Archive for the ‘animation’ Category

A Quiet Day in DC   Leave a comment

So the last two weekends, I’ve been attending E Street Cinema’s Miyazaki film festival. Every Saturday and Sunday, they show two films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli: a more adult-themed one at 10:30, and a family-friendly showing at 1:30. They change the films every weekend. Last weekend was Nausicaa: Wind in the Valley and then My Neighbor Totoro. This week’s fare was Porco Rosso and Spirited Away. I have now seen enough Miyazaki that I’m picking up on themes on my own, rather than just listening to what my friends say. I can see his take on environmental themes. We’re not here to save the planet, we are here to work with the planet. Also (this might be more of a Japanese trope than a Miyazaki-specific trope), the films are a lot slower than I’m used to seeing in American animation. In Spirited Away, for example, we watched Chihiro walk onto a train, find a seat, sit down in the seat, arrange herself, ensure her friends were comfortable, look at No Face, look next to her, then point at the empty space next to her, then we saw No Face’s reaction, then we watched No Face cross to the seat, then sit down, then we had a moment of them sit silently on the train as it moved.

THE FEELS
Image unrelated. I just cracked up when the train splashed No Face in the film, because I remembered this .gif.

There were a lot of scenes like that, scenes which didn’t advance the plot or develop the characters, yet they held weight and meaning anyway. Not everything that we do every day develops our personalities or our life goals. Chihiro and No Face getting onto the train; Chihiro and Lin eating rice cakes and looking out over the newly-developed ocean; Porco doing loop-de-loops while flying to Milan; Signor Piccolo blowing the roof off of his shed while testing the plane engine; 90% of Nausicaa: Wind in the Valley. These moments do nothing for the story, and yet they felt important. Life is a stretch of quiet moments. We saw our characters go through their loud moments and their quiet moments. It felt important.

Walking out of those movies and blinking in the bright sunlight beaming down on E Street, that same contemplation still swimming over me, I realized that it was a gorgeous day and that I had absolutely nothing to do. No one needed me to be anywhere. I had nothing due. The parking lot charged me a flat fee; I paid $10 whether I was there two hours or ten. Nothing was stopping me from just being in DC.

So I walked to the Sculpture Garden and watched a security guard chase some kids off of a sculpture. Then I walked to the Mall.



The only real castle that America will ever get, and it’s a damn information desk.

Once I was at the Mall, I realized that I had been to the Mall a billion times, so I decided to go to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. I don’t know if I had ever been to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial before, but if I had, I don’t remember it. So it seemed worth going to, even though I was on 12th Street and had already walked a half-mile just to get to the Mall. So I walked a mile to the Jefferson Memorial.

People were flying kites and riding bikes and going for jogs. Tourists were taking photos. The carousel in front of the Air and Space museum was in full swing. The Washington Memorial had shed about 75% of its scaffolding. I sat down on the grass and tried to get a picture of my finger “touching” the top of the Washington Memorial. The lighting was terrible. I sighed. It all felt like it did in Europe, when I had napped all over the city. I would, regularly, arrive an hour or two ahead of my Rome to Augustus class, find a comfy-looking spot of granite or marble, and nap. I take an odd pride in my ability to nap on public spaces.

I didn’t feel much like napping, but I did lay out my coat, tuck my purse under my arm, and close my eyes. I just wanted to feel the sun on my skin for a bit. Just listen to the sound of the city. I could hear the wind; I could hear cars. I could hear scratching nearby. It sounded like feet running near my head. I figured it was just a kid running around and ignored it. The sun shone through my eyelids. I wondered if everything would be blue when I opened my eyes.

Someone whispered in my ear.

I screamed and sat up. The whisperer was already running away; some white dude in a green-on-white shirt, laughing hysterically. If this were a Miyazaki film, I would have had something angry but funny to say. But I didn’t. I just lay back down and closed my eyes again. But the spell had been broken. Lying on the ground was stupid. I got up, put my jacket back on, tucked my purse over my shoulder, and walked on.

