, the studio tent poles, it costs over 30% more (sometimes up to 50%) to shoot a 3D show, where as converting is a fraction of that cost. And just because “Titans” and other hack job conversions are done, that doesn’t mean they should all be done that way. That is like judging “Batman and Robin” was a bad film, so nobody should see “The Dark Knight” because Batman sucks.

Don’t judge the conversion process by one, two or even five films, when the technology is so new and fresh. And that is the exciting thing about 3D, is we are on the cutting edge of technology. 3D gets us away from the music video Michael Bay like cinematography and makes us focus more on the classic style of film-making. 3D is a check and balances, because it makes the filmmaker focus on the frame and everything in it, makes them think before shooting –
I agree with the artistic conclusion: shooting in 3D does make one be more careful about what goes into a shot and thus it will inspire and drive a new generation of cinematographers to the fore in ways that under "MTV" style quickflash editing they were relegated out of shot.

On the other hand, I think he underestimates how clever computers can be.  Shooting real 3D with real cameras is tricky and expensive.  "Shooting" a CGI-rendered scene in 3D is trivial, once you've got the numbers right, and they've had the numbers right more or less since the 18th Century.  The animator only has to set where in 3D space the object is - the rendering system takes over and can give the left and right eye perspective with absolute consistency, and it is trivial to do.
acroyear: (passport to fun)
Voyages Extraordinaires: Treasure Planet (2002):
There is an endless opportunity for speculation in assessing why Treasure Planet underperformed at theatures. A theory that I think holds some relevance for a number of films from that period is that Disney is creatively caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, people complain and dismiss Disney as being a company that produces princess movies and other fairy tales. Granted, that is where they are at their most iconic [...]. However, there has never been a shortage of experimentation either: once upon a time, Snow White was experimental. Fantasia and the other mid-century music anthologies were most certainly so, as were the Latin American-themed Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.

Which leads to the other hand: people complain that Disney only makes fairy tales, and then refuse to see any Disney [animated] movie that isn't one. Is it any wonder that Disney's return to traditional animation is being heralded in by two fairy tales, Enchanted and The Princess and the Frog? When they attempt an Atlantis or a Treasure Planet, a moviegoing public cannot seem to wrap their minds around it. Nor can they, despite 20 years of Japanese animation being imported to Western shores, contemplate a mature Hollywood animated film like The Iron Giant or Titan A.E.

Unfortunately, like Fantasia, fans of the film will have to wait a few decades for vindication.
Much of the same could be said for Meet the Robinsons which was also a fantastic piece of work that got buried in the "Disney only makes fairy tales" mix, showing that Disney in 3D is just as trapped by the stereotype expectations as Disney in 2D.

I added the following comment:
Disney Animation in 3D (leaving Pixar out for a bit) hasn't done much better. Meet the Robinsons (which I also loved) was also cursed by the expectation problem, that lack of desire to see a non-princess film from the studio.

Of course that film was also hit hard by being released in a lousy time of year for movies (April, I think?), another experiment ("can we dodge the blockbuster summer and avoid getting buried by our own Pirates sequel") that didn't pay off.

Then again, Pixar too has been hit by the expectation punch. Most of their films since Nemo haven't done near Nemo's numbers in the box office, hinting to some pundits that Pixar should go back to making movies "just for little kids", in spite of the strong critical acclaim and very impressive merchandise sales (think Cars). Toy Story 3 is the recent exception that seems to prove that rule.
acroyear: (disney toad)
Toy Story: Best Picture, Best Animated Picture, Best adapted screenplay, Best Song (We Belong Together, Randy Newman), Best Sound Editing

Day and Night: Best Animated Short Film

Alice in Wonderland: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects

Tangled: Best Song (I See The Light)

Tron Legacy: Best Sound Editing

Other geek-cred nominations include:

How to Train Your Dragon: Best Animated, Best Score
Harry Potter 7.1: Best Visual Effects

--

Thoughts:

Why was Toy Story 3 on the list for "adapted" screenplay - I can't recall them actually publishing the work prior to starting the movie, which I thought was the distinction between that and "original"...

