Friday, June 17, 2005

Batman has begun...again

  • animation powers: ready for the weekend
*possible SPOILERS for anyone who hasn't scene it

After a long hiatus, The Dark Knight has once again leapt onto the silver screen. There is no Robin, Batgirl or quippy one liners every five seconds; right there we are off to a great start. Generally speaking I loved the movie, which surprised me.

When I had seen pictures of Christian Bale in the suit I thought "its more of the same". And when I saw pictures of the tank that serves as the Batmobile I thought "what the hell are they thinking". But the movie makes it all work and seem fresh. Pretty much everything is explained and made plausible in one fashion or an other.

Unlike the other films that explain the origin as "my parent's where killed in front of me....SO I thought it would be cool to dress up like a bat", Batman Begins offers a better look into the mind of a man living with guilt and anger and how it has dominated his life. Another difference is that about 98% of the movie is spent with Wayne/Batman, unlike films of the past like Tim Burton's "Joker" I mean "Batman".

Michael Cain is terrific as Alfred providing a voice of reason to some of Waynes questionable antics. Gary Oldman is also great as Sgt. Gordon, the only cop Batman trusts. Katie Holmes plays Waynes childhood friend and is either D.A., assistant D.A. or likes to hang around the D.A.'s office. You know Katie. She's now engaged to Tom "what crazy shit will i say today" Cruise. Look for Tom and Katie to star in Gigli 2.

The problem with Katie is that she still seems like she's 15. She has that cute little talking out of the side of the mouth thing. She shrugs her shoulder's in that "gee I just kissed a boy" way. She still feels like Dawson's Creek Katie. I mean she did a good job in the film, but she just doesn't seem like a leading lady. And then there is the matter of the secret identity. Luckily, Alfred doesn't let her into the Batcave, but Bruce does reveal his secret identity to her. Could we have one Batman film where he doesn't reveal his identity. I mean it's like the guy can't wait to tell people he's Batman.

It may have been our theater but I had an awful time hearing some of the dialog. The fight on the train between Batman and Evil Qui-Gon...I missed a lot. By and large the action scenes were well done. I enjoyed how Batman would pick off he was the Predator or something; very cool. Some of the fight scenes were hard to following though. At times I felt Chris Nolan put the camera on a large metronome and then told the actors to fight in front of it.

And fans will love the set up for the sequel at the end. I giggled like a little girl.

Bottom line: I loved it. This was a great jump start to the franchise. Here's hoping they don't screw it up.

Virtual with lemon

  • animation powers: feeling strong

Today was a good animating day. I have been working on a difficult action shot with our main man Lucas. Action shots tend to be tough. Many times characters are running, jumping, sliding, ballroom dancing, while carrying objects, other characters or juggling...axes. And most of the time you can be sure there is some nutty camera thing going on as well. These are the shots that depend not so much on fine acting but rather, fine choreography. Today I got my action shot finaled..finally...and it made me feel pretty good.

Ever been to the Magic Kingdom? There is one in Walt Disney World and there's Disneyland's Magic Kingdom. As well as ones, in Tokyo, Paris and soon...Hong Kong. If you've never been or can't pull yourself away from reading my blog long enough to visit one, then check out Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom .

The game is still in Beta test mode and not all sections are open but what is there is pretty fun. There's a fireworks game (which is unbelievably hard.....for me anyway), a Jungle Cruise game (which I'm ok at) and a Pirates of the Caribbean game (which I freakin love). Admittedly I spend the majority of my VMK time playing POTC. Two teams of pirate ships blasting the crap out of each other. What the hell could be more fun? And you can type things like "arr" and "avast".

The game allows chatting but only allows words to be used that are found in it's own dictionary. This is to protect young kids (for whom VMK was designed), from reading bad words and being harassed by Michael Jackson.

Best of all this Disney game is FREE! Imagine..."Disney" and "free". Two words you never thought you'd see together in a sentence. So wake the kids and ask em "Hey kids! Wanta go to Disney's Magic Kingdom??!!" Then plop them in front of the computer to play VMK. And if you happen to end up on the wrong end of a cannon.....and there is an AnimatorBoy on the other end.....guess what..that's me....savvy?

Friday, June 03, 2005

I Got A Rock

  • animation powers: afraid of the dark

Lately it seems the wife and I have been having a minor string of bad luck. Minor, because no one has been trapped under something least not yet. Thank god.

It started a little over a month and half ago when someone we will call Dumbass ran into the back of the Animato-mobile.....while it was moving forward....with my wife and Wonder-pea inside. She was just driving along when WHAMMO, Dumbass runs into her. Both her and Wonder-pea were fine, but the Animato-mobile, which was brand new and no payments had yet been made, needed some repair. Lucky for us Dumbass had no insurance, no job and no chance of being on my Christmas card list.

So after that incident was taken care of, I'm parked in one of those do it yourself car wash deals. It is the evening before Wonder-pea's 2nd birthday. I finish with the car, which is looking clean for the first time in a long time, get in and nothing...won't start. How lucky...the battery is dead!

A few weeks later we go on our family vacation and by some miracle nothing lucky happens to us; expect me wetting my pants in public. We return from vacation and the very next day the Animato-mobile is blowing hot air when it's suppose to be blowing cold air. Back to the dealer we go and wouldn't ya know it, a rock had somehow navigated through the grill of the van and punctured the condenser which now needs to be replaced. Apparently it's not something that happens a lot. How lucky!

The doorknob locks on our house are crap. If you turn the switch to lock the knob you can still freely turn the doorknob from the inside. So regardless of whether you have the switch in the locked or unlocked position, the doorknob will turn when inside. Because of this "feature" there is always the chance that you will unwittingly turn the switch into the lock position, exit the house and close the door, thereby locking yourself out of the house. Like what happened to us last weekend...Memorial Day weekend......on 5:30pm. Lucky for us the locksmith only charged $120.00.

That evening I told my Dad "I don't know what it is but we are having a string of minor bad luck". I then thought, "What the hell is gonna happen next." I didn't have to wait long to get an answer.

The next night we are eating at a restaurant that has a little river that runs through it. We are sitting very close to the water. My chair in particular is very close to the edge prompting comments like "Oooh don't fall in." At one point I reach into my pocket to pull out my cell phone which promptly falls out of my hand, bounces on the concrete and lands safely in the river. In my best Vader voice I yelled, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO", plunged my hand into the river, retrieved the phone and yanked the battery off. Now I need a new cell phone...lucky me.

But luck decided to stop kicking me in the crotch; at least for the time being. The next day, by some miracle, the phone worked just fine. I nearly cried. I love you Samsung.