THE POST: Jack & The Beanstalk

February 11, 2013 at 9:58 am

THE POST: Jack & The Beanstalk

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER COMING SOON

I can’t say that I’m super excited to see Jack the Giant Slayer this year but I’m intrigued.  I’m always interested in adaptations of stories I loved as a child.  With Bryan Singer at the helm I’m sure there will be plenty to love about the movie but not enough to really put it on most people’s radars.

Note: The second trailer (above) is a little better but I’m still not sold.

Recently, I gathered top 10 lists from around the web and came up with 44 movies to look forward to in 2013.  Jack the Giant Slayer wasn’t on anyone’s lists.  But perhaps that’s a good thing?  Personally, I’m willing to give the movie a shot.  It is based on a fairy tale we all know.  Nobody wants to see a movie with lowered expectations but I’m a positive guy.  Maybe this beanstalk tale has no where to go but up.

Jack the giant slayer movie 2013

I have two complaints about the film from what I’ve seen so far.  First, it seems like an awfully complicated tale considering it’s simplistic roots.  I understand you have to make it bigger in order to fill a feature length movie but the second a man betrays humanity and aligns with the giants I lost interest.  Why is it whenever we are being taken over by aliens or monsters there is always someone willing to sell us out?  Jerks.

Second is the CG.  It doesn’t look spectacular in the trailer and one can only hope it doesn’t distract from the story they are trying to tell.

THE STORYBOOK

Need a reminder of the story?  Check out this stylish animated storybook created by Time4Sleep.

THE POST: Jack & The Beanstalk

THE POST: Jack & The Beanstalk

It’s a fantastic reminder of the fable and what the film could be.  I’m a big fan of the artistic style of the book and again I must admit, I’m jealous of all who can draw.

XTRA | Confessions of a Wannabe Animator

Onto the clips!  I looked around and found a couple classic adaptations of Jack & The Beanstalk.  Enjoy!

MICKEY AND THE BEANSTALK

…  How have I never seen this!?

COMICCOLOR: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

JACK & THE BEANSTALK (1952)

The full length feature from 1952 starring Abbott & Costello is on YouTube.

FRACTURED FAIRLY TALES

Click here to catch up on past editions of The Post.

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore

February 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore

A NEW CLASSIC & THE CLASSICS OF OLD

We all have favorites.  Whether they are short films or full length features, we’ve all been captivated by animation.  I often think about the animations that inspired me as a child and how I still hold those films close to my heart today.  I love animation.  I regularly search the web looking for new animated short films.  I’ve actually featured some of these discoveries in nearly every edition of The Post I’ve ever published.

It was my dream growing up to create cartoons but my path deviated when it became painfully obvious I couldn’t draw.  Still, I’m fascinated by the process and inspired by the limitless possibilities animators have at their disposal.  I’ve always been jealous of people that can draw.  I’ve written about it many times.

XTRA | Confessions of a Wannabe Animator

In a way, I have to thank animation for leading me to screenwriting.  I may not be able to draw anything my mind comes up with but I can certainly describe it.  Perhaps someday I’ll write something worthy of a talented artist’s time and dedication.  Until then, I will always have the classic cartoons I adore and new cartoons that continually inspire.

Recently, Disney released it’s groundbreaking and Oscar nominated short film Paperman online.  I missed Wreck-It Ralph in theaters and never got a chance to see it.  If you still haven’t checked it out I recommend hitting play immediately:

This touching short film is a testament to how far technology has come but also a reminder of where it all began.

3D animation has given us some of the best animated films of all time but there are some who still love the nuance of hand drawn 2D work.  Paperman blends both of these techniques to create something incredibly unique and new.  In my opinion, Paperman is visually spectacular and features characters we can all relate too.  The jealousy is taking over again…

XTRA | Be sure to check out the Paperman featurettes I embedded below.

