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4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

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4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Old 08-27-13, 12:02 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Today, I went over to my sister and brother-in-law's house, and we watched Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. As I've mentioned in other threads, Anderson is one of my favorite directors, and his meticulously detailed world is wondrous to behold. Every time I watch it, there is some new detail that I somehow missed. This time I noticed that one of Badger's children is always dressed in a skeleton Halloween costume; I'm not sure how I missed that! Also, I didn't realize that celebrity chef Mario Batali was the voice of Rabbit. As with most of his films, Fantastic Mr. Fox deals with dysfunctional families and sibling rivalry (this time between cousins and decided one-sided). I really identified with Ash (the Fox clan's son) who really wants to be the best and is constantly upstaged by others.

Favorite line: "Are you a bully? You're starting to sound like a bully."
Old 08-27-13, 11:20 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

My totals this month are terrible so I'm trying to salvage a bit of list dignity in the stretch run. I rented and watched The Secret of NIMH last night because the family had never seen it. So I'm watching for a while (after being annoyed at the foolscreen presentation), and while the characters are pretty dull there's a lot of action. However, I check the running time, and I realize there's not a whole lot of time for the rodents to leave for America and sing the big song.



At that point I realize I was watching the wrong movie, and I really intended to rent An American Tail. Both are 1980s Don Bluth movies about rodents, and the beginning almost implied there'd be some travel involved. Thing is, I didn't watch Don Bluth movies as a kid so it's not like they're deeply embedded in my brain. I actually think The Secret of NIMH ended up as a first-time watch, so hooray for that. But now I'm not sure I have time to return the disc to Netflix and get An American Tail in time to count. Curses on movie stupidity!
Old 08-27-13, 11:49 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

A couple of the young actors (at the time) in The Secret of NIMH...



Old 08-27-13, 12:29 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by wishbone
A couple of the young actors (at the time) in The Secret of NIMH...



I recognize Shannen Dougherty, but I have a funny feeling that even if I look it up on IMDB, I still won't know the second one. Who is it?
Old 08-27-13, 12:39 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
I recognize Shannen Dougherty, but I have a funny feeling that even if I look it up on IMDB, I still won't know the second one. Who is it?
That's Wil Wheaton who now does geeky things on YouTube (geekandsundry).

Also, thanks for link to the interview. Great read!
Old 08-27-13, 12:40 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I like The Secret of NIMH and I watched it for this challenge. Dom DeLuise is hilarious and it was cool to hear Shannen Dougherty and Wil Wheaton early in their careers. One of these years I will read the book the film was based on.
Old 08-27-13, 12:47 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by lisadoris
I like The Secret of NIMH and I watched it for this challenge. Dom DeLuise is hilarious and it was cool to hear Shannen Dougherty and Wil Wheaton early in their careers. One of these years I will read the book the film was based on.
The book is excellent. I read it before seeing the film and really enjoyed both of them.
Old 08-28-13, 12:18 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
The book is excellent. I read it before seeing the film and really enjoyed both of them.
I'll second the book! It's really good.
Old 08-28-13, 02:32 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Followed up Secret of NIMH with a very similar title, The Black Cauldron. I was a big fan of the books when I was a kid but haven't read them in years, so I don't know if they or the movie is to blame for being a complete ripoff of Lord of the Rings. Pretty mediocre overall, but not a waste of time. I sure would like to see someone else take a shot at this material, though, preferably the complete series. I've heard that the Gummi Bears series is a better representation, but I haven't seen it.
Old 08-28-13, 03:09 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I've had another "blah" stretch the last several days with my health so I've been in bed quite a bit. Naturally, this led to being incapable of sleeping tonight. I decided to go ahead and watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume Three. It started off pretty strong. "Frat Aliens" (with Patton Oswalt as the titular screw-offs) and "Total Re-Carl" were both 4-star episodes for me. So was the fifth episode, "The Cloning". Unfortunately, the rest of the set isn't as satisfying.