Boy Scouts discussed ways to measure the length of the Washington Memorial’s shadow. I tried to get another picture of my finger touching the top of the Washington Memorial. Too blurry. I headed for the Potomac River, and the Jefferson Memorial.

I walked along the river. I fell in behind a gay couple discussing couches. They didn’t know what size was right for their living room. Above us were the Japanese Cherry Trees, not yet in blossom. The couple walked off farther down Ohio Street as I turned towards the Jefferson Memorial. Everything seemed to happening way too fast, so I sat down by the river and watched the paddleboats paddle.


I knew why some parts of the river registered as blue; that was the part of the river that was reflecting the sky. But where did the green come from? There are many mysteries in life. Dissatisfied with my inability to reason why the river looked green, I got up and headed for the Memorial.


I looked at the famous Stairs leading up the Memorial thought, hah. I could nap the hell out of those stairs. I didn’t, though. But I could have. I was also delighted by all the people taking pictures of each other. For some reason, one of my favorite things to look at is people taking pictures. Also several people seemed to realize that the normal pose, standing and smiling on the steps, is super boring to look at, so I watched as several different groups had their members pose in odd ways just to jazz up the vacation photos a bit.

After a moment I realized that I was staring, so I went inside, feeling a bit like a sheep.


Everyone was taking a picture of the statue, but I gawked at the ceiling and the floor. It was exactly like the dome of the Pantheon. Exactly like it. The more I studied the building, the more I realized how much the Memorial resembled the Pantheon. The ceiling was exactly like the Pantheon, except that the Pantheon has a hole in the middle of its roof (on purpose). I looked at the floor. The layout of the white marble was exactly like the layout of the Pantheon’s marble flooring, except ours was all white while the Pantheon’s was a variety of beautiful colors. I looked around; there was seating on the edges instead of random votives, and open views split apart by columns rather than random shrines. But the layout was remarkably similar to the Pantheon. I looked back at the main stairwell. Indeed, exactly where the ancients would have made their sacrifices, that was where there were extra fancy steps and a gigantic marble block.

No wonder I felt like I could nap on it. I had totally napped on its cousin in Rome.

I didn’t nap on it. I discovered that the columns were incredibly comfortable for resting against, though. I sat behind the statue, where most tourists didn’t go. The tourists that I did see were in a mood like me. They weren’t chatty. They weren’t filling itineraries or taking pictures. They were looking at the road beyond, at the river, at the nearby trees, at airplanes taking off from Reagan National Airport. We sat in contemplation together. Watching. Waiting. Admiring the quiet moment for what it was. Quiet.

Spoilers for the Secret of NIMH   1 comment

So on Thursday I headed back to the United States. I had asked the building manager/doorman/whatever he is to get a cab for me on Thursday morning at 9:00. At about 8:20 on Thursday, I walked out of the apartment building, intending to get some cash from the bank, for the taxi and the airport bag check-in. He was standing outside talking with some folks. When he saw me, he looked worried.

He asked me (in Italian) if I wanted that taxi for 9:00. I said, “Si, vado a uno banco.” (yes, I am going to the bank)

He looked confused.

I said, “É otto e venti. Vado uno banco.” (It’s 8:20. I’m going to the bank)

He turned to the couple he was talking to and said, “Parlete inglese?” (Do you guys speak English)

“No,” they said.

He turned back to me and said, “Taxi per le nove?” (Taxi for nine o’clock?)

“Si,” I said again. “Taxi per nove. É otto e venti. Vado uno banco.” (Yes, taxi for nine o’clock. It’s 8:20. I’m going to the bank.)

He turned to his friends and said something. Finally the man in the couple (in Italian) told me to be down here in half an hour. I said (in Italian) that I would be.

