Saturday, December 24, 2005


  • animation powers: mightier than a 25 foot gorilla

It's Christmas Eve! Folks are scrambling to finish their shopping, kitchen's are going full steam baking cookies and I've decided now would be an excellent time to give me review/thoughts on Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Clocking in at 3 hours Kong is nothing if not a long film. Now my bladder is the size of a pea, which causes me great anxiety when going to see long movies. The fact that I never went, nor needed to pee once, is a good sign for the film. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. It was after the movie, looking back at the film, that I realized how much better the film could have been and where it was lacking.

Some spoilers ahead so beware hobbits.....

The set up for the film, in my opinion, was great..I really enjoyed it. Some folks I went with found it rather boring and just wanted to get to the island and see some huge animal fights. But for me, I enjoyed the way they introduced the characters and set into motion how they all ended up on this boat which would land them on Skull Island.

In fact from a character/story point of view, the arrival on Skull Island is the problem. Leading up to this point we are introduced to a variety of characters. Not just the main characters mind you but some secondary ones as Hayes and Jimmy two members of the crew. However once on Skull Island, character development stops and it turns into Jurassic Park....running, screaming, dieing. There is nothing wrong with that, we want to see Kong bringing the pain to some T-rexs, but looking back it's like two different movies. In fact once they subdue Kong, to being him back to NY, there is a time cut...bam we are back in NY. I would have liked to see what the journey back was like. What are these characters feeling now? We know how they felt on the journey to Skull Island but how about now? A missed chanced to get back to character development and motivation, this would have made the film stronger (and longer) But, as the film is we have a strong character set up which basically goes no where. Shall I explain...yes I shall..

Carl Denham (Jack Black): When the film begins he is a wild eccentric, a little bit of a jerk but still likeable. He is probably the only human character with a clear arc because by the end of the film is still a wild eccentric, totally a jerk and is not likeable at all. Many times I wanted him to be stepped on.

Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts): At the beginning of the film we see her longing for film career, kind of down on her luck and has apparently been burned by love many a time. By film's end she has no film career, still seems down on her luck and has witnessed Kongs death, for whom she felt some affection.

Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody): He basicaly gets conned into coming along on the voyage, but really really wants to get back to his play. Falls for the lovely Ann. Battles the many dangers of Skull Island to find Ann. Writes a play for Ann when he gets back to NY. And when last we see him he is consoling dear Ann after Kong has died.

All three characters, while fun to watch, never really go anywhere beyond their initial set up in the film. Sure Jack falls for Ann mid movie or so but who wouldn't, she's beautiful, there was nothing to overcome here. Hell half the boat was probably in love with her.

Hayes and Jimmy (Evan Parke and Jamie Bell): Are secondary characters that needed to remain secondary like the ships captain or Lumpy. Time is spent showing the relationship between these two guys, but once Hayes dies and the gang sets sail back to NY we never see or hear about Jimmy again, so what was the point? Less screen time for these two, mostly pointless, characters would have also made for a shorter movie.

King Kong (Der Kaiser die Kong...yes he is German): The only character with a strong arc that you really care about. He's on an Island doing his giant monkey thing. The locals give up the usual offering but what's this....the little human is beautiful and can juggle...why...I've never seen such a thing. She makes him laugh when he never thought he'd laugh again. Is this love that I'm feeling? Giant reptiles wanting to snack on his girlfriend. My god defending her is a full time job! What's that smell? Chloroform? Hurt. Betrayed. Flashbulbs make him angry. Wait there is my love. I will protect her again. Keep her safe. Ah a sunset. Protects his love until the bitter end. Yes indeed. Kong is the king.

Ok if your still reading the bottom line is this: in my view, the film has weak character development but kiss ass Kong action...the latter is probably the reason most people are going to see it anyway.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Lion, the Witch and the Giggles

  • animation powers: are beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Could be some spoilers ahead so watch it....

A bunch of us went to see the Chronicles of Narnia last night. By and large I enjoyed the picture. It takes a little while to get going but I was very entertained and never bored from start to finish. It's kind of like Lord of the Rings for kids but without any precious.

I keep reading about all the Christian themes in the film. I must be missing something. Aside from Aslan freely giving himself up to be killed and "rising" from the dead and Edmund being "forgiven", I don't see any parallel to the bible, God or Jesus. Perhaps people are injecting what they want into the film. Seeing what they want to see. Just how some see the Harry Potter films as the work of Satan himself.

But never mind all that. The Giggles you are saying...why is that in the header. Well my observant little faun, there is a reason. You see in the film as Aslan starts to wander into the woods, with Lucy and Susan looking on, I leaned over to my friend on my right and whispered "he's going off to poop". This made my friend start to laugh, which in turn made me start to laugh. This of course is a quiet and serious point in the film. We both can't stop laughing; giggling away like a couple of girls. While we are trying to compress our laughter, Lucy and Susan approach Aslan and say something to which he replies "Yes I would like some company". Now we are laughing even more. My friend to my left who has no idea why we are laughing...begins to laugh. I'm thinking "oh man I am ruining this movie for all these people". Trying to compress the laughter results in a "squeak" which sounds funny and serves as lighter fluid for a blaze that's out of control.

Finally, biting my lip to induce pain and with tears streaming down my face from a good 5 minutes of giggling, we all seem to pull it together and continue with the film. What can I say, I was a victim of the giggle loop (if you watch the BBC Coupling you know what I'm talking about) My apologies to anyone sitting around us.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My mistake...

  • animation powers: on vacation

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends; I know we sure did. After waking up from my pumpkin pie induced coma, I realized I made the mistake in my last post of saying "mole" when I meant "possum." Ironically enough I had been getting a lot of hate mail from moles recently and now I know why.

To fix the problem and to appease the many moles whom I offended, I went back and edited the previous post. Replacing "mole" with "possum." I hang my head in shame.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ginormous Possum

  • animation powers: require pumpkin pie

So when last we left ginormous possum he had continued to redig his ginormous hole and when confronted he hissed at me. Critter Ridder to the rescue, except the omission of "works on possums" was not an oversight, as it didn't work on the all. Even pouring it directly on the possum did nothing but prompt more hissing.

What to do? Buy more crap to sprinkle out there in hopes of driving the monster away. I can't remember the name of this new stuff but it is no nonsense. Repels deer, beavers, lions, dinosaurs, salesman; so I was feeling pretty good about it.

