Sean Connery is “Sir Billi”

Can this skateboarding octogenarian and his goat save the day? That’s the setup for Sir Billi, a new animated feature with the voice of Sean Connery. Their publicist wrote us, “Wanted to reach out to you with the first ‘sneak peek’ of the sizzle reel!” Szz-z-z-z…if they’re selling the sizzle here, I shudder to think what the steak looks like. Then again, hearing Connery yell, “This Bessie Boo is our beaver!” isn’t entirely devoid of entertainment value either.

UPDATE: Sean Connery explains why he is certain this is a “first-class” project:


  • Tony Bancroft

    That looks horrible beyond words.

  • Justin Spurlin

    You can’t always judge a film by its trailer, but in this case, there is not the tiniest sliver of a chance that this movie is worth watching. It’s pointless to criticize animation that bad, but it is worth noting that even Sean Connery is terrible.

  • tom Stazer

    I didn’t make it past the skateboard – what a nightmare!!

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    Connery will do anything to help Scotland. It’s too bad the movie looks like shite.

  • Christopher Smigliano

    I feel illi.

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    Oh
    my
    God.

  • Randy Koger

    Oh God….are you kidding me?
    Is this crap for real?

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    I was so stoked when I thought the opening music was Toto’s DUNE theme being reused. Then I perk up as I realize that goat is wearing Bruce Lee’s GAME OF DEATH jumpsuit a la KILL BILL. So I guess there’s a mandatory KILL BILLY GOAT GRUFF gag in there somewhere?

  • kev

    uh . . . huh.

  • Karl Hungus

    Aaaagh! MY EYES!!

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

    This thing seems to be made for in-jokes, strangely enough. The whole section parodying the Star Wars pod race scenes, for a start, and Hal pointed out a bunch more.

    What would be really be cool is if this were one big fake-out, and the actual movie looked totally different.

  • http://www.theAMIGOunit.com nelson

    Id say put these people in jail but you know who would find his way out – maybe his next film should be about a senile man in a retirement home – “CAN HE ESCAPE BEFORE SOMEONE PULLS THE PLUG!?” ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Rooniman

    I am lost for words. This is absolute crap. Why Sean, WHY?!

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    Man, those are some ugly characters. They look like player avatars from a bad video game. And why is Sean Connery’s character as tall as the building’s awning at 1:00 and 1:06?

  • Mark

    Dear Mr. Connery,

    With ALL due respect, FIRE YOUR AGENT!

  • Roberto Severino

    WTF? Is this for real? The animation looks like it came from a really primitive video game from the 1990s. I admit. This looked and sounded so bad, it was actually funny for me. I still don’t believe this can be real, but it sadly is, and I can’t believe a prolific actor like Connery would even take part in this at all.

    At least the designs don’t even look half as bad as that Smurfed up movie that The Brew posted the other week, and that really isn’t saying much, considering this movie seems like crap too.

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    I really really hope this bombs. Because no amount of ‘we can be just as good as the bigger studios’ should save this film. It deserves to fail, it’s only been made to make money.

  • Tonma

    I just can’t stand here an see all this bashing go on!! So I’ll have to be the one to speak in defense of this movie:

    Aaron: He’s standing on a box, that’s why he looks too tall.

    Well… mmmh … that’s all I got.

    …Thank you.

  • Professor Widebottom

    Yeah, but did you catch the Astin Martin cameo? Yipee!

    I’m having flashbacks of recalling how Marlon Brando did a cartoon voice of a woman for his last film gig: “Big Bug Man”. I hope fate plays a better hand for Connery.

  • Isaac

    Sir Sean must have wanted his name on “Scotland’s first full-length CGI movie”. I like his interview; even though he’s showering the movie with praise, you can tell he despises it.

  • http://sirrichardwentworth.bandcamp.com/ Sir Richard

    Where to begin… where to begin…

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    Would he rather get paid peanuts with Disney, or be associated with that?

  • http://www.animationbrad.com Brad

    I wish I had a grandpa like that.
    The kind that skateboards
    with a goat that wears clothes and talks
    and then they risk their lives to save beavers
    in pajamas from drowning.

    But yeah the subtlties
    in the movement of the hair
    and so-forth going from scene to scene.

  • dave

    Dear Mr. Connery:

    AREN’T YOU RETIRED???

  • Keith

    I don’t think that’s Connery’s voice as the Evil Policeman saying “This Bessie Boo is our beaver!”, so there goes THAT entertainment value.

    At least there’s still a goat in a yellow track suit, that always spells box-office gold.

