DreamWorks Makes Bird Films, According to the “NY Times” DreamWorks Makes Bird Films, According to the “NY Times”
Bad Ideas

DreamWorks Makes Bird Films, According to the “NY Times”

The New York Times shows how not to make an animation reference in this front page article about the parakeet boom in London:

Individually, any of the rose-ringed parakeets could be the star of a DreamWorks film, electric green with bright pink beaks and the voluble personalities that have long made the tropical species a popular household pet.

Because, you know, DreamWorks has done so many films featuring colorful tropical birds, like How to Train Your Parakeet, Kung Fu Parakeet 2, and MegaParakeet. It’s pretty obvious what film the writer was trying to reference, and for the record, the studio that made the film wasn’t DreamWorks.

  • Funkybat

    You’d be amazed how many people out there mis-attribute 3D animated films. I have a (non-artist) friend who often mixes up whether Dreamworks or Pixar has made the latest CG film that he’s seen trailers for. He can usually tell after watching the movie itself, but I don’t know if that’s due to the art and storytelling, or if it’s because of the huge logo shown at the beginning of the film.

    Of course, the NY Times should strive for a little more accuracy than Joe Schmo off the street…

    • People in the animation community can easily identify the difference between Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony, and Blue Sky. But talk to busy parents, and other people not-so-in-tuned to animation (I’m a parent myself so I often gauge the opinions of other parents regarding feature animation) and most can’t tell the difference. To them it all looks the same. This is not surprising, because, once you step out of your shell known, as “the animation community”, it really does look all the same.

      My first naive opinion of digital animation was: with digital technology anything is possible and the flood gates of visual variety would soon be opened. But, unfortunately, this has never happened. I’m always questioning: why has digital animation in animated features, stylistically, become so derivative? I assume that most studios look at the bottom line, and copy the look of Pixar, since they are the most successful studio. But maybe it has to do with some technological limitations of CG itself.

      • Yeah. When exactly did it become mandatory for cartoon animals to have photoreal skin texture and slavish evocations of even the tiniest anatomical detail? Picture Jiminy Cricket modeled, textured and rendered in the relatively simplified style of BUG’S LIFE or ANTZ, with simulated cloth wardrobe and dynamically simulated secondary animation. The appeal would likely be diminished. Stuart Little is repulsive compared to Babbit and Moustello.

    • Iritscen

      It’s worth noting that, as far as I know, all the major studios are using Pixar’s RenderMan software, not that that precludes them from pushing the software to produce a different kind of look. I don’t blame non-animation lovers for being unable to see the differences between studios, not one bit.

  • tedzey

    Well… what WAS the film the journalist was referencing?

    • 2011 Adult

      *slaps forehead*

  • Celia

    RIO was made at Blue Sky.

  • This is not surprising. For most adults, to admit to much awareness of the animation biz would be too geeky. It’s much like most adults will not discuss having seen an animated film without injecting the cover of taking some child along.

  • Obviously they’re talking about the Dreamworks’ classic “Paulie”. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0125454/

    It’s great that the NY Times is so current with their references and have such great taste in fine cinema.

  • 2011 Adult

    Don’t journalists know to do research before writing?

    Wait a minute! Doing research should be something YOU LEARN IN GRADE SCHOOL! Thanks for making our civilization look pathetic, NYTimes.

  • Omnitarian

    I think the idea was to compare the birds’ colors and personality to characters within DreamWorks as a whole. Not to directly reference RIO. It’s hard to argue that Dreamworks doesn’t use colorful, saturated palettes and characters with hyperactive mannerisms.

    • you just described all of the CG animation studios…

  • The big studios are all so similar who could tell the difference anyway? Cut this guy some slack. It’s not his fault that studios just rip each other off over and over until you can’t tell who made what.

  • The Gee

    Blame the entire paper for a reporter and and editor not being animation dorks.

    If anything, it comes across as just a clumsy example of how CG flicks are overly bright and colorful. And, most likely the writer thought any reader would get it.

    But, that said, I’m sure any of you could contact the Times and the will run a correction on that clumsy allusion.

    Go for it. It is partially how newspapers work. But, don’t expect a citation, like, “So Andso of Albany, NY points out…”

    Here’s a gimme for ya:

    It more in line with facilitating a valid conversation. And, since that was written by a Slate writer, you know half the reason for its inclusion that LIST was to be link bait.

    • Luke

      I will blame him, not for his lack of animation geekiness, but failing to figure out what would have taken the reporter less than 5 minutes on google, in a professional industry. The fact that no one checked this makes me sigh at their ignorance.

      • The Gee

        OK. I just checked out the article and, like Amid wrote, it is about Parakeets in London.

        The animation reference was an aside and not a key point in the story.

        The writer most likely thought they were being clever and made a clumsy reference or like I wrote, alluded to how Dreamworks–known for doing CG animation–makes brightly colored creatures. If you read the article, she tries to be a colorful writer. Purple prose and all that.

        I just don’t see “yet another black eye on animation” and “the people who work in and those who love animation” being even something worth considering here.

        Hold the the writer and her editors accountable if it turns out the article is actually about penguins and not parakeets. If he didn’t fact check that then get indignant.

        If anything, I guess I can appreciate that Amid reads the Science section of the Times.

  • The journalist was saying that the bird could be in one of those films because the bird is colorful, not because the bird is a bird.

    • tedzey

      don’t you mean because THE BIRD IS THE WORD??!!
      (come on! Don’t tell me nobody else was thinking that!)

      • Hulk

        Strange. I thought that would have been bigger news. Haven’t you heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heard…

      • snip2354

        It has come to my attention that only 1 out of every 3 American citizens are unaware that the bird is the word. I, for one, dream of a world where EVERYBODY knows that the bird is the word.


  • Nicola

    I agree that he just referencing “any big studio” because of the colors and personality. If the journalist said “Pixar” instead it wouldn’t seem as weird, would it?

  • hallam

    [Comment removed by editors: Repeats an earlier comment in this thread.”]

  • Hal

    Whelp, must be a slow news day a-today on the Brew. Still, its good to know the avisodomists of the world have plenty of animated spank material these days! Not just for furries anymore…

  • Degeaffusunuman

    Dreamworks = Animated 3D movie about animals. I don’t find anything wrong with the reference dude.

  • Pete Bangs

    I must be really dumb because I read it as “The bright green and pink bird would make a good lead character in a dreamworks movie.” Never assumed any reference to Rio or kung fu parakeet. Jeez I’m so naive for assuming the best of people. I’m going to go and stand in a corner and flagellate myself with a copy of the New York Times.

  • It’s quite interesting that people are so quick to remember which star is featured in a movie, or who directs it, but they don’t want to take time to learn who created animated movies. Especially when the players are the same ones (Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, Blue Sky). Even some artists who are not well knowledgeable in animation mistaken Pixar’s work, they think Disney did the animation.

    But at the same time, the animation community needs to take part in educating society what’s what in the field of animation. Who the players are, and what they accomplished or what they’re known for. And keep the educating consistent to society. Then I’m sure it’ll actually wake up and recognize that animation is not just for kids, and that there would be more engagement. Hopefully.