Again I filled in the hole. I love doing that. Then I sprinkled a bunch of this new stuff out there eventhough the directions said to sprinkle a little. Ha! Screw that, I'm coating the flower bed baby. If the possum wants to get back to the hole he is gonna be knee deep in this junk. And for the first few days it seemed to work but then I looked out there and damnit...the hole is back. So.....

I poured a ridiculous amount in the freshly dug hole. When the beast returns and starts to resume digging....surprise!!! I am happy to say it has been a week and no activity. Either this stuff is actually working or ginormous possum is a ginormous rode kill somewhere around here. more digging...

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Ant Bully Site

  • animation powers: mightier than 100 ants
The official Ant Bully web site has launched!! The teaser trailer and film synopsis are up right now with more stuff to be added in the future. Why not go check it out? The Ant Bully Official Site

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Chicken Little

  • animation powers: taste like chicken

Just to throw this out there first off. I never read reviews before going to see movies. I like to go in a blank slate, without the opinions of movie critics rattling around in my head. That said I will check the ole rottentomatoes meter to see what the general consensus is: is it good or does it stink.

Could be a minor spoiler or two just so ya know.

Before going to see Chicken Little I was aware there was a lot of negativity towards the film. Some negativity may have been from the Pixar-Disney "do we need them or not" debate, while some could have stemmed from this movie being the first in a line of CG films that Disney put into production after deep sixing the 2D division. And don't rule out "hey its hip to hate Disney." Neverless I went into the film hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

I was pleasantly surprised, the movie was really cute. The story wasn't perfect but worked rather well with the main theme being Chicken Little wanting...needing the approval and support of his father; wanting to make him proud. The film had quite a lot of humor that worked and quite a lot that didn't. Actually the humor that didn't work all seemed to suffer from the same problem....."let's try to be cool and hip"....and unfortunately those moments just didn't do it.

The characters were a lot of fun with Fish out of Water probably being my favorite; something endearing about a fish walking around with a scuba helmet full of water. In general I felt the animation was well done, however there were moments when the animation was too chaotic. The animation on Buck Cluck, CL's dad, was consistently great throughout the film. There is a sequence with Buck and Chicken Little driving home which is one really long shot.....Buck Cluck's animation was

My biggest complaints: the pop songs. Not the song montages, although it seems like two of them occur almost back to back. No no those didn't bother me half as much as sequences when characters sang Spice Girls and Queen. Those bits, which would have worked had they been 10 secs, go on for such a long time that I felt uncomfortable watching them; sounds weird but true. Other complaint was the ending felt a little rushed. As the situation with aliens gets resolved I thought to myself at one point "why were the space ships there to begin with.......ooooo acorns.....well o-k" If you see it you will understand.

Bottom line: I liked the movie. I really don't know where all the hate is coming from regarding Chicken Little. It's not a perfect movie, it has its flaws, but it was also pretty fun which is all I really want out of any movie.

And I must point out that our teaser trailer for The Ant Bully is playing before Chicken Little. Woot! So be on the look out for that!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


  • animation powers: at 95%

So a few weekends ago I'm trimming the bushes out front. Chop chop chop...when I notice a good size hole at the base of one of the plants. Dark. Mysterious. I wonder if anything is in there? I found a 3 foot long stick and stuck it in the hole; it went pretty much all the way in. Fantastic. Even more fantastic was that nothing came running out of hole and ate my face.

I surmised that whatever was in there had left and went about filling in the hole. A couple days later I'm back out front and the hole was back...not as deep..but back none the less. So I fill it in again. Days later it was dug out. This went on and on. I would fill. Creature would dig.

Finally I decided that the "I fill-you dig" game was no longer fun. I filled the hole and put a good size chunk o concrete on top. Let's see you move that!

A couple days later I go out to see that the concrete is undisturbed...whew...but next to it a brand new hole has started. Son of a b... Keep in mind I have no idea exactly what is digging the whole. Skunk, raccoon, elves...who knows..

Last night I come is dark and I go to get my mail when I think I hear some stirring in the bushes. I freeze.....and slowly look up at the house and see a fairly large object moving in the bushes. I surmise that is the neighbors cat. But decide to get a flashlight to be sure.

I shine the light behind the bushes and there it is: giant possum. This possum is so large it eats normal size possums. I try to shoo it away; tossing some wood chips at it. It hisses and scurries deeper behind the bushes. No freakin way I'm diving in there in the dark (it may have a giant possum posse in there), so I turn on the outside flood lights and come inside.

Looking out a window that looks onto the shrub bed, I see ol ginormous possum curled up in the corner. Super. A pet. Going to Lowes to see what they have in the "repel huge animal" department, I am dismayed to find no "possum away". However they had some Critter Ridder which says it repels everything, but doesn't mention possums. I am hopefully that was a manufactures oversight. I mean it says it repels all these other animals..squirrels...raccoons...a possum is raccoon....ish....sorta. But oh no... maybe this stuff will actually attract possums, or kill possums or mutate possums into some unholy....possum...uh...mutant.

I bought it...crossing fingers it works....

To be continued....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh right I have a blog...

  • animation powers: strong like super monkey
Hello loyal readers (all 3 of you). You probably thought this blog was dead seeing as how I haven't updated it in forever. Well you would have been wrong to think that because the blog was in fact, only a little dead.

Time. It is our greatest enemy. There never seems to be enough of it. And so time is the excuse I am giving for not updating the blog.

Do you kids like the Harry Potter? Sure ya do. And you may have heard that Harry has a new movie coming out in just about a month called Harry Potter and Something Magical. What you may not know is that the teaser trailer for the animated film I am working on, The Ant Bully, will be attached to the ol Potter film. I have seen bits of the teaser all finished and pretty and it looks great. My giant contribution was animating a cape and doing some clean up on one shot; won't say any more as to not ruin the surprise. Everyone did a great job on it and it will be very exciting to have it seen by the masses.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Get Ready to Wiggle

  • animation powers: wiggling

Yes it has been awhile since I updated the ol blog hasn't it. Yes precious it has. Well to be honest not a whole hell of a lot has been happening that is blog worthy. That is until this past Sunday. For it was on this past Sunday that we took Wonder-pea to her first concert. The Wiggles Live!!

Now for any of you without children you are probably asking: what the frack is a Wiggle? They are four guys from down under (that's Australia for you geographically impaired). While taking an education class they formed the Wiggles for a class project and the rest is history. They sing, they dance, they act silly and yes Wiggle. And kids just love them.

