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4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

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4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Old 08-03-13, 04:52 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I decided to start with Batman: TOS and went to find all the volumes *now* so I don't have to interrupt the viewing later. I easily locate V1, V3, & V4 but V2 is being elusive. I pull out *all* the unwatched TV stuff from the various cubby holes, nooks, and cranies *twice* and it's nowhere to be found (there are many with several that are 3 layers deep and it took about an hour). I *know* I have a copy as it was the first volume of the series I purchased. I finally decide it can't be found when I realize *I've already watched it!* and it's on the "I've watched it already" shelves! I go look... Yep... there it is... I check my challenge lists to find I watched it *two years ago* on August 5th & 6th! That's when I remember I'd done that to make sure I really wanted to purchase the rest of the series. Man... I gotta get more sleep...
Old 08-03-13, 07:01 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Thanks for posting that information about episode order! I'd purchased that series out of order and was waiting to start watching for this years challenge as I finally picked up V1 a few months back. Looks like I'll be researching the proper viewing order before I start the journey.
EpGuides.com has a handy list of the series showing both production number and airdate.

What throws off the DVD sequencing is that the very first episode to air was "The Cat and the Claw, Part I"...on a Saturday. "On Leather Wings" aired on a Monday, and "The Cat and the Claw, Part II" didn't air until the Saturday after Part I. Ergo, the decision to be made when sequencing the DVDs was: which makes the most sense? They went with an amalgamation of production and airdate order. There may be some continuity issues in Volume One, since those were the lion's share of the first episodes and therefore introduced and established everyone, but to be honest I wouldn't sweat worrying about sequencing unless you're really just that determined.

Originally Posted by lisadoris
"Yesteryear" is a wonderful episode and I'd put it as one of the top episodes in all of Trek.
I have it at #10 on my cumulative, ongoing ranked list of TOS/TAS.

Volume 1 of Batman: TAS has some wonderful episodes: "Appointment in Crime Alley," "Beware the Gray Ghost," and "Two-Face."
"Appointment in Crime Alley" wound up my highest-ranked episode of the entire series, and second only to the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm for that continuity when I went back through it all last December. I often balk at melodrama, but that show absolutely nailed it time and again.

I hate to keep harping on my own previously written remarks about that show, but I also hate to be repetitive. My laziness is the tie-breaker so I'll just leave this here. I wrote about for each of the four DVD volumes on my blog. Here's Volume One. You'll see links to the other three volumes there.

One observation I made then that I will go ahead and repeat is how remarkable it was that for the first time in my generation, mainstream animation featured guns firing actual bullets. After a decade of laser blasts that only ever stunned people, these weapons were real guns. I wasn't very cognizant of how important that was at the time, but in retrospect it's one of the elements that makes it such a point of demarcation from the "cartoons" of my childhood to the "animated series" of my adolescence.

Speaking of Harvey Dent, can some comic book readers answer a question for me: in the comics, how does Harvey Dent become Two-Face? The Animated Series has one scenario and the live action films have their own stories but I never looked into what the original source material said.
Sad as it is, the truncated origin shown in about 15 seconds in Batman Forever is the one most consistent with the comic books, but as with all such things all that really matters is which origin story goes with which continuity/incarnation.

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Part of that was I've never been a fan of the way Filmation does animation. I've always considered the majority of HB's work from the late 60s/early 70s to be sub-par and have always ranked Filmation below that.
As I noted earlier in this thread (and I only repeat here because we've already had a lot of discussion and maybe you missed it, though it's just as likely you saw it and already commented on it and I've forgotten), but the reason for that was that the president of Filmation held out as long as he financially could to keep production in the United States rather than to outsource to cheaper foreign animators. He considered it worthwhile to recycle stock footage and keep American animators on the payroll.