I really loved the show when it debuted. Some episodes still make me laugh, but I think I've hit a brick wall with it. I've owned the first three volumes for several years now, and kept making a mental note to eventually get the rest of the series. I dusted off Volume One in January for the TV on DVD* Challenge, and now I've gone through Volumes Two and Three this month, and I think I'm bailing on it.

I wish [adult swim] still did that burn-on-demand program where you got to pick out your own episodes. There are enough episodes that hold up that I could be content with such a compilation. Oh, well. I do still have the feature film in my library, and I'll get to that maybe later today or tomorrow. Not so much so that it can win me back over, but so that it can go out when I take the rest of the show.
Old 08-28-13, 08:11 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I won a free Amazon gift card off of one of those surveys for points sites and last weekend I placed an order for Challenge of the Superfriends. It was shipped out Monday. Here's hoping it arrives before the end of the challenge.
Old 08-29-13, 12:58 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by shadokitty
I won a free Amazon gift card off of one of those surveys for points sites and last weekend I placed an order for Challenge of the Superfriends. It was shipped out Monday. Here's hoping it arrives before the end of the challenge.
Congrats! I'm a big fan of that show. Got the sets during the Big Lots sale... realizing that a huge portion of my cartoon collection came from that sale.

I finished up Popeye: Volume 1 and now I'm going through Popeye withdrawals. The second volume is on the top of my list when I start having disposable income again. The Popeye shorts are so charming and stylish. Of course, the stories get repetitive, but just when you think you have seen the formula one too many times, the next short surprises you. My favorites are the episodes with Swee' Pea and the two colored two-reels included in the collection.

I also watched a guilty pleasure - Gnomeo & Juliet (2011). While I know it is a silly, vapid cartoon, I still love it. I think part of it has to do with the supporting cast, especially Stephen Merchant and Ashley Jensen. I love their characters and they bring such energy to the film. Also, Patrick Stewart's cameo is pretty awesome. Plus, there's Elton John music, and I love me some Elton John music. (Had the pleasure of seeing him and Billy Joel in concert a couple years ago - phenomenal!)
Old 08-29-13, 01:28 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I finished off season 3 "Beetlejuice." I really enjoyed it, but by the end it was getting a bit repetitive. There were a few episodes where you could really see the Tim Burton influence. (Prince Vince especially!) By season 3, the show was really getting into swing and all my favorite characters were popping up quite frequently.

I also watched Shrek 3-D for the first time. I was expecting 30 mins, got 15, so am REALLY glad I got it cheap from Big Lots. After looking around, found out that it was really Shrek 4-D and that they made it for theme parks. Had no idea. I did like it. Fast paced, of course. It would have been fun to see it in the 4D presentation. I started out with 3D here, but it looked so awful I switched within seconds to the 2D.

Finished up last night with The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride. Agree with Travis, it is not especially good. I don't think I dislike it as much as he did, but the music was very bland and unmemorable. The story was pretty cliched and I thought it was pretty scary at times, even more than the original, for the kids it was aimed at. That dream sequence, while not only being predictable, was pretty dark.

We're watching my nephew this week and while we are in the middle of a heatwave (mid 90s all the way!), we can't really do much. So this afternoon, we're trying to get to see Monsters University. I've wanted to see it all summer and now I finally get to, just at the tail end of this challenge! Perfect timing!
Old 08-29-13, 10:37 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I did get to Monsters U this afternoon. When the short started, I was totally thrown for about 30 secs until I remember, oh yeah, they usually show a short first! So, I also saw The Blue Umbrella. I liked both, though the short was only ok. I think they've done better, though I did enjoy how they gave everyday objects faces and expressions-like a mail box or the down spout-without drawing a face on. The main feature was cute. I laughed through a lot of it and I enjoyed the ending quite a bit.

After watching the short, I was inspired, so I popped in Pixar Short Films Collection Vol 1.
Old 08-30-13, 09:15 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I think I'm probably done this year. Thought I might get a couple of shorts in last night, but ended up having to work late and got home just in time to watch the Vandy-Ole Miss football game (WOW, what a way to start the season!!!). With football cranking up full blast this weekend, I doubt I'll have time to do much more.