We own many Wiggles CDs and videos which we play over and over and over. Oddly enough I don't mind it. In fact I like the Wiggles. I act just as silly and goofy around Wonder-pea, so it's comforting to see other kindred spirits who are unafraid to act like idiots for the amusement of children. Also did I mention that each Wiggle made something like $34 million last year.

So we went to the Wiggle stage show and on the way there we had the Wiggles playing in the Animato-mobile. Wonder-pea was singing....and dancing....."Just wait until she sees them" I thought "She is going to freak-out".

We had pretty good seats in one of the upper sections, with lots of room for Wonder-pea to dance and move around. Two large jumbotron scenes bookend the stage playing pre-show clips from the Wiggles videos. Wonder-pea is dancing and singing along. Finally it's time. Texas are you ready to Wiggle!!! Babies hold their bottles in the air. Toddler's raise their sippy cups. By's time to Wiggle!!

The very instant the Wiggles, accompanied by the Wigglie dancers, come on stage, Wonder-pea goes into a deer in headlights state. For the next hour and a half she will sit on my lap and just stare at the stage. She won't dance, she won't smile, she will occasionally clap and I notice she is mouthing the words to some of the songs, this religious experience is simply overloading. To me and my wife these are four ordinary men who jump around and act silly. To Wonder-pea they are pre-school rock n roll gods.

From our vantage point looking down on the audience, it was a sea of little heads bobbing around and little arms thrashing through the air. Kids where up in front of the stage jumping up and down. And the jello pudding mosh pit was in full swing. The kids had signs they'd hold up for the Wiggles to read and many brought balloons and cards for the guys too. It must feel pretty good to be adored by so many kids.

The show itself was very good and I would recommend it to anyone that has Wiggle fans at home. The guys did a good job of coming out into the audience to quickly take some pictures with kids and whatnot, even going up to the upper seating areas. Jeff Wiggle ran right in front of us. I said "Wonder-pea look it's Jeff!! This is as close as you may ever be to an actual Wiggle." However she would not....could not....look upon this god..this one of the mighty four....or else she be turned to a pillar of salt. I, on the other hand, had no problem. I was waving and yelling "HI JEFF!!"

If you are remotely interested in finding out more about the Wiggles or you want to take your kids to a concert check out their web site:

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Ant Bully Cometh

  • animation powers: feeling huge

Tom Hanks and Warner Bros. Pictures to Reunite for Exclusive IMAX(R) 3D Release of The Ant Bully
CGI Family Event Film from Playtone Productions, Warner Bros. Picturesand DNA Productions to be Simultaneously Released to IMAX(R) TheatresWorldwide in Response to Strong Audience Appetite for The IMAX 3DExperience(R)

Project to be Led by Writer and Director of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Santa Vs. The Snowman 3D

LOS ANGELES, CA, July 21 /CNW/ - IMAX Corporation, in association with Warner Bros. Pictures, Playtone Productions, its principals Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and John A. Davis of DNA Productions, today announced that The Ant Bully, an animated CGI film from the director of the 2001 box office hit Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, will be released simultaneously in IMAX(R) 3D and conventional 2D format on August 4, 2006. The film will be digitally converted into IMAX 3D and feature proprietary IMAX DMR(R) (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The picture marks Playtone's third IMAX film project and Warner Bros. Pictures tenth film commitment to IMAX. Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of The Ant Bully to IMAX(R) theatres worldwide.

"The Ant Bully will be our third adventure in IMAX 3D," noted Gary Goetzman, producer of The Ant Bully. "It adds unique dimension to the story and presentation."

"IMAX 3D is the most advanced three-dimensional moviegoing experience in the world. We've previously released, with great success, The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience and NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures. "The Ant Bully, a film for the entire family, with outstanding CG animation, is perfectly suited for IMAX 3D. We look forward to offering audiences the experience of The Ant Bully on August 4, 2006."

"IMAX has been the world leader in cinematic 3D for more than a decade, and as we continue to closely partner with world-class organizations like Warner Bros. Pictures and Playtone Productions on groundbreaking 3D projects, we're reinforcing IMAX 3D as the gold standard," said IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "The last IMAX 3D film we did with Warner Bros. Pictures and Tom Hanks grossed an average of $550,000 per screen, so we're obviously very optimistic about the potential The Ant Bully holds for the IMAX theatre network. We are also pleased to begin unveiling IMAX's 2006 film slate, and believe this visibility into our future programming will help bring more exhibitors into the IMAX business, as well as provide added incentive for our existing partners to open additional locations."

"Warner Bros. and Playtone have been fantastic partners, and we're very excited to expand our relationship with them, joining together again for The Ant Bully," added Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "The Ant Bully is based on a beloved book which teaches kids important life lessons in an entertaining way. We believe this film is well suited for both commercial and institutional theatres and looks incredible in IMAX 3D."

The Ant Bully is directed and adapted by John A. Davis, writer and director of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, as well as Santa Vs. The Snowman 3D, which was released in IMAX 3D in November 2002. Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and John A. Davis produce, and Keith Alcorn executive produces. The Ant Bully is based on a book by John Nickle, which tells the tale of a young boy who floods an ant colony with his water-gun, and is magically shrunken down to insect size and sentenced to hard labor in the ruins. Before returning to half-pint stature, he comes to appreciate the selfless nature of the ants and learns a valuable lesson about tolerance and empathy. The film will be voiced by an all-star and Academy Award-winning cast, including Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Lily Tomlin, Cheri Oteri, Alan Cumming, Regina King, Ricardo Montalban and newcomer Zach Tyler Eisen.

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.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Building a Better Prequel: Part 2

  • animation powers: refreshed by 3 day weekend

The hero's journey. In the original trilogy the hero was Luke and his journey was to go from a dorky farmboy to a cool Jedi. In the prequels Anakin is the hero and his journey is to go from annoying, but good hearted, kid to the biggest meanie in the galaxy. I enjoyed Luke's journey. Anakin's needed some improvement.

As I said before, I would not have had Anakin be a young kid in Ep 1, but rather a young lad of 14. Episode 1 would have found Anakin as a nice enough kid who showed signs of being strong in the force; no midcloreans would be mentioned....EVER. The pod race could have been kept; him building The droids, from the start, should have been in the service of Padme. Also in Episode 1 the seeds of love would have been planted with Anakin and Padme making their growing relationship more believable.