Originally Posted by N8 Storm
Is there a point system this year? Like in the first couple years, 4 half hour episodes of a show equaled one movie.
Animation has always been kind of a hard challenge for counting, with the blend of feature films that almost always have short running times, and episodes and short films with a wide spectrum of run times. If you look at my list, I'm keeping both a running "easy point" system tally and a "traditional counting method" converted score. It's easy so far, but as the month wears on I may abandon the conversion process because, as we all know, math is hard.
Old 08-03-13, 07:10 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

As for me, after yet another rough day/night, I was up early this morning and elected to pop in the Ratatouille DVD. Titles link to my Letterboxd diary entries:

***SPOILER ALERTS FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS***

Lifted
Spoiler:
I remember loving Lifted when I saw it play before Ratatouille six years ago, but I've not seen it since. It may actually be better than I had remembered.

What makes it so brilliant is the inspired twist that the alien abduction is some kind of training exercise or "abductor's test". As soon as we cut to the spaceship and see the alien with the clipboard, we understand exactly what is taking place. I've long espoused the virtues of short films in large part because they dispense with narrative clutter out of necessity. Everything we need to know to understand the who, what, where, how and why of this premise is conveyed in that one shot. (When it happens isn't particularly relevant, though even at that we know from the foliage and the open window that it must be during a warm time of year.)

The comedy itself is fairly routine, but what makes it work is that our sympathy lies not with the oblivious, sleeping human subject but with the hapless trainee. That kind of rookie frustration is universal. We get it. We've been there. We know his pain, and it's probably even more crushing than the pain inflicted on the human being. We don't wince because the human is being treated like a rag doll. We wince because this well-intentioned alien just can't seem to get it right. We identify with him. We root for him. And when it's all over, we exhale with him as it's just finally behind him.

Lifted was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #370/1539


Ratatouille
Spoiler:
Ratatouille is very nearly a self-allegory. It's possibly the most under-appreciated Pixar feature to date, and almost certainly the most daring. though WALL-E gives it a run for its money in that respect. Sometimes I try to imagine the pitch meetings that take place at Pixar.

JAN PINKAVA: You guys! There, I was, vegged out in front of the Food Network all day, right? And then I had this idea out of, like, nowhere. You ready? What if we make a movie about a French restaurant?

EVERYONE ELSE: ...

JAN PINKAVA: But the chef...is a rat.

EVERYONE ELSE: Go on.

I didn't realize that Ratatouille even originated with Jan Pinkava until now, having always assumed it was Brad Bird's project from the beginning. Instead, he came to it after it had already been in development and production for a few years. It's a testament to Bird that he inherited someone else's fresh and original idea and managed to turn in such a solid film.

This is the sort of idea that seems on paper at best suited for a short film. How much storytelling mileage can there really be to a rat who controls a chef? How interesting will the standard Pixar audience even be in such things as the oakiness and nuttiness of ingredients? His eye on the prize, though, Bird gives us a buddy story predicated on the dual themes of one character striving for the seemingly unattainable and the other listlessly in search of his own identity.

The two universal themes complement one another smoothly, aided in large part by Bird's refusal to allow Remy to speak verbally to Linguini. It seems a peculiar storytelling decision to say that, yes, the rats are capable of abducting and tying up two different people but not capable of holding a verbal conversation. Somehow, though, restriction allows the conceit of the film to function with more legitimacy.

Also daring is the subplot concerning Linguini's parentage. Never did I anticipate encountering in a Pixar film a character whose conception was kept secret even from his father. It's kind of a murkily told aspect of the narrative, enough so that I can imagine younger viewers not quite getting it but I can also envision more than a few "Wait, what?" reactions similar to my own. It's contrived, but it's so unexpected that it emboldens the film overall.

I would be remiss were I not to make mention of Michael Giacchino's score. Sure, it's at times appropriately "French" (i.e., features an accordion), and often light but it's the action music that stood out to me this time. Specifically, I was caught by the scene early in the film in which Remy and his brother Emile are caught by the old woman in her kitchen. There was something about that music that felt very John Williams-esque, specifically straight out of Williams's Indiana Jones work. It's particularly interesting because that aesthetic is not dominant in the rest of the score, but it's conspicuous there.