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore

The second Paperman began I was brought back to my favorite era of Disney Animation.  Way back when they were steadily releasing classics from like The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast, Alladin, The Little Mermaid and more… It was a golden age because I was still able to watch legendary films like Snow White, Cinderella, Dumbo and my personal favorite: Peter Pan.

There is still a shelf back home that houses each and every one of those films on VHS. They are situated next to some of the best non Disney animated films I’ve ever seen.  Movies like All Dogs Go To Heaven & The Last Unicorn.  I’ll never sell those movies even though I no longer own a VCR.  They mean too much to me.  Also featured on my magical animation shelf are collections of animated short films featuring characters we all know and love:

I can’t believe some of the animated films I love are over 70 years old!  Here we are, decades later and the medium is just as important and influential.  I think back fondly on all the cartoons I grew up with and still love today.  Now a new generation of children will grow up and look back on so many years of great stories.

Paperman was brilliant but beyond that, it brought me back to my childhood when 2D animation reigned supreme.  When I discovered new and colorful worlds and characters that I’ll cherish forever.  When a movie can do that, it’s hard not to love it.

THE FUTURE OF 2D ANIMATION

PAPERMAN FEATURETTES

Click here for more Reviews

A Sunday Morning With Pixar’s Brave

December 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

PIXAR CREATES ANOTHER GORGEOUS WORLD…  BUT…

I love cartoons.  I’ve always been fascinated by the amount of work that goes into an animated film be it CG or hand drawn.  I grew up surrounded by Disney classics like Peter Pan, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast and more.  Then Pixar came along and brought us places we never thought animation could go.  Toy Story inspired me like no other cartoon ever had and the hits kept coming.  One after another, Pixar delivered gorgeous new worlds with loveable characters and a imaginative stories.

Pixar’s tales were full of laughter & emotion.  All from the minds of passionate story tellers and dedicated artists.  I’ve said it many times: I really wish I could draw…

XTRA | Confessions of a Wannabe Animator

I never got around to catching Pixar’s Brave when it was in theaters.  (It didn’t help that I wasn’t really that interested) Still, new cartoons are hard to pass up at home on a relaxing Sunday morning.  So my wife and I rented it and once again, Pixar delivered a remarkable world.  The technological leaps they’ve made over the years is simply astounding.  Merida’s flowing red hair is a perfect example of what the studio is capable of.  Brave is a beautiful movie.

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

However, I felt the characters and story just didn’t have the same impact.  Perhaps it’s not fair to continuously compare Pixar’s current films with the classics of the past but we’ve come to expect so much from them.  I thought Brave’s story was extremely simple almost to a fault.  It’s understandable that Pixar set out to tell a story about the relationship between a mother and daughter but that’s really where it ends.  There aren’t many surprises to be found.  Merida is upset with her mother, acts out, makes a mistake, fixes her mistake and is no longer upset with her mother.

I also felt the supporting cast lacked a real standout.  The closest thing in Brave is the triplets.  They offer a few laughs here and there but they disappear for chunks of time and really don’t contribute much until the end.

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

To me, Brave set out to tell a story and succeeded.  (I still think they are geniuses.) It just seemed like they found their story and stopped there.  They didn’t push further nor did they take risks.  Here is the story.  Thanks for your time.

Having said that, I still think Brave is one of the best looking animated films of all time and I adore the setting they chose for the film.  The voice acting is spectacular as always and it is a nice little tale.  It just isn’t the classic I hoped it would be.  Bring on Monsters University.

Click here for more Reviews

A Sunday Morning With Pixar's Brave | Brave Review

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Confessions Of A Wannabe Animator

November 19, 2012 at 6:57 am

Confessions Of A Wannabe Animator | Independent Film Blog

Since Toy Story emerged, I’ve been obsessed with computer graphics, 3D modelling and animation.  I’ve always envied the remarkable artists and animators that bring these creations to life.  I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m jealous of anyone who can sit in front of a blank screen and create an awe inspiring image.  I wish I could turn on programs like Cinema 4D, 3Ds Max or Blender and make a movie.