As always, I didn't get to as much as I wanted, but I had fun and that's what counts.
Old 08-30-13, 09:42 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Well, unless it comes today, which is doubtful, as there was still no tracking info yesterday, won't be able to watch any of Challenge of the Superfriends for this challenge. However, that won't stop me from watching it, and ordering more Superfriends DVDs when I get more Amazon gift cards from the site.
Old 08-30-13, 07:19 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Had a lull in the middle of the month and didn't get as far as I hoped. Made it through the first season of Batman The Brave and the Bold and was surprised that half of the episodes were new to me. If you've hesitated watching this because you think it looks too cartoony and kiddie, give it a chance. It's one of those situations where it has appeal to young viewers, but has references that the grown-ups will get. Loads of inside jokes if you know your DC Universe. Goofy fun, yes, but well done goofy fun.

Listen to the lyrics.
Old 08-30-13, 08:07 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by RKillgore
Had a lull in the middle of the month and didn't get as far as I hoped. Made it through the first season of Batman The Brave and the Bold and was surprised that half of the episodes were new to me. If you've hesitated watching this because you think it looks too cartoony and kiddie, give it a chance. It's one of those situations where it has appeal to young viewers, but has references that the grown-ups will get. Loads of inside jokes if you know your DC Universe. Goofy fun, yes, but well done goofy fun.

Listen to the lyrics.
I've seen a handful of episodes of BTBATB (and I have a soft spot for the concept because I subscribed to that comic as a kid), and I really like how it uses nerdy second-tier characters like JLU did.

I'm a fan of Birds of Prey but don't think of Catwoman as a member.
Old 08-30-13, 09:33 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Yesterday and last night, I worked through the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection - 15 Winners DVD compilation. I've already discovered I no longer enjoy Family Guy and that Aqua Teen Hunger Force doesn't entertain me as much as it used to. This collection of shorts was just as disappointing. I think it's time that I concede that I'm too old and/or too sensitive to different subjects to really be entertained by a lot of things anymore. Titles link to my film-specific reviews on Letterboxd:
  1. 8/29 The Milky Way
  2. 8/29 The Yankee Doodle Mouse
  3. 8/29 Mouse Trouble
  4. 8/29 Quiet Please!
  5. 8/29 The Cat Concerto
  6. 8/29 Tweetie Pie
  7. 8/29 The Little Orphan
  8. 8/29 For Scent-imental Reasons
  9. 8/29 So Much for So Little
  10. 8/29 The Two Mouseketeers
  11. 8/29 Johann Mouse
  12. 8/30 Speedy Gonzales
  13. 8/30 Birds Anonymous
  14. 8/30 Knighty Knight Bugs
  15. 8/30 The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

The short version is that I've never liked Tom and Jerry and this set did nothing to win me over. Additionally, the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts tended to rankle me in ways they didn't when I was young. I've already decided to add that DVD compilation to the assortment of titles being purged from my library as a result of this challenge.

The two standouts on the set, though, were So Much for So Little, which blew me away with its depiction of healthcare in 1949, and The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, which was clever and had amazing animation.

I think I'm going to have my niece tomorrow night, and if so, then we're certain to wind up watching some animated movies. We'll see. So far, though, this year's challenge has been more about revealing to me how much my taste has changed than it has been about affirming that I still enjoy things I once did.
Old 08-30-13, 11:03 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777
I've seen a handful of episodes of BTBATB (and I have a soft spot for the concept because I subscribed to that comic as a kid), and I really like how it uses nerdy second-tier characters like JLU did.

I'm a fan of Birds of Prey but don't think of Catwoman as a member.
While it copiously borrows from all manner of DC Universe and history, it builds its own universe too. For instance, The Outsiders, Katana, Black Lightning and Metamorpho, are teenagers. Ted Kord died averting a rocket attack. Dick Grayson is on his own defending Blüdhaven, but is still Robin. Batman was responsible for Eel O'Brien becoming Plastic Man (this universe's Batman must have a thing for knocking hoods into chemical vats).