By Episode 2, which would be six years later making Anakin 20, Anakin is showing great promise in the force but all the "chosen one" talk is going to his head. He's becoming too full of himself, arrogant and reckless. His mother would die in this episode possibly due to General Grievous (who remember I suggested be around from Ep 1 on) or perhaps Darth Maul (I wouldn't have killed him in Ep 1). Anakin wiping out the Tusken Raider camp didn't work for me because when he did that he crossed the line. He killed them all out of hate. How do you come back to the good side from the that? He gave into the dark side and to the dark side he should have remained. So.....

I would have Anakin face off with the killer of his mother toward the end of Episode 2, showing signs that he is unable to control his anger, his hate and desires revenge. This would be the first moment that he walks the line between good and evil. Walks it, doesn't cross it. Obi Wan would be present during the battle perhaps injured and on the side lines. He would verbally try to keep Anakin from giving in to the dark side. Anakin would lose an arm, his adversary would get away and he would marry Padme in secret at the end. And he would not be a whiny baby at any point in the film.

Episode 3 would be mostly the same as what's on the screen. However before Anakin fully goes to the dark side I would want to show more conflict. And instead of a bland "I will be your apprentice" ok now I'm evil. Have him act out in hate, fully letting it consume him, and at THAT moment he has given himself to the dark side. The arrest of Palpatine sequence could be restaged so that Grievous or Maul is somehow present. Anakin strikes his adversary down with all his hate and his journey to the dark side is complete. Like the Emperor's words to Luke in ROTJ. And it would be nice foreshadowing for ROTJ. The audience will have seen in Ep 3 that if you give in to hate and kill someone in hate, you go to the dark side. So seeing Luke going ape shit on Vader, the audience will think "oh he is lost....he's going evil happened to his's happening to him".

I wouldn't have had Sidious call Anakin, Vader....EVER. Because at the end of the film during the battle on Mustafar (and I saw some animatic boards that suggested this was considered) I'd have Anakin jump over Obi Wan, Obi slashes off Anakin's legs, Anakin falls over the side of a cliff and is hanging on by his robotic hand. All the dialog could be the same between the two. Anakin asks Obi Wan for help, Obi refuses and then suddenly Anakin falls. Obi looks over the side just as a nearby volcanic explosion kicks up smoke and distorts his view. Anakin is not in site. Obi Wan assumes he is dead and leaves.

We never see Anakin or Vader...nothing after that scene. Yes fans were foaming at the mouth to see Vader again and they would cry big salty tears if he wasn't seen. No sorry...for the sake of storytelling NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Now poor Padme will have still been force choked by Anakin and can now barely breath. Obi Wan fears she may not last long and they rush her into delivery. With Padme near death she somehow manages to deliver twins. And they are NOT named. Padme dies. A bit later instead of Bail Organa saying "I'll take the girl. We always wanted to adopt a girl", we cut to Bail with a child in his arms. Obi Wan says "The child must be kept safe" Bail replies "Master Kenobi I will guard this young one with my life. What of the other child?" Obi says his line about taking him to live with his relatives on Tatooine.

This ending would preserve the surprises of Episode 5 and 6. Could someone watching the saga for the first time figure it out...maybe. However that is why I would have dropped the mention and or showing of Vader. So in Ep 4 when Ben is telling Luke that Vader killed his father, the audience would say "Vader didn't kill him, Anakin fell and died. He must be lieing to Luke to protect him from the fact that his father went to the dark side". But by Ep 5 when Vader reveals himself, the audience will say "Ahh he must have somehow survived and the Emperor turned him into all makes sense know......very tricksy..."

So there you have it. More or less what I would have done if George Lucas had of returned my phone calls when making the prequels. They were not terrible films, but they could have been greatly improved. But in the end, what's done is done.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

When Dark Lord Speaks, Everyone Laughs

  • animation powers: tucked away in my sock drawer

Part 2 of "Building a Better Prequel" will be done shortly, but in the meantime here are some pretty funny sites to check out regarding a certain sound byte...spoken by a certain dark lord at the end of Ep3.

.....warning there could be possible spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen the movie........ listen to the whole rocks

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Building a Better Prequel: Part 1

  • animation powers: weakened by action shots

There is quite a lot in the Star Wars prequels that I like, but there is a lot that could have been better. People talk about wooden acting and bad dialog and quite frankly that doesn't really bother me; the original trilogy has its fair share of both.

The problems with the prequels, in my opinion, comes down to these points

  • absence of charismatic characters
  • the removal of Jar Jar
  • a mostly annoying hero (Anakin)
  • a love story that feels forced
  • no real villain that people can really love to hate

With some other points inbetween ;) There may be spoilers in here so watch out!!

First off is absence of charismatic characters. There needed to be a Han or a Lando. Someone really fun to watch with whom the audience could identify. The Jedi are kinda even tempered and not very excitable, because to do so would make them kill children and choke the ones they love. So the Jedi needed characters around them that would be interesting and fun that would counterbalance the oh so serious tone of the prequels. Lucas tried this in Phantom Menace by adding Jar Jar: distant cousin of Goofy and Daffy Duck. Jar Jar could have actually been a cool sidekick in a Chewbacca kinda way but Lucas decided instead to make him a total bafoon. Axing Jar Jar is probably something most everyone would agree upon.

Bail Organa would have been a good pick to fill the bill of charismatic character who hangs around with Jedi. As it is we don't see a lot of ol Bail, but he must be a cool guy because at the end of ROTS he takes himself a Jedi baby. Yeah give the baby to the guy who's had maybe 5 minutes of total scene time. Developing Bail from Ep 1 would have given audiences a fresh character, who was previously just a name, that has a direct tie to one of the major players of Ep 4-6. Perhaps he was a former hero of the Republic who has gone into politics, who happens to be on Naboo and ends up tagging along with Padme, Obi Wan and Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon....if it were up to me, his name would be Qui-Gone Bye Bye See Ya.

Qui-Gon Jinn why the hell are you here? Lucas should have rolled the Qui-Gon character into Obi Wan. This would have helped with Obi Wans character arc. As it is Obi Wan doesn't have a strong arc through these films. In ROTJ when ghost Obi is telling Luke basically "I screwed up....its really all my fault..I'm sorry" he is a tragic figure. I envision Obi sitting in exile consumed by guilt and regret...I was reckless I was arrogant and now the whole galaxy is paying the price. Therefore Obi Wan should have been the one who finds Anakin, is surprised by how much the force was with him and takes it upon himself to teach him the ways of Force; like he told Luke in ROTJ. It would have given Obi Wan a strong character arc because the prequels should be as much about the decisions and mistakes Obi Wan makes as much as its about the ones Anakin makes. It should have been Obi Wan's arrogance and insistance that Anakin was the chosen one, that makes him take Anakin away and train him. Not some dieing promise to his master.