So I took a taxi to the airport, because it was a lot easier to deal with than hauling two suitcases and a full backpack around on public transportation during rush hour traffic. He dropped me off at Terminal Five. That was where all of the flights to the United States left from. But I had said specifically that I was going to Canada. I can only guess that since almost all of the flights to North America leave from Terminal Five, he thought Air Canada left from Terminal Five as well. But Air Canada was in Terminal Three, with all the European flights, for some reason.

So after some mild panicking and resentment on my part, I got on the airport shuttle and to Terminal Three. Everything else in the airport went without a hitch. In the airport, I sat and started The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time and sobbed several times. I sat in seat 38H in the very back of the plane, where I finished before the plane even took off. It’s not a difficult book to read. Except emotionally. I cried so many times.

Fortunately I was dry-eyed when a woman approached my seat and stared at me.

I looked up at her.

“Is this your seat?” she asked me.

“Yes,” I said.

She narrowed her eyes.

“What’s your seat number?” she asked.

“38H,” I said.

She muttered under her breath and walked away. When I saw her next, she was in seat 37G. I think she was originally supposed to sit in 38K, next to me, but for some reason didn’t want to sit next to me. I don’t know why. Maybe she wanted an aisle seat. Maybe she wanted to have two seats all to herself. When I recounted the story to my family later on, my uncle Steve pointed out that I would make a great seatmate because I’m small.

She wasn’t rude. When I remarked aloud to no one that the plane was a lot less full than I expected, she turned around and explained that the back of the plane on long flights was reserved for flight attendants, so they could have a place to nap on their breaks. So she didn’t hate me, at least.

Whatever the reason, no one ever came to sit in 38K, so I had two seats all to myself for nine hours. I stuck my backpack under 37K, so I was able to stretch my legs out as far as I want (and because I’m small, I had almost as much footroom as a tall person would have in First Class). I could use 38K as a place to set my books and my laptop, or another footrest if I wanted to sit sideways. I could use 38K’s interactive screen to show me the flight’s progress on the map, and my interactive screen to watch movies.

After The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time, I needed to lightest movie imaginable to lift my mood. I ended up settling on Hotel Transylvania. It was a fun movie, exactly what I needed, but afterwards, I needed something a bit heavier to chew on. So I watched the 1993 version of Secret Garden. Then I tried to read another book, Green Rider, but I’ve read that book so often that I got bored and started skipping parts I knew already. Like, all of the opening scene, where the bad guy ruminates on history, and the heroine gets her mission from the dying Green Rider. I just skipped all of that premise-building. Then I got skipped the next chapter because I knew that too. I decided that since I had skipped three chapters, I should probably just not bother reading the book. Instead I watched The Secret of NIMH.

Although I grew up watching The Secret of NIMH, I hadn’t seen it in several years. I found myself enthralled in a way I hadn’t been as a child. When I was a little girl, I had loved the comical scenes — Jeremy the Crow being clumsy (‘scuse me, pardon me!), Auntie Shrew shrieking in self-aggrandizement, the children tying up Jeremy. I had hardly noticed the main character, Mrs. Brisby.

But now, as an adult, I was fascinated by her. She is a strong character — truly strong, I think. Not physically. Not in a 1990s I’m-a-woman-in-a-man’s-world type of strong female character. She had strong characterization. She had a true personality. I sat back and watched her, and I realized what this woman is:

This woman is Heart. Everything she does, she does from the heart. She is constantly battling her own fear and uncertainty in order to protect those she loves. She begins the story fearful of even visiting Mr. Ages, but she does it anyway. When the tractor begins the plowing early, she immediately runs to the danger without having any idea what she is going to do (another character, Auntie Shrew, manages to stop the tractor, and finds her frozen in fear, still clinging to the tractor). She just wants to save her family.

There are arc words attached to the amulet Mrs. Brisby is holding. They are “Courage of the Heart is very rare. The stone has a power when it’s there.” The actual words on the amulet are “you can unlock any door if you only have the key,” which is also important to note, but nowhere near as important as the words Nicodemus gives us (the “courage of the heart” quote).