XTRA | Storyboarding when you can’t draw…

In the old days, there were programs like Microsoft’s 3D Movie Maker that really ate up a ton of my spare time.  I would have given anything for the skill set needed to pull of incredible animations.

At one point, I got my hands on a digital lathe and created some pretty fantastic table legs but that doesn’t count!  Even landscaping or interior design software interested me.  I would use them to plan out locations for movies I never even intended to write.  Sadly, I can’t draw and I don’t understand all the complexities of computer generated images.  I think that’s why Photoshop became an obsession.  It’s the only software that gives me the tools to create images I can be proud of.  I’ll never be able to create new character models or paint mattes but I’ve become pretty good at manipulating existing images.

I’m no artist but it helps fill the void.

I think I just love the idea of mastering a piece of software and creating my own cartoon or elements to blend into live action shots.  Take Killer Bean for example.  It took creator Jeff Lew nearly 3 years to complete.  His last film was a tiny project called Transformers: Dark of the Moon!!!

Movies like ‘In the Rough’ by Blur Studios have always inspired me.  It’s just fascinating to think about how much effort and dedication is poured into every frame.

XTRA | 10 Flicks: Short Films That Inspired Me

Since Toy Story, Pixar has absolutely dominated the feature length animated world.  With each film they push the boundaries of what computer animated films are capable of.  I think what interests me about the entire industry is how it allows for so many unique and creative opportunities that 2D animation couldn’t provide.

Confessions Of A Wannabe Animator | Independent Film Blog

However, that doesn’t mean that 2D animation has been forgotten by this wannabe animator.  I still grew up creating stick figure cartoons and watching all the ‘making of’ documentaries I could find on VHS.  I was particularly fond of the Disney docs where you could get a glimpse at an animator at work.  Watching them flip through those pages as they illustrated a new frame was awesome.  I’d get that amazing ‘pit of your stomach’ feeling where you simply HAVE to do something creative.

XTRA | All Time Best: Pixar Character

Somewhere in my parents home is a box full of old VHS tapes that are full of classic cartoons.  It’s a box I’ll never allow to be thrown away.  The ‘Pixar’ generation of children have grown up along side movies like Finding Nemo, Shrek, Up, Madagascar, Ice Age, Despicable Me & The Incredibles.  I’m sure parents will also show their kids movies like The Lion King, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Beauty & The Beast, The Secret of Nimh, Alladin, An American Tale, Cinderella, The Last Unicorn, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Land Before Time, Pinocchio as well.

Beloved cartoons become family members.  They are the traditions we remember growing up and the traditions we pass along to future generations.  I consider it a privilege to have witnessed animation evolve over the years but I plan to show my children even more than the usual suspects.  I want them to experience the entire history of animated films.  Remember Silly Symphony?

Animated movies have inspired so many people around the world.  It’s an art form that has evolved so much but through the years, it has always been about telling great stories.  I love to write screenplays and short stories.  It’s always been my passion.  I’ll never be an accomplished animator but someday, I hope to realize my dream of producing my own animated film.

I don’t know when that day will come but until then, I’m happy to go back and watch some of my favorites and experiencing new films along the way.  What truly makes me envy animators is the notion that somewhere there is a single artist working on a passion project.

Wherever you are, I’m extremely jealous of your talents… And I can’t wait to see it when you’re done!

PS: I’ve been messing around with Blender 3D lately and I don’t have a clue what’s going on.  It helped me create The Athletic Nerd graphic above but that took me about 2 hours to create.  I’ve got a long way to go.