Speaking of Anakin, he should have never been a little kid in Episode 1. Yes I know Lucas was wanting to show how a nice little annoying kid could grow up to become the most hated person in the galaxy, however it causes a problem. Namely the love story with Padme. It just doesn't work. Had Anakin been say 14 in Episode 1 then the hints of love could have been put in motion and it would have felt believable. By Episode 2 you would actually believe that they loved each other enough to get married in secret. Lucas could have done the pod race and all that stuff with an older Anakin and it would have made no difference. Also I would have NEVER EVER EVER have called him Ani......EVER.

The original trilogy had Darth Vader. The prequels has......who? Darth Sidious? A scary chin? He doesn't become the visible bad guy until Revenge of the Sith. In Ep 4, almost from the start it was established that Vader would be the villain to Luke's hero. Who is Anakin's villain? Inner conflict? All the promotional material for The Phantom Menace made one believe that Darth Maul would be the Vader of the prequels. And as the film chugged along it seemed that way. Maul mostly stood around and did nothing until the battle at the end; just like Vader in Ep 4. Surely in Ep 2 he would be further developed as Vader was in Ep 5. But then Maul was suddenly sliced in two and falling to his death and that was the end of him. Ok that was kinda.....disappointing. In Attack of the Clones we have Count Dooku, who mostly stood around and did nothing until the battle at the end. He actually lives to see the first 15 minutes of Ep3 where he is killed. Then there is General Grievous (3rd movie, 3rd bad guy). Unlike Darth Maul Grievous doesn't make it to the end of the film. He is killed about half way through. Oh Grievous we barely knew ya.

Lucas himself has said that Grievous represents what Anakin will become: part living tissue, part machine. Oddly enough Anakin never really squares off with the General. But with that idea in mind, General Grievous should have been introduced in Ep 1 as the leader of the droid armies. It could have been Grievous, rather than the Tusken Raiders, who was responsible for the death of Anakin's mother. This would give our hero his villain and provide a logical path to the dark side: hate, anger, revenge. And in the end Anakin would become the very thing that he despised. A part man, part machine monster.

Next time: Part 2 including how Lucas should have ended Ep 3

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Dark Side And You

  • animation powers: fueled by the Force

I, like many a fan, went to see Episode 3 opening night. I had gotten caught up in the hype and was really jazzed about seeing this final installment in the saga. From what I had seen in the trailers I thought for sure that this would be the film that challenged Empire as the best of the Star Wars films. I was prepared for it to rock my world.

After seeing it my world remains to be rocked. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the film. It was by far the best of the prequels. I wanted to love it. But once it was over I decided I couldn't give it my love and that it would best if we were just friends. I might hang out with the film again and we might do things together but I just didn't feel I could give it the unconditional love it so deeply wanted.

Right now I will say that there are spoilers ahead. So proceed at your own risk.

I think Lucas shoved too damn much into this film. Sequences felt too rushed while others just seemed tossed in for no real reason. Why were the Wookies in this film? I'll tell you why, because Lucas thought the fans would like it; same reason that Fett was in the last one. The events with the Wookies were throw away. It was cool to see them, but they never really did much. Tear apart some battle droids. Play a pivotal roll in the ending of the war. Something.

Then there is General Grievous. A character first introduced in the Clone Wars animated series. In the animated series he is a badass Jedi killer. In the film, he's a chicken shit who runs away constantly and needs a cough suppressant. (apparently in the animated show Mace does a Force crunch on the General's chest which is the reason for the cough, however one shouldn't need to do research before seeing a movie). Grievous is introduced, hunted down and promptly killed. The events with Wookies and the tracking down of General Grievous only serve as a means of getting Yoda and Obi away from the Jedi temple before Anakin goes all crazy up in there. Frankly it could have been handled better. While neither the Wookies or Grievous ruined the film, it makes for weak storytelling.

It would have also been nice to see Anakin going ape shit in the Jedi temple. Like with the slaughter of the Tuskain Raiders in AOTC, Lucas doesn't feel we need to see this happen. I would have loved to see Anakin, approach the Jedi he once called friends, and slice them in two. "Hey here comes Ani. Ani we ordered some pizza you want some....hey dude what's your problem....we got you some bread sticks.....snap-hiss....Hey man calm down man.....vvrooomslice slice slice slice. It would have rocked. And for the recorded I fuckin hate it whenever anyone calls Anakin "Ani".

One of the things that really jarred me was how quickly Anakin pledges his allegiance to the Emperor. Unlike in ROTJ, where we see Luke really conflicted as he walks the line between good and evil, Anakin shows no conflict. Yes he has had those moments leading up to this point but now it was do or die time and he didn't even bat an eye. Anakin watches Mace die ...says "What have I done?" then turns to Sidious...."ok I will be your apprentice who should I kill first" Wow just like that....

The ending was another point of contention with me. From the moment I heard that Lucas was planning prequels I thought "If he is smart he will craft them in a way that keeps the surprises in Ep 5 and 6. Because its one GODDAMN story with 6 parts". Lucas, it would seem, is not smart. By the end of Ep 3 we know Anakin is Vader and we know Luke and Leia are the twins. Lucas owed it to his legacy as a film maker to keep some of the suspense in his saga. Yes the whole world knows the secrets. But what of future generations. What of that kid, twenty or thirty years from now, who sits down to watch the saga starting with Episode 1. For future viewers the impact of "Luke I am your father" is forever gone. Instead it seems Lucas again was eager to please the fans and touch on the nostalga of the original trilogy. We see Vader in all his glory looking pretty much the same as he will 20 or so years from now. Come on George. If you feel you must show Vader at least make him look a little different. More frankensteinish and thrown together...allowing for the suit to evolve over time. Hell the clone troopers look different in every damn film, but Vader more or less never changes.

I was also a little bothered by the real quick scene at the end when Yoda tells Obi something about being able to communicate with Qui-Gon. Obi says something to the extent of "wow.... really" then nothing. I was befuddled. What the hell just happened? Wait..what...he's not gonna show Qui-Gon? O-K.

The film had much that I liked. Palpatine vs. Yoda. Yoda wacking the Emperor's Guards with a flick of the wrist. Yoda wacking his assassins. Anakin vs. Obi. Grievous doing the crazy propeller thing with the lightsabers. There was cool stuff....and then there was everything else.

