Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996) trailer

Here’s a trailer from one of the rarest Looney Tunes of all: Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension. It’s never been on television, it’s not on DVD or the Internet. Directed by Douglas McCarthy and starring Joe Alaskey as both Daffy Duck and Marvin, the cartoon runs twelve minutes and was produced in wide screen 3-D. It was only screened–as far as I know–at the Warner Bros. Studio Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and at the Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park in Australia. Because it was commissioned and co-owned by Movie World, the video rights to the film are tied up with the theme park.

There were interactive bits in the film, parts when water would spritz the audience and the like. I also recall that the animation was some sort of experimental combination of CGI and hand-drawn that wasn’t completely satisfying… With the 3-D craze back in full-blast it would be a kick to see this again with a current movie release. At least, I think I would…

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  • http://moonshadow.es Alberto A-P

    It is screened regularly at WB Movie World Park in Madrid

  • “Greg Ford”

    Yes, I remember this little gem. Being from Australia, I got to see this a couple of times, when I visited Movie World.
    From memory, it was quite funny, and there was water sprayed a couple of times, (one of them was from when Daffy was speaking, and it felt like spit and perhaps a sneeze?), and air would blow on you feet giving the feeling of spiders?
    It was a while a go, but definetly worth seeing, even with out the interactive stuff!!

  • Vixie

    Somewhere I have a collector’s coin a friend from NYC gave me based on this. Apparently you were given one each time you saw it, and he had some extras, and I added it to my collection of cartoon items.

  • http://smarterthantheaverage.tumblr.com/ Jonathan Sloman

    I must surely be one of the few people to have seen it in both locations. I seem the recall the Australia version didn’t have any of the interactivity of the Manhattan version, nor the specially designed 3D glasses.

  • Roman

    would have loved to have seen this running in the 3D movie at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ… at least it would have been a fit with all the Looney Tunes characters in the park…

  • charlemagne

    Its a much more successful 2.5-d animation than most Cel-shading effects i seen in movies and games!

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    Yep , I watched it in Madrid. It looks better than I remembered though.

    When I read the title and I watch the still image of Marvin in the youtube clip I thought this was a trailer for the upcoming Marvin the martian movie and I thought “Hey, it’s a miracle, this doesn’t look half bad”. Of course the actual movie will too probably look like all those Garfield, Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Yogi Bear movies.

  • http://www.commanderkitty.com Scotty A

    I must have seen this, because I have one of those collector’s coins…somewhere!
    I’m afraid I don’t remember much else from it.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I remember seeing the ads for this on the telly when I was a kid.
    There’s a shot where the audience is spritzed with water and they all react in a cheesy “Oh look out!” kind of way.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I saw this at the World Animation Celebration in L.A. about 1997. Without water sprays.

    I remember being very impressed that they got the the cel look and the stereoscopic effect to work so well together. I had certainly seen 3D movies before but not with this classic style of animation.

    I was also impressed that the characters seemed to have the personality attributes we remembered them for and were not modern incarnations selling vitamins or warning “don’t do drugs”.

    The rep who spoke before the screening said that all the character animation was done with traditional pencil and paper first, then the 3D animators matched that motion frame for frame. That’s what she said.

  • Mathew

    I remember seeing this at the Warner Bros store in Atlanta (I think). I know it wasn’t the one in NY.

  • Captain Hollywood

    I think it’s playing in a little theater shack in the middle of the indoor amusement park in Circus Circus in Vegas right now. At least it was about 2 years ago. It was just okay.

  • Rat

    I worked for a company that did some of the effects, so I got to see this at some point.

    I remember being quite impressed that they put multiple feet that would animate on and off for Marvin’s distinctive walk.

    He had like seven feet during certain frames. Doing this stuff was very very hard at that point. CG animation was in its infancy.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Andrew Gordon of Pixar shared a scene or two of this as his early work at a lecture of his I attended.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    At a lecture of his, Andrew Gordon of Pixar shared a scene or two of this as one of his early jobs.

  • http://www.exclusive-cheese.deviantart.com Taco Wiz

    I remember there being a 3D Marvin short on the Looney Tunes website back in ’02. Could this be it? I believe there was also a 3D Road Runner.

