Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wall-E review

WALL-E (2008)
Director - Andrew Stanton


Plot summary / review:

700 years in the future, Earth has become a dusty wasteland, full of garbage and trash left behind by it's human inhabitants. The only organic life left is a cockroach, but something else is busy at work roaming the derelict streets. Wall-E, short for Waste Allocator Load Lifter - Earth-class, is the last remaining solar powered garbage collector made by the corporate company responsible for the mess, Buy 'N' Large Inc.

2) Cleaning Up

Working tirelessly day after day, Wall-E gathers the rubbish and compresses it into cubes in his "stomach". He neatly stacks them into towering skyscrapers, collecting interesting artefact's (including a rubix cube and lighters etc) along the way. "The heart of the film, and the source of its most inspired, bewitching scenes, is its first half hour. There's no dialogue, just a series of bleeps, whirrs and squeaks - like a cross between the Smash potato robots and a soundtrack hatched up by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. WALL·E gently motors across a parched earth full of faded street signs and collapsed buildings, heat and pollution, rendering the atmosphere dust-caked and poisonous red."  (Sandhu. 2008). 

700 years of work and isolation has had an affect on Wall-E's circuits. He's craves companionship and love to sustain his lonely existence. Every night he watches "Hello Dolly" on VHS tape and dreams of holding a loved ones hand. One day, when returning to his abode from work, a spaceship bursts through the atmosphere and leaves a sleek, Ipod inspired robot, EVE (Extraterrestial Vegetation Evaluator). Her mission is to scour the planet for signs of plant life, proving Earth is once again sustainable. Wall-E is captivated by EVE and humorously tries to pursue her. Fixated on her directive, EVE at first, ignores him and gets to work. Saving EVE from an dust storm, Wall-E takes her back to his makeshift home where EVE stumbles upon a plant Wall-E found amongst the rubble and keeps in an old shoe.

3) Wall-E and EVE

Discovering the vegetation, EVE's automatic system stores the plant in her stomach compartment and shuts her down to await pickup. Determined not to lose his new found love, Wall-E scrambles aboard the pickup ship in pursuit of EVE and is whisked into outer space. The ship takes them to the Axiom, a hotel like space ship, housing the evacuated humans. Over the years they have devolved into obese, baby-like characters dependent on technology. "...the clever whimsy begins to sour the moment the film scrambles on board the Axiom (the pompous name of the human space ark). Our metal heroes fall foul of a rogue computer with delusions of grandeur, and the story turns into a rather predictable robots-in-peril adventure." (Christopher. 2008).

4) Devolved humans

This is not to say the weak third act is without it's moments. The ships co-pilot jettisons Wall-E and the plant to get rid of the evidence and keep the humans in space. Wall-E and EVE engage in a hypnotic, majestic space dance back to the ship that captivates the audience and the robots growing love. Combined with the great visual reach of the opening and middle act and huge family appeal , Wall-E is firmly up there in a growing list of Pixar classics. "WALL•E plays without safety nets or spoon-feeding; it reinvents the delicate, potent behavioral language of silent-film comedy, of the Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin films." (Corliss. 2008).

5) Space dance

Bibliography

Christopher, James. 17th July 2008 The Times review
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article4345499.ece

Corliss, Richard. 12 June 2008 Time magazine review
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1813964-2,00.html

Sandhu, Sukhdev 18th July 2008 Daily Telegraph review
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/3556627/Film-review-WALLE.html#

Illustrations

1) Wall-E poster http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-C_ejcKBFWo/Rv1gawUGlSI/AAAAAAAABLY/6xbJnk1g82A/s400/Wall-E%2BPoster.jpg Accessed 30/03/11

2) Cleaning Up http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2008/06/02/wall-e-cooler.jpg Accessed 30/03/11

3) Wall-E and Eve http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_azOpGTHS0hY/S_3ENojwPGI/AAAAAAAAASc/Y9AeWOSaHn4/s1600/walle-n-eve.jpg

4) Humans http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uyDxyMKUviU/TX5j8Ty0FTI/AAAAAAAABtg/wxhrJ9gEnxE/s320/WALL-E-humans_320.jpg

5) Space dance http://wodumedia.com/wp-content/uploads/Even-and-WALL•E-do-a-space-dance-528x271.png



Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Illusionist (2010) movie review

The Illusionist (2010)
Director: Sylvain Chomet

1) The Illusionist poster

Plot summary / review:

Based on an un-produced script by Jacques Tati, Director Sylvain Chomet had to beg Tati's extended family for permission to adapt it into his 2010 release The Illusionist. Chomet based the main character Monsieur Tatischeff on Jacques Tati himself and relocated the story to Britain. "The result is utterly distinctive and beguiling, with its own language and grammar of innocence: gentle, affectionate, whimsical, but deeply felt and with an arrowhead of emotional pain." (Bradshaw. 2010).


In the 1950's, Monsieur Tatischeff is a dying breed of entertainer. Moving around France and performing exquisite, but antique magic tricks, he is struggling for work. His audience is increasingly consisting of screaming girls only there to see cheesy rock bands. "He’s a good magician on a small scale, flawless at every trick, except producing a rabbit from a hat." (Ebert. 2011).


2) Dying audience

In the pursuit of work, Tatischeff travels to Britain to perform on any stage he can. He works his way up to the Scottish Isles, reduced to performing in a Pub for local people celebrating the fact they have just got electricity. A cleaning girl at the pub called Alice is mystified by his magic tricks, and through an act of kindness, Tatischeff buys her a new pair shoes. He extravagantly presents them to her with slight of hand, Alice becomes convinced he can magic anything she wants into existence. So much so that she follows him to Edinburgh, stowing away on his ferry trip.

The pair form an unlikely companionship, checking into a hotel frequented by fading circus acts. Tattischeff continues to perform locally, while Alice upkeeps the room. It is here that the movie begins to take it's stride, replicating Edinburgh lovingly down to the minutest detail . "Every frame looks like a delicate water-colour - the city’s buildings, alleyways, hills, spectacular views - even its 1950s buses - are realised in gorgeous detail." (Gritten. 2010).  The images are so enthralling the audience falls in love with town's splendor with the characters.

3) Tattischeff, Alice and Edinburgh


Keeping up the illusion for Alice, Tattischeff continues to surprise her with new gifts, stretching him financially. However as they both mature and the illusion begins to fade, Tattischeff reaches the lowest of the low, performing in a shop window to advertise it's products. As Alice's attentions are elsewhere with her new love interest, he realizes he has become truly obsolete. Emotionally,  he sets free his co-star rabbit into the Scottish highlands, seamlessly blended 3D and 2D animation. "...when Chomet's animated "camera" takes off for a swirling, overhead shot of a lovingly realized Edinburgh, the effect is dashing, breathtaking, even weirdly moving.  (Bradshaw. 2010).  He leaves Alice with a poignant message and flowers in the hotel room, stating "Magicians do not exist.". On the train out of Edinburgh, Tattischeff tantalizingly looks at a photo of a likely child relative, possibly a metaphor of Jacque Tati's own personal family life.

4) Leaving Alice.

Bibliography

Bradshaw, Peter. 19th August 2010 Guardian review
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/aug/19/the-illusionist-review

Ebert, Roger. 12th January 2011 Chicago Suntimes review
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110112/REVIEWS/110119994

Gritten, David. 16th June 2010 Daily Telegraph review
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/7833426/Edinburgh-Film-Festival-The-Illusionist-review.html

Illustrations

1) The Illusionist Poster http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_L1GecxZqcCM/TU-v-bAw-5I/AAAAAAAAAP8/2NJgho2CljQ/s1600/theillusionist.jpg Accessed 29/03/11

2) Struggling Magician http://movieevangelist.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/the-illusionist.jpg

3) Illusionist, Alice and Edinburgh http://veryaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/the-illusionist-2010-image-2.jpg

4) Leaving Alice http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g345/dreamy_stardust/original.jpg






Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bill Plympton review

Bill Plympton

Bio:
Born: 30th April 1946 Portland, Oregon, USA.

1) Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton attended Portland State University in 1964 before transferring to New Yorks School of Visual Arts in 1968. He first became aware of animation at the age of four or five, when he first saw Daffy Duck. He would religiously watch Walt Disney Presents every Sunday night and became a card carrying member of the Mickey Mouse Club. After graduating from college, the animation studio system was almost gone and very little opportunities in animation were available. He spent the next 15 years as a political and gag cartoonist, his work appearing in; The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse and National Lampoon. 