"Fine Food and Film: A Conversation with Brad Bird and Thomas Keller" featurette (13:57) **
I was a bit disappointed that this "conversation" doesn't have Bird and Keller actually together. Rather, it's cut together from separate on-screen remarks each made about their respective crafts, backgrounds and work philosophies. The chief flaw is that while the point is to emphasize the parallels between animation and cooking, at just under 14 minutes it stops being parallel and just becomes redundant to have one articulate the same point as the other.

Deleted Scene - Chez Gusteau (3:57) ***
Bird rightly justifies excising this introductory shot of Gusteau's on the basis that it isn't from any particular character's perspective and therefore doesn't connect to anyone in the story. I would have added that the lavish entrance through the front door is inconsistent with the back of the house story being told. Ratatouille isn't about the Gusteau's that the world would see; it's about Remy and Linguini's story there.

Also: I never realized until this deleted scene that the doors leading to the kitchen were designed to look like the face of The Iron Giant, which of course was also written and directed by Bird.

Deleted Scene - Meet Gusteau (5:57) ***
I didn't realize until Bird's comments on this deleted scene that he came to the film after it had already been conceived and partly developed. It was he who made the decision to have Linguini's hat be translucent, rather than have Remy peer through the hat (a wise choice).

I do like one key thing about seeing this scene: It establishes for me how a bottom-line-minded totalitarian like Skinner could ever rise to a position of prominence under Gusteau in the first place. I wish some version of this scene had survived into the final film, because that's one of the key glaring areas for me.

Deleted Scene - First Day (5:12) ***
This scene was largely intact in the final film, though with the two obvious changes that Remy lost a lot of his autonomy and the rest of the cooking staff became deemphasized. I would have liked to have seen them placing bets on Linguini, but its absence doesn't detract from the scene.

Ratatouille was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #231/1539


-X- Watch 2 films from Filmspotting Top 100 Animated Films
-X- Watch 2 Annie Awards Best Animated Feature winners
-X-Watch a Saturn Award for Best Animation Film winner
-X- 2000 (2007)
-X- G
-X- Mostly or all CGI
-X- Comedy

One could also argue this for Fantasy and Romance.

Your Friend the Rat
Spoiler:
I'd not previously seen Your Friend the Rat, since my Ratatouille DVD had remained neglected all this time. In Internet parlance, "Pixar should teach all the history!" I got a kick out of this 11 minute short history of rats. It clearly evokes memories of "Sherman & Mr. Peabody" segments from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, and that's never a bad thing.

Your Friend the Rat entered my Flickchart at #842/1540


Lifted and Your Friend the Rat also count as 16:25 toward 90 minutes of short films.
Old 08-03-13, 09:19 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
"Appointment in Crime Alley" wound up my highest-ranked episode of the entire series, and second only to the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm for that continuity when I went back through it all last December. I often balk at melodrama, but that show absolutely nailed it time and again.
I checked out your list and it made me even more excited to revisit Mask of the Phantasm which I absolutely love but am saving until I finish the TAS box sets. "Crime Alley" gives you Bruce Wayne's back story but without hitting you over the head with it. The final shot of Dr. Thompkins embracing Batman and the transition to the picture of her holding a young Bruce Wayne is still heartbreaking.

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I hate to keep harping on my own previously written remarks about that show, but I also hate to be repetitive. My laziness is the tie-breaker so I'll just leave this here. I wrote about for each of the four DVD volumes on my blog. Here's Volume One. You'll see links to the other three volumes there.
Solid write-up of volume one (I'll read as I watch). As many times as I've watched and loved "Beware the Gray Ghost" I never realized that was Adam West doing the voice until now! See, you learn something new everyday.