After a long and dramatic scene in which the rats get caught up in internal politics, Mrs. Brisby’s house and children (and Auntie Shrew, never forget Auntie Shrew) begin sinking into the mud. The rats all struggle to get the house out of the mud — setting aside their dispute to focus on the task at hand. Justin and Mrs. Brisby are on the granite block of the house. The other rats are tossing rope to them, and they desperate tie the ropes around the block, so that the rats can pull the block to safety. But all the ropes keep breaking. The granite block sinks beneath the mud. Justin only barely manages to pull out a desperate, grieving Mrs. Brisby from the mud. But she is fighting. Her heart, broken, strong, her strength, her courage — even to the last, Mrs. Brisby is fighting to save her family.

And that is why the stone amulet works. Mrs. Brisby, heart personified, is courageous, selfless, but always courageous. The stone unleashes its power and saves the house and the children (including Timmy and Auntie Shrew).

This had always confused me as a child. Why should the stone amulet work, when Mrs. Brisby had been crying and not being courageous? Because Mrs. Brisby never gave up. No, not even when her children were sinking beneath the mud. She may have been crying. But she hadn’t given up, not really. Not ever.

A dangerous pasttime I know   Leave a comment

We interrupt IMPORTANT VESTING ACTIVITIES to bring you this — this — horrendous atrocity known as 12 Questions Disney Forgot to Answer About Beauty and the Beast. AS A HISTORY MAJOR AND NERD and apparently a caps-locking user I must answer these questions immediately!

1) Who in the actual hell is this?

That’s Beast/Prince Adam, losers. He’s not the heir to the throne. He wouldn’t be called “prince” if he was the heir to the throne. He’s a younger son. They probably thought he died.

2) Who punishes an 11-year-old for not letting a stranger in the house?

Fairies! Enchantresses! Witches! Basically if anything is supernatural, they will do evil things to you! This is a basic testament of supernatural things. They are evil and mean you harm. As soon as that enchantess set her sights on Prince Adam he was doomed. If he had let her in, she would have found another excuse to curse him.

3) Why did Belle open the door here?

Because xenophilia. In the old days, if someone came a’knockin’, you let them in. Even if you hated them. Or else bad things would happen. Prince Adam followed the Enlightened class and didn’t need to follow xenophilia, but Belle, a working-class girl, was raised on it.

4) Who are the faceless bastards in the background?

I don’t know. Good point. Maybe they’re not servants but the other servants are shooting them off anyway? Maybe all the servants got turned into inanimate objects, and all the inanimate objects got turned into servants? Great equalizer, that witch.

5) What is going on with this time-traveling portrait?

Well it’s in terrible shape, but it’s entirely possible that it’s a commissioned portrait that made Prince Adam look a little older anyway.

6) What would have happened if Belle touched the rose?

I don’t know. I’ve been wondering that myself.

7) How did Belle get his unconscious ass onto a horse?

Maybe Phillipe helped? He’s a smart horse.

8) How does Chip even exist?

He was a baby when the enchantment happened. Years of malnutrition and magic kept him from growing properly, but now he’s ten-years-old.

9) Is Belle stupid?

Bitch, I sing foreshadowing songs all the time. It never amounts to anything. Stop.

10) Whose clothes are they wearing?

His parent’s. Duh. The castle is a country villa for the royalty. They let Prince Adam take over the residency, but they still kept some clothing there.

11) Why didn’t Belle just say she’d be back?

She didn’t know if she was coming back or not. Her father was very sick and might need some help recovering, after all. She wasn’t just going to dump him at home and say, “Bye! Off to shag an animal!”

12) How did these people not know there was a cursed monster within walking distance?

Because the castle had shut down all communication with the outside world per the Beast’s orders. Nobody in or out. As far as they were aware that was just a few less taxes they had to pay. “A monster took over the old villa!” is pretty understandable logic.