I agree that it's great that it mostly features second-tier characters, but when they finally get to a Superman episode in the third season, it uses exposure to Red Kryptonite to turn him into "Superman is a dick", directly taking inspiration from the Superdickery website.
Old 08-31-13, 01:49 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Decided since it was obvious I wasn't going to fall asleep very well tonight that I may as well squeeze in something else. I decided to re-watch Superman: Doomsday. From m Letterboxd diary:

Spoiler:
"DOOMSDAY IS COMING FOR SUPERMAN!"

It may not be hyperbolic to say that those five words defined my generation of comic book readers. The death of Superman was a curious event. Speculators flooded comic book shops and gobbled up as many copies of the seven-issue arc as they could. DC Comics went through as many as five printings of some issues, and the secondary market prices remained lofty just the same.

There was, of course, a corresponding cynicism. Who were all these people who professed to "love" Superman, and why hadn't they been buying his comics all along? What we learned, ultimately, is that we as a culture take comfort in being able to take Superman for granted. Even those who never read comics were bothered by the idea of a world without Superman. He should just always be there for us in print. It reflected the mourning process of the characters themselves when they realized just how empty their world had become without their protector.

When Warner Bros. Animation announced that they were adapting the story as the launch title of their Animated Original Movie series of direct-to-video features, I wasn't alone in feeling a twinge of excitement. What would it look like to actually watch in animation what we had previously had to construct mentally from the still panels of the comics?

The entire saga of "The Death and Life of Superman" was much too big for a standalone, 90-minute adaptation so we weren't surprised by the abridgment of it. I know some fans were disappointed by the streamlining and outright re-writing of everything after the showdown with Doomsday, but I give Bruce Timm and his team credit for distilling it to a digestible narrative.

The first half hour is some of the most gripping Superman storytelling ever put on screen. Unlike the gratuitous destruction in this year's Man of Steel, there's a palpable urgency to the fight between Superman and Doomsday. We're reminded throughout the fight that there are actual people in Metropolis, whom Superman is desperate to protect. At all times, we are mindful that more is at stake than soulless buildings. This is one key area where this animated feature completely schools Zack Snyder's live action film.

The other thing that's perfect throughout Superman: Doomsday is Lois Lane. Her characterization is spot on, Anne Heche's voice work is impeccable, and the animators did an amazing job with her facial expressions and body language. Her bottom lip quivering when she meets Martha Kent is one of the most emotional moments I can recall seeing in animation.

Where Superman: Doomsday gets into trouble is its last thirty minutes. The introduction of the cloned Superman stopping the truly creepy and unsettling Toyman is well done, but everything after that feels predictable and formulaic. It isn't because I'd read the comics, of course, because that's the third that's pretty much completely original (though keeping to the overall concepts of the source material). It's because of the execution.

We learn quickly that the resurrected Superman isn't who he seems to be and that he's in the control of Lex Luthor. Right after that, we find that the Fortress of Solitude's robot has retrieved the real Superman and that he's being revived. Then comes a rather tedious killing of time to get us to the inevitable showdown, which unfortunately isn't very exciting. We've already seen Superman in the fight of his life against Doomsday just an hour prior. Watching the same moves against himself, knowing he'll win, lacks the emotional meaning of the earlier struggle.

It reminds me of The Princess Bride, really. In the screenplay, William Goldman simply wrote that the sword fight between Westley and Inigo Montoya is supposed to be the "second best" sword fight in cinema history, and that the showdown in the finale between Inigo and the six-fingered man is supposed to be the greatest. Except, it isn't. The Westley/Inigo duel eclipses it entirely.

The first 2/3 of Superman: Doomsday are excellent, though, and while it ends so flatly, I still point to it as the most satisfying Superman screen adventure I've yet seen in any medium.