Next time: my suggestions on how Lucas could have improved the prequels

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My pants are almost dry...

  • animation powers: a little moist

While in Destin we visited an outdoor shopping area called Destin Commons; we visited this place several times during the trip. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, got ice cream at Coldstone (where I discovered Chocolate Devotion...if you ever go to a Coldstone ask for one...they toss in a brownie, chocolate chips and hot fudge...its disgustingly delicious), my wife shopped and Wonder-pea and I ran amok in Sharper Image and waved at the choo choo train.

In the midst of all the shops was a kiddie play area and next to this kiddie play area was a square full of fountains. You may have seen this kind of thing. Disney World has them all over the place. It's the kind of fountains that have no basin but rather shoot right up out of the pavement. Many times you will see little kids frolicking in these things, running around getting soaked, falling on the pavement and filing lawsuits. It looks like so, so, so much fun.

Wonder-pea loved to look at the fountains, which would shoot up at random times making for a little water ballet. I happened to notice that before a fountain would activate, a light at the base would come on. Ah-ha. The secret revealed. With this knowledge, and while holding Wonder-pea, we would get really, really close to the fountain base...then when the light would come on we would run away giggling as the water jet shot up behind us. It was so, so, so much fun.....but then I got cocky.

I put Wonder-pea down and said "Hey watch this!!" Oh she was gonna love this. I ran over to the fountain base and stood directly over it, in a heroic pose. It was a risky move to be sure, however I was not worried for I knew the secret. As soon as that light would come on I would race out of the way. I would amaze onlookers and my daughter would laugh and laugh. Surely even an animator's sidekick could move that fast.

And I couldn't have been more wrong. I was looking down at the fountain base...waiting...waiting for the light. I looked up at Wonder-pea and back down at the base. The light was on. Did it just come on? How long has it been on? These thoughts raced through my head as I tried to bolt out of the way. Big anticipation, and I'm outta.......SPLOOSH....the water jet shoots up and blasts me right between the legs. As I scampered away from the fountain I noticed that the water blast favored the front of my shorts which made me look as if I had lost all bladder control. Had the water blast favored the back of my shorts, I would have looked as though I had uncontrollable, explosive diarrhea.

The front of my pants were now soaked, my wife couldn't stop laughing and Wonder-pea had apparently wondered over to look at a plant, at the exact moment that I had looked back down at the fountain base....sigh...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Life's a Beach..then you come home

  • animation powers: rested and refreshed

I am back from the beach; both readers rejoice. So the Friday before last, we loaded up the Animato-mobile, and with hours of Wiggles music loaded into the 6 disc changer, we set off on the two day driving voyage to Destin, FL. All and all it wasn't a bad drive. Driving long distances gives me time to think. To have that inner monologue. To ponder the meaning of things. On this trip the one thing I came to realize was that dear God there is a lot of road kill! There was a squished armadillo at least every 2 miles and for an 800 mile trip, well that's a lot of squished armadillos. Sometimes there would be two squished side by side, like maybe they were on a date. "Oh your gonna love this.... its a place where we can watch the lights go whizzing we are..... isn't this nice.......ah....the blast of air we get when the lights whisk by...isn't that refreshing...wanta get closer.....oh yes I'm sure its safe...come on lets get real close..."

For such a long trip, Wonder-pea did very well. When we weren't rocking out to the Wiggles she was watching Bear and the Big Blue House courtesy of the portable DVD player. Yes portable movies. Just another one of those things we DIDN'T have as kids. I had a walk-man to entertain me on long car trips. Whoopee. A battery powered walk-man that was about the size of a Bible and played cassette tapes. Sweet memories.

So we made it Destin on Saturday and I immediately noticed 2 things when we got out of the Animato-mobile. #1 was the salty sea air and #2 was the disgusting amount of bugs that where splattered all over the front of the vehicle. I nearly vomited......once then...and then every day thereafter until I washed them off.

Now here we are at the condo, which is very nice, its been a long day and we all want to get cleaned up and get to bed. My wife is taking care of Wonder-pea and I decide to take a shower. Taking a shower is pretty much the easiest thing we humans do. It requires very little effort as a shower is quite possibly the 3rd easiest to use invention, that man has ever created; the toilet being the 2nd and the doorknob the 1st.

I'm in the shower. Water is running from the faucet I am ready for descending water action but there is a problem. On top of the faucet there is nothing to pull, push or hit to engage the shower. It is quite simply, just a faucet spewing water. Ok fine, a quick check of the water handle. Humm there is no lever or anything beyond the usual. Maybe I need to pull it forward. No nothing. Push it back. No No. Holy crap how does this thing work! I am now forcibly smacking, pulling, cursing anything on the wall that might actually make water shoot from the shower head.

Eventually I give up. Exit the shower, put on my cloths and went to find my wife.

"What's the matter?", she asks.

"I can't get the shower to come on"

"What?", she replies.

"There's turn on the shower"

So we both go to investigate. And for a few moments she can't figure it out either. Until...she reaches under the faucet in the exact area where the water is coming out...she grabs the ring and pulls it down and the miracle of water comes from the shower head.

"Are you f**ckin kicking me" was about all I could say.

"Well I do have a master's degree after all", she reminded me.

As I got into the shower I glanced at the toilet and wondered what kind of challenge that would pose later. With the way things were going, the flush handle could be a button at the bottom of the toilet bowel under 3 inches of water, who the hell knew. I took my shower that night, confident that one day I would meet the person who designed this shower and when I did I would punch him in the mouth.

Next time: learn why I wet my pants in a public place

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vacation...all I ever wanted....

  • animation powers: beachy
Egads my blog updates have been few and far between. And they will be even fewer as next week I am heading to the beach. Yes its true...vacation!!. My favorite "v" word. We are packing up the Animato-mobile and heading to sunny Florida. Before departing I figured I would give the ol blog an update for both of you readers out there.

Animation Podcast: go check it out. Interviews with top animators in the biz. A great, great idea and first up is part 1 with Andreas Deja. Villains in animated films always strike me as the characters most fun to animate and Andreas has done some of my favorites: Gaston, Jafar, Scar

In other news, last week was Wonder-pea's 2nd birthday and a fun day it was. Her cousin's were in town and we all went to Rainforest Cafe and then to Build a Bear, where Wonder-pea built a bunny; 'cause she's crazy like that. We made her a Pooh cake (that I eat a big piece of every morning for breakfast) which she liked looking at but wasn't really keen on eating.