I think the maturity of the show is one of the reasons why it's holding up so well. It didn't pander to a "young" audience: the show told the stories it wanted to tell and you never outgrow good storytelling. I only have two complaints about the show and neither are a big deal: first, the fact that it's been over 20 years since this show started makes me feel old; and second, I wish they would clean it up a bit and release it on blu.
Old 08-03-13, 09:56 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by lisadoris
I checked out your list and it made me even more excited to revisit Mask of the Phantasm which I absolutely love but am saving until I finish the TAS box sets.
If you're going in chronological order (at all), then technically you'll want to revisit Mask of the Phantasm during Volume Three. It was released Christmas 1993, before The Adventures of Batman & Robin debuted in 1994. It's hard to really do, with the way they arranged the DVDs. I think my solution was to watch it between Discs 2 and 3 of Volume Three. It doesn't affect continuity, but The Adventures of Batman & Robin emphasized action and humor instead of the crime noir melodrama of B:TAS proper.

At the very least, you'll want to watch Mask of the Phantasm and SubZero between Volume Three and Volume Four, because Volume Four contains The New Batman Adventures with the revamped design work. Much more than The Batman & Robin Adventures, that incarnation has its own identity entirely.

If you have it handy, I would also suggest prefacing Volume Four with The Batman/Superman Movie. That was the three-parter "World's Finest" (found on Superman: The Animated Series Volume Two). It aired just an episode or two into TNBA, so it was just easier for me to start with the Superman team-up and then go onto Volume Four in its entirety.

"Crime Alley" gives you Bruce Wayne's back story but without hitting you over the head with it. The final shot of Dr. Thompkins embracing Batman and the transition to the picture of her holding a young Bruce Wayne is still heartbreaking.
That final shot is the most emotional moment in the entire series, and there are several truly great ones. But for me, her silently reaching out to the bent down, grieving Bruce Wayne - and he's clearly Bruce Wayne in that moment regardless of the costume - man, that's the good stuff. Moments like that were what really redefined what mainstream animation could do, and what we could expect and demand from it.

I think the maturity of the show is one of the reasons why it's holding up so well. It didn't pander to a "young" audience: the show told the stories it wanted to tell and you never outgrow good storytelling.
If you ever get the chance to read it, DC Comics published a "tie-in" series set in the same universe/continuity as B:TAS. The first incarnation was The Batman Adventures. It ran for 36 issues, plus there were two Annual issues and a few one-shot tie-ins, such as The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, which was later adapted as one of The New Batman Adventures episodes. When they relaunched the show as The Adventures of Batman & Robin, DC followed suit and created the parallel Batman & Robin Adventures. It ran for 25 issues, plus 2 annuals and the adaptation of SubZero.

Later, of course, DC kept up with the show when it was reincarnated as The New Batman Adventures and created Batman: Gotham Adventures. It ran for 60 issues. Then they relaunched with Batman Adventures, which ran for 17 issues.

They did an amazing job with those books, being consistent with the tone of the series while still creating something independent of it. I *think* all of those issues can be acquired through comiXology to be read on a digital device. The Batman Adventures #1 is presently free and can be downloaded here.

I stopped keeping up with it some time near the end of The Batman & Robin Adventures and I missed all of Batman: Gotham Adventures, but that first run of The Batman Adventures rates as one of the best Batman comic book runs I've ever read. I'm actually about to go back through and re-read it in its entirety soon.

I only have two complaints about the show and neither are a big deal: first, the fact that it's been over 20 years since this show started makes me feel old; and second, I wish they would clean it up a bit and release it on blu.
I can entirely relate to complaint #1! As for complaint #2, I honestly don't think it's even practical. I listened to all the commentary tracks when I went through my DVD sets recently and the remarks there made it pretty clear that the masters for some episodes are pretty rough. The DVD prints are really the best that they could manage to present on home video. Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman received a Blu-ray release earlier this year, and there's hope we'll at least get the other movies, but I would be stunned if the series itself ever gets the HD treatment.
Old 08-03-13, 10:19 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by lisadoris
...can some comic book readers answer a question for me: in the comics, how does Harvey Dent become Two-Face? The Animated Series has one scenario and the live action films have their own stories but I never looked into what the original source material said.
Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Sad as it is, the truncated origin shown in about 15 seconds in Batman Forever is the one most consistent with the comic books, but as with all such things all that really matters is which origin story goes with which continuity/incarnation.
The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (Aug. 1942) as "Harvey Kent" (later changed to Dent to avoid confusion with Clark Kent and people thinking they were related). A DA and former ally of Batman, Dent went insane after mob boss Sal Maroni threw acid at him during a trial, scarring the left side of his face. Dent became a criminal and adopted the "Two-Face" persona.