After a series of successful shorts, Plympton produced Your Face (1987), an Oscar nominated animation about a man in a chair crooning about the face of his lover. As he sings, his own face begins to distort in various different ways.

2) Your Face

Your Face launched Plympton's animation career and set his signature style of loose, sketchy drawings primarily coloured in pencil. It would also establish a running theme of ordinary, plain characters being exaggerated by the excesses of the things they do, or that happen to them. "Often character designers say because it is a cartoon, you have got to make a character 'goofy'; you have got to give him a big nose and big ears and bulging eyeballs and buck teeth, and I go totally the opposite way; I think that the character should be extremely bland; really normal; sort of non-descript in his characteristics because when something weird happens to him, when he's excited, or when he freaks out, there is a real contrast. And that's the secret of good animation - the movement between something that is sedate to something that is extreme". (Plympton quote. Wells. 2006:45)

This style continued with his other shorts How to Kiss (1989), and 25 Ways to Quit Smoking (1989). Both depicting average people doing normal things with humorous consequences. "Plympton's unique-style, in which he sees the sense of the ridiculous in everyday life...". "His animations are all done by hand, and he uses only four to six drawings per second, less than a Saturday-morning series. Disney style animation requires 12 to 24 drawings per second." (Beck 2004:278).


3) 25 Ways to Quit Smoking

4) How to Kiss


In 1992, Plympton almost single handedly animated his first feature The Tune. The feature follows Del, a songwriter desperately trying to finish a song and deliver it to his unpleasant boss Mr. Mega. On the way to his office, Del gets lost and winds up in Flooby Nooby, along the way meeting a wiseman, and Elvis impersonating dog and a noseless cab driver. "If the basic story of "The Tune" is almost too simple to bother relating, Mr. Plympton, one of the country's most admired creators of animated shorts, has fleshed it out with a continually inventive and witty series of tangents. Animated with 30,000 ink and watercolor drawings, the movie effuses a jaunty surrealistic magic of a sort that the folks at Disney, with all their resources, have probably never even thought of." (Holden 1992.)

5) The Tune

Plympton continues to animate over a range of media, lending his unique style to Kanye Wests' music video "Heard 'Em Say" (2005) and "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Don't Download this Song" (2006), as well as shorts and feature length animations.

Raymond Brigg's review

Raymond Brigg's

Bio:
Born: 18th January 1934 Wimbledon, London, England.
Birth name: Raymond Redvers Briggs

1) Raymond Briggs

Born to working class parents, Ethel and Ernest, Raymond Briggs studied painting at the Wimbledon School of Arts and typography at the Central School of Art. After completing two years of National Service, he returned to further his studies with the Slade School of fine art, graduating in 1957. He became a professional  illustrator and began to become popular from various cartoon strips and comics. 

In 1982 Channel 4 was launched and Paul Madden was appointed as animation consultant. Their decision to commission programs from outside deemed more profitable than making their own. One of their first productions was an adaptation of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman (1982), where a young boy and his beloved snowman fly to the north pole to meet Father Christmas. Staying true to his wordless story, "The animators who worked on The Snowman retained the soft crayoned look of Raymond Briggs' original illustrations. It was nominated for an Oscar and won the BAFTA for best children's film 1983. It has become one of the studio's best-loved films." (Beck. 2004:282.) One that has been repeated for every subsequent Christmas.

2) The Snowman

The success of The Snowman meant Paul Maddon could finance other young animators, including the Quay brothers. Briggs' next involvement would be the poignant tale of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, middle class senior citizens trying to avoid nuclear fallout in "When the Wind Blows" (1986).  "James and Hilda Bloggs are a most unlikely hero and heroine, and ''When the Wind Blows'' is a most unlikely entertainment. Here is an animated film (with live-action inserts) about the end of civilization, a subject much beloved by the makers of dreary, numbingly arty cartoons shown at film festivals." (Canvy. 1988).

3) When the Wind Blows
Briggs continued to produce books and teach illustration at the Brighton School of art until 1986. In 1991 he introduced a grumpy Santa in Father Christmas and later was recognized in 1993 by achieving the Childrens Author of the Year by the British Book Awards. He resides in Westmeston, Sussex and continues to write and illustrate books.