Tron snubbed for best effects?  Was Iron Man 2 really better, or did the Academy just not "get" why Clu looked the way he did?

Tangled snubbed for Best Animated?  And why only 3 nods this year instead of 5?

Alice would probably be the frontrunner for best effects if Inception didn't have so much hype around it.  Odd that aside from Inception, there isn't the big match-up where the visual effects also rule the sound categories (and odd that no animated films got sound design).  I don't expect Harry to get it, though 7.2 probably will get some attention unless Pirates 4 really has something special.

Day and Night I hope gets short animated.  Pixar hasn't won since For the Birds as the Acadamy has voted "artsy" for most of the last decade, though Day and Night is Pixar's most artistic statement for a short in quite some time.  It's also just plain fun.
acroyear: (ouch...)
...astrologers are getting together (virtually speaking) to claim that an astronomer pointing out how much of a scam astrology is, is itself a scam.

i especially love how they claim modern astrology began with Ptolemy (who was probably the most observant *astronomer* the classical world had, even if he did have a few daft conclusions here and there) and yet it is a "seasons" based astrology and not a *stars* based astrology.  That's for those *other* astrologers.

sorry, but any last credence in astrology i could have possibly had disappeared when Rupert was discovered.

and most of my respect for some astronomers also disappeared when they totally failed to name it Rupert when it was found.
acroyear: (fof not quite right)
Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die | Magazine:
We needed it, too, because the essence of our culture—our “escape hatch” culture—would begin to change in 1987.

That was the year the final issue of Watchmen came out, in October. After that, it seemed like everything that was part of my otaku world was out in the open and up for grabs, if only out of context. I wasn’t seeing the hard line between “nerds” and “normals” anymore. It was the last year that a T-shirt or music preference or pastime (Dungeons & Dragons had long since lost its dangerous, Satanic, suicide-inducing street cred) could set you apart from the surface dwellers. Pretty soon, being the only person who was into something didn’t make you outcast; it made you ahead of the curve and someone people were quicker to befriend than shun. Ironically, surface dwellers began repurposing the symbols and phrases and tokens of the erstwhile outcast underground.

Fast-forward to now: Boba Fett’s helmet emblazoned on sleeveless T-shirts worn by gym douches hefting dumbbells. The Glee kids performing the songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band that took its name from a Monty Python riff, joining the permanent soundtrack of a night out at Bennigan’s. Our below-the-topsoil passions have been rudely dug up and displayed in the noonday sun. The Lord of the Rings used to be ours and only ours simply because of the sheer goddamn thickness of the books. Twenty years later, the entire cast and crew would be trooping onstage at the Oscars to collect their statuettes, and replicas of the One Ring would be sold as bling.
He later includes this brilliant line:
Can we all admit the final battle in Superman II looks like a local commercial for a personal-injury attorney?
acroyear: (rock)
Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required? - Slashdot:
Back in 1982, most anyone who saw Tron (or a few years after, as it garnered 'cult classic' status) was captivated, not just by the amazing computer-generated graphics of the time, but about the possibility of a world inside a computer system, where programs walk around and interact with each other like humans, where bits and bytes are interactive things you could touch and see, and where artificial intelligence was something to be feared (in the form of the MCP) rather than embraced.

Most of my friends were born in the '80s, and the ones that saw the original Tron were much more open to the storyline of Tron: Legacy than the ones who never saw the original or who watched it only recently to prepare for watching the new movie. While they all agreed the CG and 3D was amazing, they felt the story was 'unimaginative' or 'run-of-the-mill.' Also, many people born later, such as my younger sister, who is very tech savvy herself, seemed to dismiss the plot and characters completely, instead speaking only of the quality of the graphics and the music. I believe this speaks to how the human race has grown out of its own imagination when it comes to technology since it entered the digital age. Young people can't see past the fact that there isn't a world inside the computer, that programs are just tools to be used by humans, and artificial intelligence is something discussed on a daily basis.
acroyear: (number 2 judge)
Breaking News on EFF Victory: Appeals Court Holds that Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment | Electronic Frontier Foundation:
In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers. Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and postal mail.
This has been something the EFF has been fighting for since its founding. In the Secret Service raid incident, started in 1990, legally resolved in 1993, one of the judgements asked for was the interpretation that the government seizing equipment that housed unread emails (in that case, the Illuminati BBS system which I was a subscriber of at the time) constituted "wiretapping", since it meant the government could read the email before the intended user could.