That version is the most consistent across the comics, but like Travis indicates all that really matters is the continuity of story. There have been several imposters and versions of "Two-Face" not all of which received the scarring via acid in the face.

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
EpGuides.com has a handy list of the series showing both production number and airdate.

What throws off the DVD sequencing is that the very first episode to air was "The Cat and the Claw, Part I"...on a Saturday. "On Leather Wings" aired on a Monday, and "The Cat and the Claw, Part II" didn't air until the Saturday after Part I. Ergo, the decision to be made when sequencing the DVDs was: which makes the most sense? They went with an amalgamation of production and airdate order. There may be some continuity issues in Volume One, since those were the lion's share of the first episodes and therefore introduced and established everyone, but to be honest I wouldn't sweat worrying about sequencing unless you're really just that determined.
I found similar links and pretty much came to that same conclusion. There's one site where a guy analizes the continuity and rationalizes a completely different viewing order that keeps everything on a somewhat of a timeline. It's interesting but looks like *far* more work swapping disks than I really want to mess with. I just jumped in and am going for "DVD order" in spite of it not fully matching the timeline and introduces issues with the appearance of Robin. So far it's not bothered me but I really feel that's because Batman is a character I can watch or read and not be bothered by people dropping in/out of his life or timeline continuity being "off".
Originally Posted by Travis McClain
One observation I made then that I will go ahead and repeat is how remarkable it was that for the first time in my generation, mainstream animation featured guns firing actual bullets. After a decade of laser blasts that only ever stunned people, these weapons were real guns. I wasn't very cognizant of how important that was at the time, but in retrospect it's one of the elements that makes it such a point of demarcation from the "cartoons" of my childhood to the "animated series" of my adolescence.
Batman: TAS is the animated series that convinced me some "cartoons" were finally headed back on track. While I grew up with some real groaners (like everyone) there were some very good series (Jonny Quest in particular) that weren't the typical recycled gags every week on every show with only different characters and IMHO have stood the test of time. By the time I had kids I'd pretty much written off "Saturday AM" cartoons as most were done "on the cheap" or were nothing more than extended commercials for some toy line.
Originally Posted by Travis McClain
As I noted earlier in this thread (and I only repeat here because we've already had a lot of discussion and maybe you missed it, though it's just as likely you saw it and already commented on it and I've forgotten), but the reason for that was that the president of Filmation held out as long as he financially could to keep production in the United States rather than to outsource to cheaper foreign animators. He considered it worthwhile to recycle stock footage and keep American animators on the payroll.
I saw that discussion and was formulating a response but never posted. I appreciate what the president of Filmation was attempting to do but it was a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". By keeping production in the US they sacrificed *some* quality (programs done by foreign animators at that time were really not much better) but were really only following the trend of animation aimed at kids. Basically make it as quickly and cheeply as possible because the kids will never notice. To a degree that's true but I noticed at a young age how many Saturday AM cartoons were not animated very well. I could tell the difference in a Warner Brothers cartoon and those from HB, Filmation, and others intended for Saturday AM broadcast. Overall their animation wasn't truly any better or worse than the outsorced material from other production companies. It's a combination of several somewhat "trademark" factors that makes a Filmation production almost instantly recognizable and look somewhat "cheaper": slow pans across static backgrounds, seemingly heavier re-use of animation sequences, extreme over use of the same 20 or so sound effects (but others were guilty of this as well), over use of "stock" footage coupled with quick cuts to "hide" the practice, and pushing "limited animation" to its limits. It really makes them a unfair target as all the "biggies" at the time, Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and Jay Ward (whose scripts/stories made those productions rise above the poor animation), were guilty of doing much the same thing. Filmation actually tended to have higher quality scripts for many of their programs but still had their fair share of "bad" scripts and cliche' type programs.
Old 08-03-13, 10:31 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