And finally, because this update is short, tomorrow is Friday and also Red Robin day. Yes we would go there everyday if it didn't mean we'd die 10 years earlier. What a way to kick off vacation? With some Whiskey River Chicken Burgers and a shake......tasty....

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Wanted: Sith Lord

  • animation powers: strong like ox

Have you seen the TV spots for the Episode 3? Yes this is the one when Anakin becomes Vader. We knew it would happen. Vader is being featured quite a lot in the marketing of the film because well.....everybody freaking loves Darth Vader. Then it hit me. One of the many reasons the prequels have been "bleah" is that there is no one bad guy that everyone loves to hate.

In the original trilogy, Vader was the man and by the end of the 3rd film big, bad Vader was defeated. Who is the villain to be defeated in this trilogy? The boring ass Trade Federation? Darth "oo you can't see my eyes..I'm so scary" Sidious?

The promotion for Episode 1 made us all think that Darth Maul would be the Vader of the prequels, but no, he got split in two. In Episode 2 we had Count Doodoo, but he was only almost threatening for about 5 minutes and once Yoda started jumping around everyone was laughing too hard care. Now in Episode 3 we have General Grievous, leader of the droid army who was apparently on holiday during the first 2 films.

Now someone had the theory that Vader embodies the evil hentchmen of the 3 prequels. Vader is ruthless and dangerous like Darth Maul, has the elegant grace of Count Dooku, and the mechanized evil of General Grievous. Its an interesting idea.

Guess we'll see how it all pans out in a couple weeks.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 complete me

  • animation powers: shakey

It has been established amongst many coworkers that tomorrow we will be dining at Red Robin for lunch. RR is like a TGI Friday's or a Chili's, except not called either of those names. The mere mention of "hey do you want to go to Red Robin for lunch?" makes the mouth water and the eyes glaze over. They have, in my opinion, the best damn sandwich...EVER..the Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Burger (also available as a hamburger). The reason said sandwich is hailed as perfection, is that it has fried onion straws on it. Yes you would not think this one item could propel a sandwich to god like statue, but trust me, it does. You get that sandwich and a chocolate shake, and together, you have achieved total bliss.

Every time I go, I get people sucked in to getting the sandwich and the shake. The first time I went with Monkeyman and he asked "what's good here?"...I gave him the pitch. Within moments of the first bites, tears streamed down his face from the total joy. He admitted later that the only other thing that has brought him as much joy, was the birth of his son.

It has come to the point that no matter what size group we have that goes to RR, we all get a Whiskey River Burger and a shake. If someone opts out of a shake we have an immediate intervention....for without the shake its only 60% bliss. And who doesn't want a full 100%?

Tomorrow will be our first time back since the water explosion of two weeks ago.

As the waitress was bring our waters, I was describing a deleted scene from Toy Story in which Woody whooshes Buzz' helment back and kisses him. As I was saying "whoosh" and making a big whoosh gesture with my arm, the waitress was in mid delivery of my water. My arm smacked the glass right out of her flew up slightly and over, hitting MonkeyMan's hand which was in the air, then bounced off the side of his forehead..rotating forward, spilling water all over the table as it hit the table and came to rest. Surprisingly no one got wet....really.

For the next fifteen minutes lunch turned into the JFK assassination committee as we recounted and pieced together those three seconds. We determined where everyone was at the time of impact. If there was a risk of more spillage. And of course tracing the path of the glass through the entire event; which became known as the magic glass theory. We made charts and graphs. We even reenacted the event using really bad actors that looked nothing like us.

Hopefully tomorrows lunch won't be as I will try to better control my arms....

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Tired, tired....oh so tired...

  • animation powers: sleepy

After a few days of screwing around with my secret identity site, I have finally got the thing all up and looking spiffy. I did some reorganizing of things and added a few things. Hopefully it is better than it was before.....better...stronger...faster....I had the power to rebuild it.

I also included some pictures of my pirate desk in the Jimmy Neutron Animation Section. Once we are done with Ant Bully I will probably create a general DNA area. However, since Jimmy is the only DNA thing I can show at the moment, little big head has an area located within a general animation area. Asleep yet? Man I'm about to fall face first on the ol keyboard.

Here's one of the many shots of me pirate theme

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

No fear of evil curses says you...

  • animation powers: powered by Aztec gold

Avast there me hardies. Are ya like me? Did you really dig the Pirates of the Caribbean movie? I always enjoyed the ride at the Disney parks, but I was a bit skeptical as to how that would translate to the big screen. But then I saw the first real trailer and thought "arrrrr....this is gonna rock" And a swashbuckling good time it was at that. I've watched the DVD numerous times. I even have pirate fortress theming around me desk here at the studio...complete with cannon and treasure; be needing to post some pictures.

There are some kick ass POTC action figures out by NECA..check em out:

So, with two sequels in the works, I am both excited and nervous. Excited because....hell yeah..more pirates!!....nervous because they are shooting them back to back ala the Matrix sequels and I wish them not to suck like the Matrix sequels. I've heard rumors that there could be a kid in one of them. Jack's kid/ Will and Elizabeth's kid.......arrr shiver me kids..."You call him Doctor Jones!!"...remember Temple of Doom?? no no. Of course rumors are rumors...

If ye be wanting to keep up on the sequels and all manner of news regarding POTC, check out the fan site Thinking of a visit says you, a proper idea says I........

Friday, April 01, 2005

Fool's named April

  • animation powers: fooling everyone

At the signing of the Declaration of Independence, after John Adams had put fake dog poo on Washington's chair for the umptnth time, our forefathers made the bold decision to devote one day a year to such foolishness....... and thusly April Fool's Day was born. Here we are and unlike most every other day of the year I can think of nothing foolish to say.... or.....can I.....

This one day in grade school I thought it would be hilarious to stick this little eraser thing up my nose....go up to a bunch of girls...fake sneeze and holy eraser. The plan was perfect except for one small problem. After my "Hey everybody watch this!!" I faked sneezed...and..the eraser would not come out. The damn thing was stuck in my nose. A series of tries to blow it out were unsuccessful. I tried again and again and again. Each time becoming a little more violent. At this point my audience...was staring at me as if a third eye had just opened on my forehead...and winked at them. I continued with the unsuccessful blowing of the body moving in a jerky manner like I was having a fit.....or trying to dance.