2013 animated Oscar winners   Leave a comment

So, weird thing, right? I tried to update my blog on Sunday, and for some reason, it wouldn’t load. I’m convinced there was too much Oscar traffic. Do people liveblog on wordpress? Do they I thought that was what Twitter was for! So anyway I did my taxes so I can apply for FAFSA.

I'm not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

I’m not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

My philosophy about the whole of Sunday can probably be best summed up by this video:

Well not really. I was also paying attention to the Oscar results. Well, the Oscar results that mattered.

brave
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HELL YES BRAVE WON. I know, I know, I know Wreck-It Ralph won the Annies. Both movies feature sumptious scenery, and the characters both grow and change to find that their chosen place in society is where they actually belong. And they learn to find happiness and acceptance there. So I guess they’re kind of the same movie? But really, when has the Academy not voted for Pixar? Other than 2001 and 2006? (wait, seriously, Shrek beat Monsters, Inc.?)

Also I feel like that’s a really awkward shot. Mostly because Angus is so gigantic and That Triplet There is so tiny.

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!


Same Source really

The real drama, to me, is in the animated shorts. Some people might disagree with that. Also, some people probably disagree with me in general about who should have won.

I’ve actually seen all the Oscar nominated shorts — all of them. On Sunday 10 my twin sister, her boyfriend, and I went to go see them. It was in celebration of my twin and my’s twenty-sixth birthday.

The nominated shorts were, in order that we were shown them- (all pictures are courtesty of Oscar.com)

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare- which had the feeling of an also-ran.

nothingspecial

Although it featured classic Simpsons characters, it didn’t have classic Simpsons gags. Instead, it was just trying to save a butterfly from the Unibrow Baby. It had a few cute gags, but the 3D CGI was really awkward (especially in crowd shots, such as when Maggie was trying desperately to get to the window). The Simpsons has occasional shorts in the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, but they tend to be parodies. This one has a nod towards its Objectionist-mocking roots in its establishing shots (see the picture above), but then a dull plot.

Fresh Guacamole- which also has the feeling of an also-ran.

fresh guacamole

This one is just so creative, featuring visual puns and a zesty plot. It felt worth a nomination, but not a win, you know? It was short and adorable and it made me laugh. It just didn’t feel like an Oscar winner, I guess.

Adam and Dog- which I thought was going to win

adamanddog

I thought this was a surefire win. It was so obvious that I thought it couldn’t, because that would be too easy. The art is gorgeous. It has the feel of a series of paintings with just a few pieces of animation in there. The dog really moves like a dog. You can feel the dog’s energy. There’s a certain feel to this movie, and the dog moves too fast for it, and the man moves too slow for it. You can feel the connection there.

justwantedsomeonetoplaywith

Head Over Heels- I thought was going to be a come-from-behind winner.

headoverheels

“If Adam and Dog isn’t going to win,” I thought, “Then surely Head Over Heels will.” Maybe it’s just because I have a soft spot for claymation, or maybe because this is such an unusual story, about such an unusual period in life. It’s a visual metaphor for a married couple late in life, where they’re so settled into their routine and each other that they take each other for granted. They have their own space and they’re really comfortable, but there’s a separation, you know? And you have to reach out to that person — but they might not even know you’re doing it.

Or it’s about a couple whose gravity is completely whacky and the silly/depressing reality of that situation. In either case, a really good story with nice visuals.

Paperman- it’s not that I hate it, but…

paperman

This movie is actually really cute. It does deserve love. Did it deserve to win? It doesn’t cover the same interesting ground that Adam and Dog or Head Over Heels does. There is something very really about the characters. The 3D is much more ground and real than in The Longest Daycare. It tells its story simply and visually. It makes you laugh in the right places, gasp in the right places. You want George and Meg to get together. You can immediately feel the world it shows. It is a very animation short. It’s just that Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels were better! That’s all it is, really. Paperman was interesting to look at; Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels more so. Head Over Heels had a deeper and more ambiguous love story. They were just better, that’s all.