Superman: Doomsday was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #392/1561


***SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS***

Superman: Doomsday
Watch works from 3 different studios:
-X- Warner Bros

Watch works from 3 different directors:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch 5 Annie Awards - Winsor McCay Award Winners:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch animation from at least 9 different decades:
-X- 2000 (2007)

Watch animation from at least 4 different ratings:
-X- PG-13

Watch animation from at least 6 different genres:
-X- Action
-X- Science Fiction

[Side note: It occurred to me just now that there are six names in both the Directors and Winsor McCay Award Winners lists. We should probably eliminate the redundant names from the Directors list next year.]
Old 08-31-13, 05:39 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Decided since it was obvious I wasn't going to fall asleep very well tonight that I may as well squeeze in something else. I decided to re-watch Superman: Doomsday. From m Letterboxd diary:



***SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS***

Superman: Doomsday
Watch works from 3 different studios:
-X- Warner Bros

Watch works from 3 different directors:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch 5 Annie Awards - Winsor McCay Award Winners:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch animation from at least 9 different decades:
-X- 2000 (2007)

Watch animation from at least 4 different ratings:
-X- PG-13

Watch animation from at least 6 different genres:
-X- Action
-X- Science Fiction

[Side note: It occurred to me just now that there are six names in both the Directors and Winsor McCay Award Winners lists. We should probably eliminate the redundant names from the Directors list next year.]
I own Superman Doomsday, and agree with your opinions wholeheartedly.
Old 08-31-13, 07:27 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Decided since it was obvious I wasn't going to fall asleep very well tonight that I may as well squeeze in something else. I decided to re-watch Superman: Doomsday. From m Letterboxd diary:



***SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS***

Superman: Doomsday
Watch works from 3 different studios:
-X- Warner Bros

Watch works from 3 different directors:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch 5 Annie Awards - Winsor McCay Award Winners:
-X- Bruce Timm [co-director]

Watch animation from at least 9 different decades:
-X- 2000 (2007)

Watch animation from at least 4 different ratings:
-X- PG-13

Watch animation from at least 6 different genres:
-X- Action
-X- Science Fiction

[Side note: It occurred to me just now that there are six names in both the Directors and Winsor McCay Award Winners lists. We should probably eliminate the redundant names from the Directors list next year.]
Hmm.. perhaps I need to rematch this film. According to my database, I watched it December 2010. I remember being so frustrated (and a little angry) at the final acts that they spoiled the entire film for me. However, I sometimes judge films too harshly or lose sight of the good qualities while obsessing with the poor ones.
Old 08-31-13, 09:20 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Did a bit of an ALF marathon last night to finish up season one. Man, I love that show all over again. I got 4 seasons of Dr. Katz done, so that was a good effort. Did not even TOUCH my Flintstones box set, even though that was my original goal. Weird how that happens. Next year, I guess.

Last edited by pacaway; 08-31-13 at 09:29 AM.
Old 08-31-13, 09:21 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Decided since it was obvious I wasn't going to fall asleep very well tonight that I may as well squeeze in something else. I decided to re-watch Superman: Doomsday.
Hmmm... Since that's the story line that brought me back into comics maybe I should give the film a try after all. After Infinite Crisis [aka Infinite Crossover Burnout] I no longer purchase the Superman titles but I *do* pick up ~20 indie titles monthly.

I pretty much hit my limit with animation earlier this month. It was my own fault for watching animation exclusively. I've never been able to do that, even when a kid. The last couple of weeks have been spent finishing Flash Gordon in the 25th Century and *finally* watching the full run of the original Battlestar Galactica. I must say it was a far better series than I'd been giving it credit for over the years. I never watched past the first 4-5 episodes during the initial run as it felt like a dumbed down kiddie show. It really began to improve after those episodes. Oh well...

So... I'm back on track for the final day and am currently working on completing Mission Hill. So far it's been pretty good. I'd put off watching this one as I'd only purchased it because I got it real cheep ($3) at BL a few years back. Sometimes on stuff like that I'll find what sounded interesting is really a chore to get through so I tend to put off watching such purchases until I'm really bored. That way if it's bad I don't feel so bad about the "wasted" time. I should have pulled it out earlier. I'm surprised it didn't have a longer run.

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