    BTW, I think Cartoon Brew should add a forum. We need a replacement for the corrupt flame-baity Toon Zone.

  • dwolo

    This played at Six Flags Great America for a few years. It’s actually pretty fun.

  • jip

    They also had this as an attraction in Warner Bros Movieworld Germany.
    But it’s replaced by Spongebob now, I think…

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    Interesting – can anyone who’s seen this tell explain more about how the flat 2d cel shading on the characters translated in stereoscopic 3d (especially the outlines), or were these simply 2d characters in 3d Z space on stereoscopic backgrounds?

  • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

    Taco Wiz: I remember there being 3D Marvin shorts on the Warner website—but I recall them as web-only, blackout-type gags in which he tried to attack Earth with one or another weapon, only to have them backfire every time. Seems to me each was only about one to two minutes long.

    I saw the longer short we’re discussing now at the World Animation Celebration, too. To the best of my knowledge, it’s never been online.

  • Earl

    Captain Hollywood is correct. It was playing at Circus Circus. It looks like it’s been changed to a Spongebob Squarepants “4D” show (meaning you probably still get squirted with water.)

  • http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/ Joel Brinkerhoff

    This was done for a theme park in Bottrop Germany in 1996. I worked on the ‘Instant Martians’ rigging and animating them as well as some K9 and Marvin animation. I still have a very cool crew flight jacket with a large insignia on the back saying “Marvin der Marsmensch in der Dritten Dimension”. Fun project!

  • http://www.WarnerArt.com Eric

    Never knew this existed and amazed the trailer didn’t make my skin crawl being that this was a contemporary cartoon using classic Warner characters.

  • Michel Van

    this movie has run also in WB Movie World Germany until 2005
    today its “Movie Park Germany” and runs MGM and Spoonsbob 3D-cartoon

    i try to look “Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension”
    but projector was so bad in shape, i saw only a blurred mix of dopple picture
    i was heavy disappointed…

  • fanatic

    Beautiful!!!

    I want this cartoon in DVD, plus
    “Chariots of Fur”(1994) & “Father of the Bird”(1997).

    Pleeeaseee, WB!

  • http://www.redbubble.com/people/sketchaholic Sketchaholic

    I think this cartoon would be appropriate now considering we now have the digital 3D TV

  • erlab

    Awww I would’ve loved to see this. Traced over 2D drawings, huh? Not to shabby.

    For those who are interested, as part of their new Looney Tunes show, CN will animate new Road Runner shorts in 3D! I doubt it would look as good as this though.

  • Chris

    OH MY GOD! I remember seeing this at Six Flags, like, a year after it premiered. Man, I feel so. . . OLD!!!

  • http://[email protected] Chuck R.

    I saw this in Manhattan as well. I was there for Toyfair, helping to show off some Looney Tunes action figures I had some involvement with. I think I still have the coin everyone’s talking about, as well as a pretty nifty poster. A limited edition serigraphed poster was produced as well. It was very nice, but not cheap.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    @ Hal… They were appeared as genuine 3D forms not 2D drawings on a plane. There were enough outlines on the various body parts to define the shape so that your eye was not conflicted by the flat shading.

    Toon drawing seems to really be about “edges” and that translates real well into 3D. This “Cel Shading” that creates a line on all edges that overlap any other surface is common to almost all 3D animation apps now. Not that every model will look hand drawn with that. You have to build them to exploit the process.

  • Anonymous

    Somewhat surprised that no one has brought up the similar 3D Yellow Submarine ride that was made back in 2000. That and this Marvin the Martian cartoon look as if they shared the same technology and basic design.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Why a lot of the effects were made at Warner Digital in the old Lockheed Skunk Works building in Burbank. You can thank ole Timbo Sarnoff for that place closing down.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    Thanks Robcat2075 – I’ve been working in stereoscopic and wondering how the naturally “flat” depth of the outlines in toon shading translates with the split of the left/right eyes! Sounds like its worth experimenting with!

  • fanatic

    Where I can find the “Marvin the Martian 3-D” webtoons of year 2000?

  • Ivan

    I’m pretty sure I saw this at Six Flags Great America two years ago.