The Mediocre Mouse Detective (ahaha I’m so clever)   4 comments

The Great Mouse Detective was released by Walt Disney Productions in 1986, a year before I was born. Fortunately my childhood was spent in the heyday of VHS, so before every movie I watched at home, I got to see this trailer. So growing up, I saw this trailer and thought that I wanted to see it. But I never have. For 25 (almost 26!) years now, I have been wanting to see this film, and I finally got a chance to watch it.

Here is what I learned: all the good parts of this movie are in this trailer. I had already seen the good parts. Over. And over. And over again.

Basil, the Sherlockian mouse, isn’t really a detective so much as a forensic scientist. Well, that didn’t really disappoint me. It was cute. They tried to make it cute. And…I think that’s where they failed? They tried so, so hard to make this a good movie, a movie anything other than mediocre.


“This is Art,” they 1980s animators are desperately trying to say. “Animation is good and can be taken seriously by anyone!” I’m not hating on the animation. Did you see that bit where they’re running from the giant wheel…bell…thing? It’s from that scene where Our Heroes are hunting for clues in the toy store. Certainly the issues aren’t with the animation — the animation is bouncy, fun, and tip-top. Characters are put in dynamic poses, always moving, always suited for their characters. The actors do a good job with the material they’re given. The problem, I think, is with the scriptwriters.


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Here are our Heroes. I normally start out by introducing these guys, don’t I? The movie is based on a children’s book series, Basil of Baker Street, which is about the Sherlock Holmes of Victorian London. In that vein, these characters fit the Sherlockian tropes just fine. Basil (Holmes), Olivia (client), and Dawson (Watson). Notice that Basil is long and lean, and leaning back on his knees, bent forward slightly, in a dynamic pose. You can almost imagine that he is shifting his weight back and forth, full of energy. Dawson, by contrast, is short and round. His stomach takes up most of his body. His limbs are shortened severely. He has hardly anything in the way of a snout, resembling more of a friendly, kindly human face. He has little in the way of body posture, and yet he oozes geniality. Olivia in the middle is the archetypal child character, a central character entirely to pull children into the movie (she spends much of the movie playing with a big friendly dog). She, too, has reduced mouse features; her eyes are even larger than the adult’s, and she’s in the middle of a turn. Clearly meant to be adorable. (By the way, Dawson for Watson? Really?)

Olivia’s father is kidnapped, and she wants Basil to help find her father. To make a long story short, this leads Basil and Dawson to uncover a plot where Professor Ratigan is going to replace the Queen of Mouse England with an automaton. And here’s my first issue: two-thirds of the movie is taken up with trying to hide this plot, as if this plot would be a shocking twist. And it kind of is, because the announcement of this plan is the first time we hear about the existence of Queen Mousetoria (yes, really). This can be pretty fitting. The audience’s surprise can match the character’s surprise, and help the audience feel more involved with the story.


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Actually my issue with the plot is this: that is not a big enough plot. The idea of the plot is well-executed, with the stealing of uniforms and the need for gears for an automaton. The foundation is there. The idea has just been done dozens of times before. And it’s done on such a small scale — Ratigan switches out two guards with his own. Only two! What happened to the other uniforms the weird bat-dude stole? You could say that the other guards were switched out, too, but how come we don’t see them when the guard turns on Ratigan? Certainly Ratigan would have been more impressive with an army of guards backing him up, rather than just looking like this:


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And just expecting everyone to just go by the Queen announcing that he’s in charge. Ratigan walks in with the authority of only a single person’s single statement, then announces that he will get rid of every old, sick, and child person in the country (“Item 96: A heavy tax shall be levied against all parasites and spongers, such as the elderly, the infirm, and especially little children”). Which doesn’t work: the crowd is ready to throttle him before Basil shows up to save the day.