  • Chuz

    Wow. Okay then. Everything about those two videos is uncomfortable.

  • Tedzey

    This might’ve been a different fate for Sean Connory’s career in voice acting if the original cut of “The thief and the cobbler” was releases> Just saying.

  • charles xavier

    Sir Billi will be a delightful role model for senior citizens everywhere

  • Bill Stewart

    I can’t..I just can’t…..This makes Delgo look good and that’s some feat!

  • http://www.markmcdermott.com Mark McDermott

    At least Delgo tried to create its own designs. The whole movie looks patched together out of some “CGI Clip Art” disc, same as “Foodfight.” The waves in that rushing river look like I’ve seen them in more than a few screen savers.

  • Chris

    He did it because their was a free trip to the Bahamas!

  • steppo

    retirement = favors for dear friends or not giving a f–k. We’ll always have Bond. live well and be happy Mr. Connery.

  • http://seezen.net David

    This makes me sad for Sean. They need to go back to the storyboard and work out some good cinematography. Then, they need to work on the limp character acting. The background work is ok.

    I’m rooting for these guys.

  • Dan

    Looks like all the money went to the Bahamas!

  • Matt

    I feel sorry that Sean got duped cause he can’t tell the difference in quality and that will reflect bad on him. What a waste of a voice. Should of stayed with Dragon Heart. I hope no one see’s this film so it won’t reflect bad on small studios that don’t take a dump on a CD with ancient animation techniques and software and try to sell it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Feels like Scotland’s answer to Wallace & Gromit if only for the pairing of the gramps and goat. I’ll pass on this one.

  • Edwin Austin

    That was just sad.

  • Hans

    The character acting is crap, but hey: even making a bad animated feature takes a lot of time and energy, and I’m sure they did the best they could within the budget they had.
    Anyway, it’s a pity that Sean is connected to a project that probably only kids under five will appreciate. Although… the film just might get a ‘cult’ status!

  • David.Seth

    Looks really awful. The question is, will it be worse than Zardoz?

  • Paul N

    The You Tube links aren’t working for me, but based on what’s said above that might be a good thing…

  • John Lotshaw

    “Do you expect me to talk?”

    “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to phone in a performance in a poorly done computer animated film!”

    “Could you just cut me in half with the laser instead?”

  • TheGunheart

    Is it just me or, do all the characters look uncomfortably like they’ve been superimposed/chroma keyed into the shots? Quite a feat, given it’s supposed to be all CGI. What did they do? “Animate” the characters and then plop them against pre-done footage of the backgrounds?

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    @gunheart Yes the backgrounds look like pre-renders. None of the lighting fits at all. It’s like a 90′s Final Fantasy game.

  • Professor Widebottom

    @Paul –Zardoz was flawed –yes Connery ran about in red diapers– but was a very excellent allegory… no comparison.

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    I couldn’t quite get a grasp of the story because I couldn’t hear it over the sound of my eyeballs screaming.

  • McDoogle

    Character Design looks like a 12 year old drew them.

    Rendering and lighting is…awful.

    Animation doesn’t look bad, but it certainly isn’t great.

    Glasgow Animation should just stop production now. & sell it’s assets. It wont make any money back.

    For people who I know worked on this, I’m so sorry. You can do better.

  • Richard

    A rather strange film to come out of retirement for

  • Serge the seal

    Don’t feel sorry for Sean. He invested in this and his wife’s paintings have been inserted into it somewhere too. It’s a vanity project and the producers have been only too happy to take an octoganarian grandpa’s skateboard and sell it to make this horrible film.

    And they couldn’t even draw a correct Scottish train!

  • Marie.P

    I think people are forgetting these movies are aimed at children!!…i have three kids who just watched this trailor and now can’t wait to see it….job done!

  • Terry Walsh

    WTF ? ! ? ! ? ! ?

  • David Mackenzie

    I’m actually embarassed to say I live in Glasgow. That is awful. They’re selling this to television, right? It’d barely be acceptable by the standards of some zero-audience satellite channel let alone one of the main ones.

  • http://www.stevelightart.com Steve Light

    Make it stop! Make it stop!
    Is it that the public, Sean Connery included, can’t tell the difference in the quality of animation? To compare this to the animation in Ice Age and Shrek is amazing to me. I think non-artists really can not tell the difference–it is scary and depressing.