Bibliography

Beck, Jerry (2004). Animation Art From Pencil to pixel, the histroy of Cartoon, Anime and CGI. London, Flame Tree Publishing.

Canby, Vincent. New York Times review When the Wind Blows 11th March 1988
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=940DEFDC103FF932A25750C0A96E948260 Accessed 29/03/11

Illustrations

1) Raymond Briggs picture http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/BOOKS/Pix/pictures/2010/12/1/1291199607475/Raymond-Briggs-and-Father-005.jpg Accessed 29/03/11

2) The Snowman http://www.manchestereventsguide.co.uk/img/full/pop/snowman%20front.jpg Accessed 29/03/11

3) When the Wind Blows http://flickfeast.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/when-the-wind.jpg Accessed 29/03/11

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Quay Brothers review

The Quay Brothers

Bio:
Born: 17th June 1947 Norristown, Pennsylvania

1) Stephen and Timothy Quay

Twin borther's Stephen and Timothy Quay initially studied illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art before moving to London to take a course at the Royal College of Art (RCA).  They began experimenting with animation, creating their first short Nocturna Artificilia (1979). Shortly after Nocturna they established their studio Koninck with their friend and collaborator Keith Griffiths who they met at the RCA. Nocturna Artificilia depicts a man staring from a window, mesmerized by a trolley car passing through a city at night. He is then seen back in his room, abruptly woken falling from his chair. The film would become a blueprint of subsequent films: sets dominated by darkness; bizarre, unexplained nightmarish happenings all filmed with odd camera angles.

2) Nocturna Artificilia

The Quays work is heavily influenced by Eastern European Cinema, rekindling the Gothic screenplays of the 1930's,  particularly the work of Jan Svankmajer. Holding Svankmajer in high regard they paid homage to him with a documentary The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer - Prague's Alchemist of Film (1984). They went onto to produce perhaps their most famous work Street of Crocodiles (1986) based on a story by Bruno Schulz and financed by the British Film Institute (BFI). It follows an elderly museum watchman who's saliva drops on a kinescope machine, bringing it to life and in turn a puppet that severs its strings and investigates the Street of Crocodiles. The puppet explores gothic rooms through eerie doors leading to a sweatshop where he is taken apart, redesigned and reclothed. "The world invented by the Quay brothers for Crocodiles was the colour of an old photograph; sepia, dirty, dark yellow, and brown. It seemed as if it was a locked room or glass cabinet that nobody had opened for years - dusty and cobwebby, almost a mystical land." (Beck. 2004:285).

3) Street of Crocodiles

The twins' miniature sets and backgrounds are as carefully considered as the characters they portray. "We ask our machines and objects to act as much if not more than the puppets." (Faber / Walters. 2004:76). The skills they acquired in building miniature scenes were transferred to designing theater and opera sets for which they were nominated for a Tony Award. On the lighter side they broadened their skills to music videos and pop promo's, most notably animating objects in Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer video in 1986

4) Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer

The brothers moved into live-action, feature length film Directing The Institute Benjamenta (1995) before returning to animation with the award winning In Absentia (2000). The film takes the viewer inside the mind of a patient in an asylum who compulsively writes letters to her absent husband. Collaborating with avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the brothers attempted to capture the essence psychosis through hazy, diffused light and it's reflections on surfaces. "This is brilliantly achieved, creating one of their most unusual and singularly disturbing films not through any conventional imagery, but through the lighting and the subliminal tension evoked through tensed blackened graphite-dusted fingers gripping pencils and hands grasping at the woman’s neck. It’s assisted considerably in this respect by the almost demonic soundscape created by Stockhausen." (Megahey. 2006).

5) In Absentia


Bibliography

Beck, Jerry (2004). Animation Art From Pencil to pixel, the histroy of Cartoon, Anime and CGI. London, Flame Tree Publishing.