It occurs to me to ask, actually, what specific episodes bothered y'all about Robin appearing. The premise all along was that he was already Batman's partner, away at Gotham University when the show begins and we first meet everyone. There was no formal introductory episode for him. He did just kinda show up. "Robin's Reckoning" is his origin story, but it was never presented as his first appearance in the show.
Old 08-03-13, 11:14 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

^Nothing for me. I'm about a half dozen episodes in and the only thing that is even remotely "off" so far is in one early episode the Police are hunting Batman as a criminal and the next they're all buddy-buddy. But that truly doesn't bother me like watching a continuing series out of order normally would. I think it's because I've been reading Batman stories for decades with the comics going back and forth seemingly at will. You know how it is, you'll read a "new" story that actually takes place in Batman's early years and the next arc will be the current timeline. That long comic history makes me comfortable with just about any order as long as multi-parters are in proper sequence.
Old 08-03-13, 11:23 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
^Nothing for me. I'm about a half dozen episodes in and the only thing that is even remotely "off" so far is in one early episode the Police are hunting Batman as a criminal and the next they're all buddy-buddy. But that truly doesn't bother me like watching a continuing series out of order normally would. I think it's because I've been reading Batman stories for decades with the comics going back and forth seemingly at will. You know how it is, you'll read a "new" story that actually takes place in Batman's early years and the next arc will be the current timeline. That long comic history makes me comfortable with just about any order as long as multi-parters are in proper sequence.
Indeed. That background as a comic book reader served me in good stead during my undergrad studies!
Old 08-03-13, 01:24 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

All this talk of Batman: TAS really makes me want to watch it. I was eight when the series aired and quickly became obsessed. My obsession with the show lead to a very short period where I would buy and read Batman comics, and in many ways, animated Batman is the Batman to me. I find myself scrutinizing all other adaptations against the animated series.

I've been rewatching Sealab 2021, a show that I'm a bit ashamed that I love so much. While a lot of the humor is very juvenile and nonsensical, there are very interesting episodes with very complex jokes and sequences that never fail to have me rolling on the floor. I haven't watched the show in years so it's been fun reacquainting myself with the show - makes me feel like I'm back in my crappy college apartment.
Old 08-03-13, 01:38 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
All this talk of Batman: TAS really makes me want to watch it. I was eight when the series aired and quickly became obsessed. My obsession with the show lead to a very short period where I would buy and read Batman comics, and in many ways, animated Batman is the Batman to me. I find myself scrutinizing all other adaptations against the animated series.
Effing kids, man. What do they know?