  • David Mackenzie

    An explanation from those responsible:

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6982259.ece?token=null&offset=12&page=2

    >>Hartmann says the animations that have been released by Disney and Pixar in the past five years, while technically brilliant and highly entertaining, have become too clinical and repetitive. “The worlds they present are so perfect, they are not believable,” he says. “It is the eternal recurrence of Nietzsche. Our film shows the dirt and the imperfections in people. We’ve created a real world. It’s a risk we have taken but you have to have that edge to stop it being one-dimensional.”

    Ah, I see – it’s poorly made ON PURPOSE!

  • Ian

    Sure, I’m laughing along now, but I dread the arrival of the first English-language trailer of “Luke&Lucy: Texas Rangers”, Belgium’s first feature length CGI crapfest…

  • fishmorgjp

    Ooh-er… that is bad. Looks like a parody of poor CGI films.

  • http://beaudetteblog.blogspot.com Grant Beaudette

    Quick! What this movie actually about? I’d like to think that no matter how awful a story is you could explain it in a 2:45 trailer. I guess I’ve been proven wrong.

  • http://saturn2169.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    This really looks like Hoodwinked with Grandpa to me. Which I suppose isn’t all bad. Aside from the low budget animation and so-so character designs I rather enjoyed Hoodwinked.

  • Bob

    He turned down Lord of the Rings and the Matrix, but did … this?

    Suddenly, Roger Moore looks a lot less ridiculous.

  • Terry Walsh

    One wonders if Connery and his associates on this project ever actually took the time to check out what their competition was in CGI animated features.

    It’s not only that the character designs are actually ugly and unimaginative, or that the animation is amateurish and mediocre, but there’s an aura of staleness and primitiveness in every frame of this trailer.

    I’ll look forward to picking up a DVD copy at the 99 cents store to add to my collection of really bad movies.

  • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

    ……………………………………..________
    ………………………………,.-’”……………….“~.,
    ………………………..,.-”……………………………..”-.,
    …………………….,/………………………………………..”:,
    …………………,?………………………………………………\,
    ………………./…………………………………………………..,}
    ……………../………………………………………………,:`^`..}
    ……………/……………………………………………,:”………/
    …………..?…..__…………………………………..:`………../
    …………./__.(…..”~-,_…………………………,:`………./
    ………../(_….”~,_……..”~,_………………..,:`…….._/
    ……….{.._$;_……”=,_…….”-,_…….,.-~-,},.~”;/….}
    ………..((…..*~_…….”=-._……”;,,./`…./”…………../
    …,,,___.\`~,……”~.,………………..`…..}…………../
    …………(….`=-,,…….`……………………(……;_,,-”
    …………/.`~,……`-………………………….\……/\
    ………….\`~.*-,……………………………….|,./…..\,__
    ,,_……….}.>-._\……………………………..|…………..`=~-,
    …..`=~-,_\_……`\,……………………………\
    ……………….`=~-,,.\,………………………….\
    …………………………..`:,,………………………`\…………..__
    ……………………………….`=-,……………….,%`>–==“
    …………………………………._\……….._,-%…….`\
    ……………………………..,<`.._|_,-&“…………….`

    Yea I went there.

  • Seth

    Oh. When I first read the description, I thought it said skateboarding ORANGUTAN. I’m not sure if this is better or worse.

  • annoyingmouse

    It’s a shame that this will get attention because of its star but very few of the actually talented animators in Scotland will get the same thing. Lots of talent listed here, for example: http://www.scottishanimationgroup.co.uk/directory/

    I don’t work in the industry myself but I remember speaking to someone who worked on this a couple of years ago and it sounded like hell. I also know that quite a few people working in animation in Scotland don’t think much of Glasgow Animation. Admittedly, like I said, that was a couple of years ago and I’d love to read from anyone who worked on the project why it looks so bad.

  • Bob

    In the trailer, Connery sounds as if he read each line only once, while lying in bed.

  • peter wassink

    i like the background at 1:35
    with the little plane and the shadow it casts as if its a little model plane in a set, it has a nice surreal quality, that i can’t put my finger on.

    On second look i noticed that the shadow of the plane is in the opposite direction to the shadows of the landscape itself.

    Obviously there are too many mistakes and examples of poor animation in this little clip to list. I agree with Hartmann that Disney and Pixar are in some regards too perfect, but if you want to present an alternative you should at least have some taste and originality. None of that present here i’m afraid.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blogs/red-pill-junkie red pill junkie

    First Zardos.

    Now *this*…

    Well, no one can have an spotless career in the entertainment industry.

    PS: Why are upstarting animation studios so eager to produce ‘ride-of-your-life’ kind of films anyway? It’s like trying to compete in the LeMans 500 with a Yugo.