Moriarty, Ratigan’s inspiration, is scary because he works behind the scenes, orchestrating small schemes to work out his larger, better scheme. There’s no series of small schemes leading to a bigger one. Olivia’s case leads straight to Ratigan, which leads straight to the Queen of Mouse England. The scale of Ratigan’s operations are more on par with a small-time thug.

I had hopes for this plan, I really did. The plot really takes off when Fidget the bat-minion:


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loses his errand list, revealing that Ratigan’s plan and also Ratigan’s location (through forensic magic).


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At first Ratigan intends to feed the bat to his cat as punishment for losing the list, but changes his mind when he realizes he can use this opportunity. The wording of this scene leads one to believe that he is going to trick Basil into somehow helping him take over England, but no. He instead locks Basil and Dawson into an easily-escapable death machine that takes a while to go off, then says “tootles!” and scoots out the door.


Seriously, Basil, you can just scootch your butt a bit and you’re free.
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So we wandered away from the plot for no reason other than to buy time for the whole of England to against Ratigan?

The whole villainous plot is thoroughly disappointing. The final climax, in the Tower of Big Ben, is fantastic and worth the price of a monthly subscription to Netflix Instant. The problem is, that scene has very little dialogue. It allows the animators to go nuts on the story-telling, really involving the audience as you become scared for the characters. Ratigan loses any resemblance to Moriarty and instead becomes a pseudo-Gaston.


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In that way, I can see how this movie helped spur the Animation Renaissance that has lead to the assortment of available features today. The animation did it though. Not the writing, not the characterization.


Let the art do the talking
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Posted December 31, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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Always in the way/ I can never play/ My own mama would never say/ I’m always in the way   1 comment

Yes I know we watched this in animation class last semester. I don’t care. I wanted to see Cab Calloway do some kickballs.

This is Max Fleischer’s Snow White, with Betty Boop as the man character. I like Max Fleischer’s stuff. It really feels like animation, you know? You get the sense that every frame of that was drawn. I was just amazed at the stepmother’s mirror. Who comes up with that? One second she’s sticking her head through it, then suddenly it has its own sentient, corporal face of its own. Then it’s a shovel, and then she can fit her whole body through it to transform her appearance. It’s just pure brilliance. You don’t see that in mainstream animation these days. Betty Boop was mainstream! It was mainstream before mainstream was cool. Then the Hayes Code, blah blah blah…

I wasn’t really a fan of the song, though.

I want to see my stepmama, stepmama, stepmama
I want to see my stepmama–

–Her stepmama the queen!

Really? There’s no other way to establish that the evil queen is Betty Boop’s stepmother, other than straight-up telling the audience?

Also, how was Betty Boop a sex symbol? She lacks both a nose and a neck. I have been told, by informed sources, that women with necks are generally preferred.

Mmmmm, I like it when a woman’s mouth comes right out of her collarbone.

Posted October 16, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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A Modern Cinderella   Leave a comment

So my swing club has a favorite dance hall, and they’re having an anniversary party. At first I thought I shouldn’t go — I have three papers due in the next week.

Then I remembered that one of my papers is on the folklore of neo-swing dance, so I told myself that it was “research” and decided to go. But!

Stepmother: Well, I see no reason why you can’t go… if you get all your work done.
Cinderella: Oh, I will. I promise.
Stepmother: And, if you can find something suitable to wear.
Cinderella: I’m sure I can. Oh, thank you, Stepmother.
[she exits]
Drizella: Mother, do you realize what you just said?
Stepmother: Of course. I said, “If.”

Obviously a crucial part of the scheme was buying a ticket to go to the party. But what if, for some insane reason, the website wouldn’t accept my card, despite the fact that there was plenty of money on the card?

But we all have our own little fairy godmothers, and so I managed to find a way to get to the ball. Despite the fact that I bare an odd resemblance to Drizella.