Disney & Star Wars: 5 Things I Love & A Couple Things I Don’t

November 12, 2012 at 7:53 am

Disney & Star Wars: 5 Things I Love & A Couple Things I Don't | Star Wars Episode VII

Weeks later, I’m still blown away that there is a new Star Wars movie on the way.  Just about every day since Disney announced the purchase of LucasFilm there has been new rumors and news.  Movie fans around the world are speculating on plot, directors, writers and more. We got one answer late last week as screenwriter Michael Arndt has been confirmed to pen the script.  Still, there are plenty of major questions out there to ponder.

XTRA | Star Wars Episode VII Story Round Up

What will Disney do with the Star Wars Universe?  How will they expand on such a massively popular property?

I’m obviously a fan of the deal so I thought I’d share the 5 things that excite me the most and a few things that bug me.

WHAT I LOVE

5. RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME STAR WARS THEME PARKS

I’ve never been to Disney World or any other Disney theme park for that matter.  I hope to change that someday but even now, I have no plans to make my way down to Florida.  However, a huge Star Wars theme park might speed plans up a bit.  I think this one is a no brainer.  At some point, Disney is bound to announce a massive park full of Star Wars themed attractions.

4. A LIVE ACTION TV SHOW?

The long rumored Star Wars live action TV show was recently put on hold.  Perhaps due to the impending purchase?  The thought of a prime time Star Wars drama on ABC is pretty exciting even if it is unlikely.  Forgive the pun but there is definitely a new hope for the TV series.

3. THE MOVIES ARE BACK IN THE CONVERSATION

It’s only been a short time but I’m already devouring every single Star Wars article I see throughout my travels on the web.  We are talking about a new Star Wars movie!  Every tidbit of news will be covered on every major movie news site followed by endless analysis and speculation.  It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan.  Two weeks ago, the thought of a new movie was only a dream.

Following this move’s development is going to be so much fun.

2. PIXAR + STAR WARS = ?

I’m shocked that Pixar hasn’t tackled a Marvel movie since Disney purchased the Superhero stable a few years ago.  Pixar + Marvel is a match made in heaven.  But a Pixar/Star Wars movie would be absolutely insane.  Could it happen?  Probably not in the next few years but you never know.  I’d love to see what those geniuses come up if they were given the keys to the Death Star.

1. A NEW TRILOGY. A NEW VISION?

A new Star Wars movie is one thing but a movie directed by someone other than George Lucas is intriguing to say the least.  A new filmmaker will soon be hired and I can’t imagine the pressure.  Somewhere there is a confident filmmaker who will breath new life into one of the most successful franchises of all time.

That’s a lot to take on.  However, the direction they take the series is the single most fascinating element of the big announcement.  What will happen next? Will the original stars return?  Luke, Leia & Han have already said they are open to returning.  What will  Episode 7 add to the Star Wars legacy?

I’m so excited I can’t stand it…

Disney & Star Wars: 5 Things I Love & A Couple Things I Don't | Star Wars Episode VII

WHAT CONCERNS ME

Don’t go crazy…

Too much too soon is a mistake.  I just described Theme Parks, Pixar Movies, Sequels and more but I’m also hoping Disney paces itself.  We don’t want Star Wars overload after all these years.

Empire Strikes Back is (arguably) the best for a reason. Let’s get back to that.

I’m a fan of the prequel trilogy to an extent.  I loved Episode 1, tolerated 2 and enjoyed 3.  The biggest complaint I had about the newest films was tone.  They were bright and colorful and featured characters like Jar Jar Binks.  Episode 3 took us to a darker place but it was a little late and didn’t have the same impact of Empire.

When I talk about the excitement surrounding a new director coming on board, I sincerely hope their favorite is Empire Strikes Back.  Whatever direction they decide, I can’t wait to see it.

Develop the movie and THEN discuss the toys please…

I understand that Disney is going to capitalize on the Star Wars toy market.  It was probably one of the main reasons why the purchase was considered in the first place.  A new movie will mean billions of merchandise sold around the world.  The toy tie ins will have to be discussed but I really hope they don’t impact the direction they take the franchise.

I just want the new movie to be good.  That’s all I ask.