At the point of giving up I decide to do the "ol close one nostril and blow real hard" trick. Yes it was risky but I had run out of options. As we all know this technique usually means that if anything exits the nose it will continue to travel until it hits something, as its hard to cover your nose while doing a single nostril mega blow. In this case what exited, hit the floor in the form of the eraser, along with a 6 inch long strain of green snottage. It was indeed...... my finest hour.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Toy Story 3

  • animation powers: open windows to the future

I posted this earlier today on CG-Char regarding Disney's sequel division

I would not be surprised if the Disney sequel division does NOT do Toy Story 3. Apparently they are looking for animators. Seems kind of early for a film that's due out in 2008. Pixar doesn't deliver their last film under the present contract until 2006, making 2007 the year of their first potential non-Disney film. Bob Iger will be taking over as CEO of Disney on Sept 30 and has said he and Steve Jobs have been in communication; which seems contrary to what was in the press months back of "its over...blah blah". I'm sure in these the discussions the topic of Toy Story 3 has come up. So what if they put the brakes on TS3? It can happen. Remember the Disney FL studio was doing My Peoples...then one day they weren't. But to not do TS3 may not be the kiss of death to the sequel studio. Disney has made 2D sequels to all their 2D films....logic would suggest they would want the same for all their 3D films.

So here is my prediction: Iger will strike a new deal with Jobs by the end of the year. He will do what Eisner could not and instantly become beloved by Disney fans and stockholders. It will be seen as a sign that the company is on a upswing. Not a bad way to kick off your reign eh? The sequel studio will either A. continue with Toy Story 3 with Pixar's blessing (not likely) or B. start preproduction on Chicken Little 2. Remember Chicken Little? It comes out this fall.I think the idea of Pixar sequels without Pixar was Eisner's way of saying FU to Jobs....we don't need you. With Eisner heading for the door....that could change......

I could be wrong......but if I'm right....well...then someone owes me a cookie....

Monday, March 28, 2005

Clone Wars

  • animation powers: filled with the dark side
After a pretty bleah Monday at worked I came and rewatched some of Cartoon Networks Clone Wars, which if you haven't seen them race on over :

The first series aired last spring and was comprised of 20 episodes clocking in at about 2-3 minutes. The new series are only five episodes at around 10 or so minutes each. They are, in my opinion, much more rewarding than the first 2 prequels movies. It's what we want to see. The Jedi in their prime. There was glimpses of this in the first 2 movies but nothing like what we see in Clone Wars. We see why the Jedi are protectors of the galaxy.....because they kick ass!! No standing in a circle deflecting shots....they actually use the force to throw back swarms of battle droids, to crash ships into each other and to pick crap up and throw it at bad guys.

Remember when Vader tore shit up in Cloud City and threw it at look Luke.....sweeeeet.

They are masters of the force and they know how to use it (remember the force came up with it) the first run of Clone Wars episodes there was a whole bit of Mace vs an army of battle droids...he wiped em out....Yoda didn't appear with reinforcements...he did it all himself. Watching this animated series gets me excited about Star Wars...and yes the 3rd movie....but then I realize that I shouldn't get my hopes too high. Damnit George I want to believe, but from the moment Jar Jar popped on screen....bouncing around like Goofy with a speech impediment, I've been skeptical. However with talk of a future Star Wars something-something coming to TV, I do hope its an animated series...


  • animation powers: low
It's monday. What else is there to say? I'm still recovering from all the chocolate goodness of Easter; curse you peanut butter eggs!! About the only thing exciting happening today is the simple thought that there is a new episode of LOST on Wednesday.....sweet..finally. I pretty much only watch three shows with any regularity. LOST, which rules, Smallville, which sucks more each week and 24. 24...dear dear 24..I just haven't been feeling it this season..its seems a little "been there done that". And you know that no matter what the hell happens Jack will save the day in that last hour. Have the world asplode in that last hour or maybe Jack gives birth....that would be unexpected.

Well not everyone is having a bleah Monday. I want to give a shout out to 2 of our production assistants, Tonymator and Bluebarry, who offically start as animators today. They will be working on two Jimmy Neutron specials that recently went into production here. God be with

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The View from Down Here

  • animation powers: weaken by excess chocolate eggs
Happy Easter everyone! Yes I'm talking to both readers of this blog. I had a revelation in Church today. I was sitting with my daughter at a point when everyone else was standing. As I looked around and noticed other children...some sitting...some standing...I realized that from roughly age 1 to maybe 5..our entire lives our made up of us looking at crotches and butts. Its true. At the eye level of a child that is all they can see. As I kinda slumped down to get more at the eye level of my daughter, I looked around thinking "how do they get along like this, its a people forest at this height. With crotches and butts as far as the eye can see." It made me hope that when aliens invade the planet and start living among us, they are not taller than humans. Having alien crotches and butts at my eye level is not something I can live with...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Death by Chocolate

  • animation powers: weak and defeated

Tonight my wife and I went out to dinner. While at face value this is not something extraordinary we have a daughter who is almost 2. So typically going to dinner is the three of us climbing into the Animato-mobile and heading out someplace kid friendly where we can sit down and eat in about 30 seconds. However tonight was our bi-annual "go out without Wonder-pea". So we went to Saltgrass Steakhouse...ate at a relaxed passed and did the unheard of...we got desert. After reviewing the desert tray of plastic replicas, we made our superpowered decision: brownie sundae.....yummy. When it arrived and we began diving into it, I began to reflect on the tray o plastic we had looked at earlier. Every desert was perhaps 3 times bigger than any mere mortal could eat alone. When did this happen? At what point did they start injecting steriods into the deserts. No no a 2 layer cake isn't big enough...make it 10 layers! So during the course of eating my wife did the "spoon release/push back from the table" signaling she was finished and at last I could pull the goblet close and go to town. Its the signal men wait for during any "desert sharing" experience. In fact when the desert first arrives we are already calculating in our heads how many bites it will take to fill up her wee tummy. And now that it had happened and it was all mine for the taking..mine mine mine. Oh how glorious. But as I looked inside the goblet of fat, I realized there was a lot left and my stomach had just about reached critical mass. But I....must...finish...I.....caaaaaaaaaaaaaan not. The shame. I summoned all the powers a animator sidekick is allowed to have but alas all I could muster was a few wee which point my stomach damn near asploded.

The Blog Begins

  • animation powers: soggy

Yes its a rainy Saturday here in Texas. What better time to start a blog. I've never had my own blog before so it may take me a bit to get it going the way I want. I am but a simple animator-hero sidekick. This strange new world with its....blogs and mini Macs frighten and confuse me. I mean have you seen that mini-Mac? Its like a little candy tin. Give it a look :