Faber, Liz and Walters, Helen. (2004) Animation Unlimited, Innovative Short films since 1940. London, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Megahey, Noel. (2006) Digital Fix online DVD review The Quay Brothers: The Short Films 1979 - 2003
http://homecinema.thedigitalfix.co.uk/content.php?contentid=63327 Accessed 26/03/11

Illustrations

1) Stephen and Timothy Quay http://gordonandthewhale.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/QuayBrothers-450x339.jpg Accessed 26/03/11

2) Nocturnia Artificialia http://mmimageslarge.moviemail-online.co.uk/18424_QuayBrothers-6.JPG Accessed 26/03/11

3) Street of Crocodiles http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://verdoux.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/street-of-crocodiles-1.jpg Accessed 26/03/11

4) Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer music video still - http://www.videoville.org/wiki/images/thumb/4/44/Petergabriel_sledgehammer1.jpg/400px-Petergabriel_sledgehammer1.jpg Accessed 26/03/11

5) In Absentia http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/protectedimage.php?image=NoelMegahey/quaybrothers3.jpg Accessed 26/03/11


Friday, 25 March 2011

Lascivious Broom Walk cycle

I'm taking baby steps in 2D animation, but my Lascivious broom is starting to strut his stuff....

Thursday, 24 March 2011

2D human walk cycle

I decided to borrow my character 'Glen the co-pilot' from my last project 'Gnarled' to do this walk cycle exercise. Turned out better than I thought...

Jan Svankmajer review

Jan Svankmajer

Bio:
Born: 4th September 1934 Prague, Czechoslovakia

1) Jan Svankmajer

Jan Svankmajer is an influential surrealist animator, artist and filmmaker from Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was first introduced to animation when he was given a puppet theatre for Christmas 1942. Studying at DAMU (Prague Academy for performing Arts), he specialized in puppetry, direction and set design. Here he gained a particular interest in Soviet avant-garde theatre and film. "Meyerhold and Tairov were my heroes, together with (Sergei) Eisenstein and (Dziga) Vertov." (Svankmajer quote. Walters/Faber. 2004:100). Svankmajer's graduation film used a combination of puppets, live actors and actors dressed as puppets, a technique he would later use in his film The Last Trick, (1964).

2) The Last Trick

In 1960, Svankmajer founded the Theatre of Masks and during it's first production, met his future wife Eva, an internationally respected surrealist painter. A pivotal encounter in his life, Svankmajer himself became an official member of the Czech Surrealist group in 1970. However, following the release of his 1972 film Leonardo's Diary, Svankmajer was banned from making films for seven years for featuring unauthorized portrayals of everyday life in Czechoslovakia. 

3) Leonardo's Diary

Svankmajer continued to draw, paint, sculpt and write in his seven year hiatus, working as a special-effects designer at the Barrandov Film Studio creating title sequences for various films. Permitted to make films in 1979, he ran into trouble with again with his multi award winning short Dimensions of a Dialogue (1982). The short comprises of three segments: "Exhaustive Discussion" depicts heads made from inanimate objects devouring each other to bland copies. "Passionate Discourse" shows a clay man and women dissolving into one another sexually, reducing to a boiling pulp. "Factual Conversation" portrays two clay men head's, extruding toothbrushes, shoelaces and other objects from their tongues, intertwining them into various other combinations. The film was banned in Czechoslovakia and shown to the Central Committee Communist Party as an example of the kind of film that should not be made.

4) Dimensions of a Dialogue: Exhaustive Discussion

5) Dimensions of a Dialogue: Passionate Discourse

6) Dimensions of a Dialogue: Factual Conversation

Svankmajer continues to produce short and feature length films as well as pop videos. He founded the Athanor film studio in 1991 and was awarded the lifetime achievement award at the World Film Festival of Animated films in Zagreb, Croatia in 2000. His adopted conceptual premise to his films and animations produce highly original outcomes. "...his use of surreal images drawn from the unconscious to prompt moments of fear and revelation in his audience - are conceptual applications to the medium and should be understood as a methodology in the creation of distinctive imagery and alternative narratives." (Wells. 2006:102).

Throughout his career, Svankmajer has mastered a range of media using surrealism to put a unique spin on his films. His work has had a huge influence over many artists, animators and film makers including the Brothers Quay, Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. "Although certainly not the only experimental or even surrealist filmmaker working in animation, ┼ávankmajer’s take on surrealism is quite a unique one, relying on a common and quite easily identifiable set of objects and themes, but drawing on a remarkable range of techniques that include drawing, puppetry, stop-motion animation, claymation, cut-out animation as well as even live-action to explore the objects and the relationship they have with people as thoroughly as possible." (Megahey. 2007.)

