C'mon Hollywood #133

... enough with the creepy animation!
by Sturdy

I’ve always been hesitant to complain too loudly about the creepy animation used in films like the POLAR EXPRESS and WAKING LIFE. For starters, I don’t want to contradict myself by asking them to stop making movies like that and then turn around and ask Hollywood to be more original. Also, I realize there are a lot of artists and animators out there that like that type of animation and use that as an expression of their art. The last thing I need is for some ticked off animator or cartoonist to draw a picture of me getting my head bashed in with a shovel. Of course, I respect the notion that animation of any kind is a very difficult and time consuming process.

Hands down the scariest movie of 2004.

However, the POLAR EXPRESS was creepy as hell. We get it, Zemeckis used a new and innovative form of motion capture animation and made it into an entire film. I think it’s great that a well respected director would go out on a limb and try something new and out of his normal arena. Heck, I absolutely love WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and that was new and innovative at the time. The difference is that other than my sexual attraction to Jessica Rabbit, there was nothing that creeped me out about the film. I can’t really say the same for Express since a walking, talking wax figure of Tom Hanks is the stuff nightmares are made of. The irony is that motion capture technology is designed to be as realistic as possible, but for some reason all the humans remind me of the creatures in bad zombie movies.

My body is so confused right now…

The problem is that Zemeckis continued using that kind of “animation” in the upcoming BEOWOLF. Now BEOWOLF might be a great movie, I don’t know, but the animation still looks a little creepy (although definitely improved from Express). Personally, I would have liked to have seen BEUAWOLF in a live action film rather than with the creepy animation. Also, for the amount of money he spent on Express and now BEOWOLF, he could have made it into a live action film and probably have broken even. Either way, I’m glad Zemeckis is trying new things, but I’m hoping BEOWOLF will get this animation out of his system.

Something just didn’t work here

Then there’s WAKING LIFE. This is another film where I have to give credit to Richard Linklater for trying something original in a film. But once again, it just didn’t work. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but Linklater had to go and make A SCANNER DARKLY using the same interpolated rotoscoping technique. It’s bad enough we have to deal with it on a regular basis with those annoying Schwab investment commercials, but we really don’t need another movie featuring this animation. This process isn’t nearly as bad as the motion capture process, but watching it gives me a raging headache. I find it to be a little annoying and doesn’t work well in a feature film, or a 30 second commercial for that matter.

Now this was a cool animated flick.

So to clarify my point, I want to encourage all directors to use new and original techniques to make movies, but back off the creepy looking animation. If it doesn’t work, let it go and try something else. Also, try to use animation techniques that are more cool and stylish and less creepy. RENAISSANCE is a great example of a good animated film that was very cool and original and didn’t manage to disturb me. So lets focus more on trying to give the audience something they can enjoy and less on creeping them out or giving them headaches.

Tags: Hollywood



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