(Your eight year-old self was right, by the way. That *is* the definitive take on the character and his mythology!)
Old 08-03-13, 06:45 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I just watched my first head scratcher of the challenge, "Street of Crocodiles." It used puppets. It was fairly dark and mysterious. And that's about all I understood. If I follow the music, I think it may have been a horror story? But I'm not sure. It's about 20 mins long and qualifies for both the ASIFA's Top 50 Animated Short Films and the puppet checkmark's if anyone else wants to try it.
Old 08-03-13, 07:21 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765
Well, glad you're going ahead on the watching even without the grandkids. I think I like it more as I grow older.
I watched Nightmare Before Christmas earlier today. I understand why my grandson doesn't care for it. It's mainly a musical! For that reason I, too, don't like it as much as I would if it were done without the music. The story is very good and the execution is excellent but I'm not a fan of musicals and generally avoid them. This one had some good songs but overall I'm still not too sure about it because it was done almost entirely in song. It will take another viewing or two to see if it grows on me enough to make the list of the handful of musicals I'll watch without someone else making the request. I frequently expected to hear Pink Floyd's "The Trial" (from "The Wall") to start playing as much of the music fit the feel of that particular piece.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 08-03-13 at 07:31 PM.
Old 08-03-13, 08:05 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Now that I'm back home, I started my challenge. My first view of the challenge was also a first time view. I saw Planet 51 was the Saturday evening movie on Cartoon Network and since I had never seen it, decided to give it a try. I have to say it was quite an enjoyable movie.
Old 08-03-13, 10:43 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
I watched Nightmare Before Christmas earlier today. I understand why my grandson doesn't care for it. It's mainly a musical! For that reason I, too, don't like it as much as I would if it were done without the music. The story is very good and the execution is excellent but I'm not a fan of musicals and generally avoid them. This one had some good songs but overall I'm still not too sure about it because it was done almost entirely in song. It will take another viewing or two to see if it grows on me enough to make the list of the handful of musicals I'll watch without someone else making the request. I frequently expected to hear Pink Floyd's "The Trial" (from "The Wall") to start playing as much of the music fit the feel of that particular piece.
You know, I never even thought to mention it had a lot of music in it? I guess I don't think of it as such. And I like musicals so it's not a big deal for me. But yeah, the music does have an integral role in the movie and helps the characters express themselves. I am glad you watched it though!
Old 08-04-13, 12:16 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
I watched Nightmare Before Christmas earlier today. I understand why my grandson doesn't care for it. It's mainly a musical! For that reason I, too, don't like it as much as I would if it were done without the music. The story is very good and the execution is excellent but I'm not a fan of musicals and generally avoid them.
I'm pretty anti-musical, too. I had a similar, though lesser, reaction the first time I saw it. I've found in subsequent viewings that I really do enjoy that film. Incidentally, you'll find Corpse Bride is also a musical. Personally, I think its songs are a lot stronger, though admittedly it's been several years since I last saw it or heard anything from it. Bonejangles is pretty cool.
Old 08-04-13, 04:50 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I'm pretty anti-musical, too. I had a similar, though lesser, reaction the first time I saw it. I've found in subsequent viewings that I really do enjoy that film. Incidentally, you'll find Corpse Bride is also a musical. Personally, I think its songs are a lot stronger, though admittedly it's been several years since I last saw it or heard anything from it. Bonejangles is pretty cool.
I was very bemused the other day to sit down with Wall-E, and have it start with Michael Crawford singing his main song from Hello Dolly!

Very odd!
Old 08-04-13, 04:53 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (Aug. 1942) as "Harvey Kent" (later changed to Dent to avoid confusion with Clark Kent and people thinking they were related). A DA and former ally of Batman, Dent went insane after mob boss Sal Maroni threw acid at him during a trial, scarring the left side of his face. Dent became a criminal and adopted the "Two-Face" persona.
Maroni smuggled the acid into the courtroom by pretending it was medicine. In some/many of the better re-tellings of the origin, Bruce Wayne is in the public gallery, and despite being suspicious of Maroni (and even tackling him personally after he throws the acid, I seem to recall), he doesn't act on his suspicions. Making him feel personally responsible for Harvey's scarring...


I've never seen a single episode of B:TAS. Read a lot of the comics, but I'm holding out for a good deal on the Complete DVD set (with book), and having a hard time finding one...
Old 08-04-13, 05:31 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon
I've never seen a single episode of B:TAS. Read a lot of the comics, but I'm holding out for a good deal on the Complete DVD set (with book), and having a hard time finding one...
It's out of print. You can pretty much give up holding out for an attractive price on that box set. Not that it's any of my business, but I can't quite understand someone who hasn't seen a single episode insisting on the complete box set edition. If it's any consolation, my friend has the box set. The book is okay, but hardly a must-own. A lot of it consists of character design work that can be readily seen online, often in higher detail. The text portion doesn't offer any insights that can't similarly be found in any number of other interviews.