Bibliography

Faber, Liz and Walters, Helen. (2004) Animation Unlimited, Innovative Short films since 1940. London, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Wells, Paul (2006). The Fundamentals of Animation. Switzerland, AVA Publishing.

Megahey, Noel. 19th June 2007 review of Jan Svankmajer: The complete short films (1964 - 1992)
homecinema.thedigitalfix.co.uk Accessed 24/03/11

Illustrations

1) Jan Svankmajer http://www.jansvankmajer.com/bio.htm Accessed 24/03/11

2) The Last Trick http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/protectedimage.php%3Fimage%3DNoelMegahey/svk_lasttrick2.jpg Accessed 24/03/11

3) Leonardo's Diary http://img129.imageshack.us/img129/264/bscap0001mo8.jpg Accessed 24/03/11

4) Dimensions of a Dialogue: Exhaustive Discussion http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/protectedimage.php%3Fimage%3DNoelMegahey/svk_dimensionsofdialogue1.jpg Accessed 24/03/11

5) Dimensios of a Dialogue: Passionate Discourse http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/protectedimage.php%3Fimage%3DNoelMegahey/svk_dimensionsofdialogue2.jpg Accessed 24/03/11

6) Dimensions of a Dialogue: Factual Conversation
http://www.kratkyfilm.cz/catalogue/images/small/178.jpg Accessed 24/03/11






Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Lascivious Broom animatic

I feel this animatic needs alot more work, in terms of perspective, character design and environment detail. However, I can use it for timing issues when I came to produce the actual animation.

The Lascivious Broom storyboard





Draft Script and story development

UNIT 5 IOR

Lascivious Broom draft script

2D animation camera exercise

Meg's Exercises

For this exercise we took it in turns to pose for 1 minute doing an interesting action, we had to draw theheir basic shapes and outlines without looking at the paper.




Models performed a movement, pausing for key frames, we were then given 20 seconds to draw basic outlines and shapes based on key poses. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Ladislaw Starewizc review

Ladislaw Starewicz

Bio:
Born: 6th August 1882 Moscow, Russia
Died: 28th February 1965 Fontenay-sous-Bois, Seine, France

1) Ladislaw Starewicz

Born in Moscow, Russia to Polish parents, Ladislaw Starewicz started his career making documentaries for an ethnographic museum including an animated reconstruction of Stag Beetles nocturnal mating rituals called Battle of the Stag-Beetles (1910). For this feature he used preserved specimens and wax to animate their limbs frame by frame. He would later develop a standard method of making puppets using wooden frames, wire, cork and plaster. One of his early masterpieces, The Cameraman's revenge (1912), a comedy that tells the expressive love affair between Mr and Mrs Beetle.

2) The Camerman's revenge

The history of stop motion animation has derived from two distinct paths. Starewizc was at the forefront of the European initiative. "...European artists' films, typified by the work of Jiri Trnka and Ladislaw Starewicz, and creative programming for children's television, exemplified by Aardman's The Amazing Adventures of Morph (1981)." (Selby. 2009:100). Whereas Hollywood, America used it to create maximum impact on their audience special-effects films. Likewise Starewicz's animal characters were a complete contradiction to America's quirky, loveable animal characters such as Mickey Mouse and Bug's Bunny. "Starewicz's work corresponds to the darker, amoral universe of the European fairy tale, and uses animals as highly conscious, dramatic characters, often with complex motives, again a far cry from the use of animals in the American cartoon tradition." (Wells. 2006:100). Fleeing to France in 1919 following the Russian Revolution, Starewicz's career flourished in the silent era with poetic films such as The Voice of the Nightingale (1923) and Reynard the Fox (1930).

3) Voice of the Nightingale


Starewicz made the transition to sound with his film The Mascot (1933). The story revolves around a stuffed dog who sneaks out to get his sick mistress an orange. Along the way he encounters a range of characterful individuals including fish skeletons and other creatures made from litter and the devil himself. The range of emotions in the puppets is remarkable for it's time and enhanced by the addition of musical sounds for sound effects.