In those early days of email, not well understood by the general public (nevermind the stodgy isolated conservatve judiciary), the decision from a literalistic "wiretapping means intercepting on a wire" judge meant, "no".  The feds could take the equipment and read everything and you'd be none-the-wiser, even though your own private communications were never directly the subject of the warrant (or even suspicion in any degree).

20 years later, thanks also to ubiquitous email, the EFF has finally gotten the judiciary to recognize what we uber-geeks have always known: email is private communication between parties, regardless of the "service providers" involved on either end, or hardware involved in the transport of its bits.

Hurray for "common sense" to finally become common.
acroyear: (woke me up)
'Yogi Bear' Movie Introduces Boring Cartoon Character To New Generation | The Onion - America's Finest News Source:
Executives at Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the upcoming 3-D live-action/CGI film Yogi Bear will introduce a whole new generation to a dull, culturally irrelevant cartoon character. "Finally, today's children will have the chance to be completely uninspired by the same inane and repetitive gags that failed to capture their parents' imagination," Warner Bros. spokesperson Ian Daley said of the cartoon bear, whose trademark defining feature is that he wears a hat.
It's a reason CN first ran so many 60s H-B cartoons when they first started up so many years ago: they were cheap because they weren't terribly good.

I note that even when they emphasized Yogi by name on Laugh-a-lympics (H-B's best production ever), Yogi himself rarely actually was involved in any of the games...
acroyear: (if you can't beat 'em)
considering I wrote this 18 months ago, it should be noted that alongside the Fantasia Blu-Ray I also picked up Sorcerer's Apprentice (mind you, because Amazon had a bundling sale, $10 off).
acroyear: (free upgrades)
Disney artists do like to clean up the masters these days, and in many cases rightfully so. But it should be noted that ANY artist that cleans up an ancient piece of work, be it a classical Greek mosaic, a Michaelangelo ceiling, a Rembrant painting, a Shakespeare text, or a Disney feature, is doing so slightly tainted by their own times and their own vision of what the work is. In striving to make it as good as it can be, it can often end up cleaner or different even from the original they claim to be striving to achieve. Here's one brief but well known section of Fantasia... )

Is color-correction of the classics the next "compression war", where artists don't restore the originals so much as make them palatable for the current trend in playback technology?

Certainly I'm keeping my 2000 DVD because the extras on it weren't duplicated on the Blu-Ray, nor did we get a new documentary feature like Beauty and the Beast - in fact even the old ones weren't duplicated, but only are available as BD-Live features.
acroyear: (what a day)
Leslie Nielsen’s 1961 Visit to Disneyland Park « Disney Parks Blog:
Actor Leslie Nielsen passed away over the weekend at the age of 84. We have a publicity photo of Mr. Nielsen in our archive and I’m sharing it with you this morning in remembrance of this very funny and talented man.



The photo was taken at the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland park in 1961. At the time, Mr. Nielsen was starring as Revolutionary War fighter Francis Marion in “The Swamp Fox,” an eight-episode series shown during “Walt Disney Presents” on ABC.
acroyear: (don't go there)
The Goonies sequel: potential treasure trove or best left buried? | Film | guardian.co.uk:
Second, there's the fact that Corey Feldman was also the unofficial cheerleader for a Lost Boys sequel, and when Lost Boys: The Tribe finally appeared in 2008 it was a franchise-destroying embarrassment.

Finally, it's important to remember that if Goonies 2 does get made, it would inevitably open the door for Flight of the Navigator 2. That would be a supremely bad idea on every conceivable level.

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