I would definitely advise anyone interested to check out the original writer's bible, which someone has uploaded here. If you're looking for a nice book to add to your library, I highly endorse Batman Animated by Chip Kidd & Paul Dini. It's presently out of print. Some sellers are asking prohibitively high prices, but others are more reasonable.
Old 08-04-13, 06:57 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765
I can't help with online viewing of the Japanese categories (though I did enjoy "The Borrowers" and "Ponyo") but for the Russian ones, try "Hedgehog in the Fog." I found it on Youtube. I've also watched "Winnie the Pooh and a Busy Day." It's quite different than the Disney version. Also available on Youtube.
After previewing a minute or so from the middle of each I decided on Winnie the Pooh and a Busy Day and enjoyed it so much I watched the first 2 shorts of the series as well. I laughed out loud several times in spite of knowing the stories forward and backward (my daughter *loves* Pooh and we read the stories on a regular basis when she was little). It is *quite* different than the Disney version. Ia [Eeyore] in ...Busy Day reminds me of Droopy.
Old 08-04-13, 07:34 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765
You know, I never even thought to mention it had a lot of music in it? I guess I don't think of it as such. And I like musicals so it's not a big deal for me. But yeah, the music does have an integral role in the movie and helps the characters express themselves. I am glad you watched it though!
It wouldn't have mattered as I made the purchase before mentioning I'd never seen the film. Of course it caught me off guard upon viewing. I'm sure at some point I knew it was a musical (it *is* a genre listed at IMDB) but forgot. Even if I'd remembered I'd have still purchased the film based solely on its reputation.
Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Incidentally, you'll find Corpse Bride is also a musical. Personally, I think its songs are a lot stronger, though admittedly it's been several years since I last saw it or heard anything from it. Bonejangles is pretty cool.
I picked up a copy of Corpse Bride cheap and watched it several months back (I thought for a challenge but can't find it listed). Like Nightmare... I didn't care for it much because of all the music but the story and animation work is good.
Old 08-04-13, 07:37 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

For my first non-Japanese challenge entry, I pulled out THE MAGIC PONY, a Russian animated feature I used to watch with my daughter when she was little. I had picked up a legit VHS copy sometime since then and finally watched it. (The previous VHS copy was gray-market.) The film has a 1977 (c) date and the English dub was clearly done in the late 1970s, a determination I'm able to make thanks to the participation of Erin Moran (from "Happy Days"), although I'm not sure whose voice she dubs (probably that of the Magic Pony itself). The other name actors in the dub are Jim Backus and Hans Conried, both of whom did lots of animation voices.

But I come up with a mystery when trying to determine the origin of the film itself. There are two Soviet animated films listed with this title, one made in 1947 that was about an hour long and a remake by the same director made in 1975 that was a little longer. My copy is 74 min., so it's probably the 1975 remake. But the fluid animation is of such quality that I'm thinking it might be from 1947. It just doesn't look like 1970s Russian animation. IMDB says the 1975 remake was done because the 1947 version was in such bad shape it couldn't be restored. Yet, when I did a Google search, I found an image from a different animated version. And when I googled the 1947 version, I came up with images from the film I saw. Which doesn't confirm anything, of course. It just deepens the mystery. Here are some screen grabs from the VHS:



Old 08-04-13, 08:08 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by lisadoris
...As many times as I've watched and loved "Beware the Gray Ghost" I never realized that was Adam West doing the voice until now!
In spite of your mentioning this I'd forgotten which episode West was in so when he first speaks in "Beware the Gray Ghost" I said to my grandson, who was watching with me, "Wow! That's Adam West doing the voice of the Gray Ghost! He played Batman in the 1966 TV show!" He thought that was cool! My next thought was "I need to pull out Batman: The Movie for him to watch" followed by "The people holding up the release of that series on DVD need to get over their issues and sign the papers to allow the release."
Old 08-04-13, 09:36 AM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

Due to all of the talk of Batman: TAS, I thought I would post a little heads up for anyone interested. There is a CGI Batman cartoon, Beware the Batman on Cartoon Network on Sunday mornings, and possible Saturdays as well. It is part of their DC Nation lineup.
Old 08-04-13, 01:27 PM
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Re: 4th Annual August Animation Challenge - Discussion Thread

I just watched an episode of Harveytoons on KTV and saw something there I had forgotten, as I hadn't really watched Harveytoons since I was a kid. But after the two cartoons, there was a short that was actually educational, as this episode of Harveytoons showed cartoons set in Mexico, and the toon take was actually teaching kids about Mexico. Now that is good wholesome cartoons that they don't make anymore.

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