4) The Mascot

Starewizc continued to make films for the remainder of his life in collaboration with his daughter Irene, dying during the making of his last film, Like Dog and Cat (1965). His later films unfortunately failed to replicate the magic of his silent and early sound features. However, his pioneering work progressed stop motion animation on both sides of the Atlantic, inspiring the works of other greats such as Ray Harryhausen. "He holds a place in puppet animation comparable to Winsor McCay's place in drawn animation. With his early films, he essentially established the art of stop-motion animation, taking it beyond the realm of the early French trickfilms." (Beck. 2004:84).

Bibliography

Beck, Jerry (2004). Animation Art From Pencil to pixel, the histroy of Cartoon, Anime and CGI. London, Flame Tree Publishing.

Selby, Andrew (2009). Animation in Process. London, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Wells, Paul (2006). The Fundamentals of Animation. Switzerland, AVA Publishing.

Illustrations

1) Ladislaw Starewicz Picture http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_cujVYJR9OM8/S_YvuDmY6jI/AAAAAAAAAEQ/-Y4t9EHmpj0/s1600/ladislaw.jpg Accessed 21/03/11

2) The Cameraman's Revenge http://img.listal.com/image/893426/936full-the-cameraman%27s-revenge-poster.jpg Accessed 21/03/11

3) Voice of the Nightingale http://media.kickstatic.com/kickapps/images/66470/photos/PHOTO_9454518_66470_18660554_main.jpgAccessed 21/03/11

4) The Mascot http://media.kickstatic.com/kickapps/images/66470/photos/PHOTO_9454514_66470_18660554_main.jpgAccessed 21/03/11







Walt Disney review

Walt Disney

Bio
Born: 5th December 1901 Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: 15th December 1966 Burbank, California, USA

Birth Name: Walter Elias Disney



1)Walt Disney

" "I hope we never lose sight of one thing." Walt Disney would later say. "It all started with a mouse". In truth, however, years before Mickey, the animation pioneer was already producing successful silent cartoons." (Beck. 2004:20). It actually all started with a cat called Julius, a reoccurring character in Disney's "Alice's" cartoon newsreels produced for Frank L. Newmans theater chain in 1921 - 1922. Disney's first company name was called Laugh-O-Gram Studio's and the Alice films proved successful and showed early signs of Disney's pioneering nature, breaking new ground combining animation and live action. "Unlike cartoon fairy tales, the Alice comedies were more innovative, placing youngster Virgina Davis into a cartoon world...." (Beck. 2004:20).

2) Alice Film Poster

Unfortunately for Disney the distributors of the Alice films, Pictorial Clubs Distribution firm, went bankrupt and took Laugh-O-Gram Studio's with it. However, Alice's Wonderland, the final reel made before shutdown secured a deal with Felix the Cat's distributor Margaret Winkler, wife of Charles Mintz. Walt relocated his team and started again in Hollywood. By 1927, the Alice series had run it's course and a new series was created starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Universal Pictures owned the character, Mintz was the producer and Disney the ran the production house. The series was a hit, the team grew and the animation got better and better. In February 1928 Disney went to meet Mintz in New York to negotiate better salaries for his studio and team. Mintz replied that Disney would take a cut in pay, or his top animators would work directly for Mintz producing Oswald's adventures. This turned out to be true, aside from a handful of animators, the majority had agreed to the deal in secret.


3) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Disney took the handful of animators loyal to him and decided to create a new character. Where he had lost a rabbit, he gained a mouse. It is rumoured that his wife Lillian named him Mickey instead of Mortimer and that Disney created him on the train home from Mint'z office. Mickey was quickly implemented, staring in Plane Crazy and Gallopin' Gaucho both made in 1928 but without the backing of a major distributor. What finally made the difference was sound. Although he was not the first make an animated feature with sound, he was the first to animate an entire one-reel cartoon story fully sound synchronized.... Steamboat Willie (1928). "With Steamboat Willie (1928), Disney, in the face of increased competition from the technically adept Fleischer Studio, created the first fully-synchronized sound cartoon, simultaneously introducing animation's first cartoon superstar, Mickey Mouse." (Wells. 2006:89).

This was the start of 'the Golden Era' of animation. As Mickey's popularity increased, new characters were created. Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Mickey's dog Pluto evolved from other short films and gained popularity in their own right. Disney's ambitions extended further than animated shorts. Within ten years of Steamboat Willie, he made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the first fully synchronized, full length cartoon feature. To depict realistic movements of the human characters, Walt helped to pioneer the technique of Rotoscoping. This involved the animators tracing live action footage to contrast the cartoony features of the animals and Dwarfs.

4) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White was an overwhelming success and a landmark in the history of animation and film. Disney's team's expanded. Divided into groups of two, some continued making the animated shorts Silly Symphonies while the rest were charged with creating new features including Pinnochio (1941). Mickey's popularity was beginning to stutter with audiences actually preferring his side kick Donald Duck. In a bid to rejuvenate his popularity, Disney began to work on the Sorcerer's Apprentice, casting Mickey as the hapless apprentice. Disney initially intended it to be a short on the Silly Symphonies series until Orchestral composer Leopold Stokowski persuaded him to make it a full length feature. The idea grew into Fantasia (1940), consisting of eight animated segments (including the Sorcerer's Apprentice), all set to pieces of classical music, featuring; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite where the four seasons are depicted by dancing fairies, fish, flowers and leaves; and Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, a darker segment featuring a devil summoning spirits atop a mountain.

5) Nutcracker Suite

6) Night on Bald Mountain

Fantasia opened to mixed critical reviews and failed to generate a large commercial audience but has since been rated as a top thirty highest grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation. This success led to a sequel in in 1999 called Fantasia 2000. As before, it featured seven new animated segments set to classical music conducted by James Levine along with a remastered version of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Like Fantasia, the sequel had mixed reactions with critics, however it does have hints of Disney's style and magic. Stand out segments include Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome featuring  a family of humpback whales with the ability to fly, and Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier which finds a toy soldier struggling to save a toy ballerina from an evil Jack in the box. ".... the music seems more background than integral to any concept. This is not to say that ''Fantasia/2000'' is devoid of dazzling moments. But despite its science fiction title, the movie is really a compendium of familiar Disney attitudes and styles, one that looks to the past more than to the future." (Holden. 1999)

7) Pines of Rome

8) The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Walt Disney died in 1966 leaving behind a legacy in the form of Disney Land resorts and his animation studios. His pioneering personality ensured cel and drawn animation techniques would go down in the history of world cinema. Disney set himself apart from other experimentalists in animation of the time. Inspired by pioneering companies such as Kellog's and Ford he passionately strived to deliver his product to mass audiences. "... Disney represented someone who saw the power and possibility of animation as a mass-media player and who worked progressively towards this dream." (Selby. 2009:13)

Bibliography

Beck, Jerry (2004). Animation Art From Pencil to pixel, the histroy of Cartoon, Anime and CGI. London, Flame Tree Publishing.

Holden, Stephen December 1999 New York Times Review of Fantasia 2000 Accessed 21/03/11
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9802E0D81538F932A05751C1A96F958260&scp=3&sq=Fantasia&st=cse&pagewanted=print

Selby, Andrew (2009). Animation in Process. London, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Wells, Paul (2006). The Fundamentals of Animation. Switzerland, AVA Publishing.

Illustrations

1) Walt Disney http://pubvo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/mickey-mouse.jpg Accessed 21/03/11

2) Alice's Spooky Adventures http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTQyOTg2ODQ1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzczMzk5._V1_.jpg

3) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit http://bulk.destructoid.com/ul/user/2/29336-159693-Oswald1gif-620x.jpg

4) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs http://www.collider.com/uploads/imageGallery/Top_Ten_Animated_Films/snow_white_and_the_seven_dwarfs_movie_image_1.jpg

5) Nutcracker Suite http://outtheother.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451aecf69e20120a75d83f4970b-500wi&imgrefurl

6) Night on a Bald Mountain http://trueclassics.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/night-on-bald-mountain-fantasis.jpg

7) Pines of Rome http://dvdmedia.ign.com/media/reviews/image/fantasia/fantasia2k_1.jpg

8) The Steadfast Tin Soldier http://www.biabianca.de/couplepages/BallerinaSoldier/soldier2.jpg