    The backgrounds are kind of nice. But the characters (apart from their questionable design) don’t seem to ‘blend’ into the landscape of the scenes at all. Is this the poor man’s version of 3D?

  • Warhead

    Wow, he turned down Toy Story 3, but wanted to be in THIS!? Good god this looks horrible. The acting is downright poor (and not in the so bad it’s good sense, in the so bad it’s dull sense), the story sounds poor, and the animation is crap and chock full of easily avoidable mistakes (such as when see Connery’s character from 1:00 to 1:06, he’s larger than the scenery, something that could have been corrected if the animators just PAID ATTENTION!). Sean Connery, please fire your agent, NOW.

  • Katie Cropper

    ok I can almost see why he would do it.. If I’m going with the whole glasgow film pride or something but this is like.. so far gone. I have no idea really what this film is about there is almost zero quality art direction or writing or oversight is seems, and any budget they did have was given to the highlander and quality be damned!

  • Ross

    I don’t know which video is more painful to watch.

  • david

    this is awesome. I think it has a lot of potential. Skateboarding grandpa and goat buddy saving beavers. It’s a very cartoony idea, just that the cg kind of ruins it.

  • Jeff Haynes

    Great computer animation! If it was 1985!

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    WE’RE ALL PART OF THE PROBLEM. All the Youtube hits this “sizzle” reel is getting will help some sleazebag producer convince some idiot distributor that this is worth a theatrical release. Then we have no one to blame but ourselves when our grandchildren hate us for not being a Scottish skateboarding grandpa after repeat viewings on cable. Luckily I already have a goat dressed like Uma Thurman in KILL BILL, so I’m par 1 on the Sir Billi course.

  • http://rabidmilkman.blogspot.com Aaron Ludwig

    Besides the horrible trailer, two problems:

    1) Sean lists Shrek and Ice Age 1 and 2 as the first examples of successful computer animation….

    2) The interviewer responds by attributing Shrek to Pixar.

  • marc

    @peter wassink: Nice observation on the plane’s shadow, which reveals that TheGunheart’s comment is spot-on. Freeze it the moment the plane enters at 1:34 and you see the plane’s shadow against the distant mountains at least 3/4 a mile wide. By the time the plane is exiting at 1:37, it’s shadow is now on a closer hillside and only about the size of an oak tree. Shows that the plane and its shadow were animated against a virtualized green screen with little consideration to how it would fit the still background. Foreground trees gently dance in the breeze, while background trees are rock steady, and fluffy clouds shear with hurricane force. Take that, Pixar, with your not-believable physics-following worlds!

    Someone at Goodtimes just realized they’ve been spending too much money on producing actual 3D environments. Then again, maybe there’s already a “Catch the Beaver! Surfin’ Gramps to the Rescue” video in the Best Buy bargain basket for all I know.

  • http://www.vortex42.co.uk Paul J. McConnochie

    Well – What can I say…

    I am rather embarrassed by this film, just for the fact that I am a Scottish Film-maker. I am very concerned that the poor standards on this Sir Billi film will reflect badly on the rest of the Scottish Film-making community.

    Scotland is a hot-bed for talent in the film-industry. We have excellent Directors and Animators living and working here. This single film shouldn’t reflect what we are capable of.

    I have to commend the Producers for getting this off the ground and landing some very talented voice-actors… However, the animation, rendering and compositing is so poor that it’s really inexcusable.

    As CG goes, this is Jimmy Neutron territory. Really poor.

    I must say that some of the rendered backdrops look superb, and some talented people must have been involved in the production at some stage… However, the backgrounds aren’t consistent… One is good, one is awful, another is good… But the tacked on, overlaid-with-no-care, characters and machines just destroy any crediBILLIty this film might have had.

    In Scotland we are capable of producing some pretty special films… I guess it just didn’t all come together on this one.

    I feel bad for Connery. He picked the wrong studio to back… There are many more here who would have put his backing and gravitas to far greater use.

    Ah well.

  • Niall

    Well. There’s a rash of “First full-length CGI movie of Insert European Country Name Here” lately; due to obvious production costs, most are in much lower quality levels than Pixar or Dreamworks. I accept that as a given; it’s seeing what is done within those constraints that matters.

    Previously I have seen two good and one bad example. Spain’s The Missing Lynx (discussed here at cb: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/the-missing-lynx.html) was well-received, despite being a little rubbery at times; but the acting is well-felt and there’s genuine heart in it. The story is simplified but not dumb, trusting kids can ask questions for the rest, or look it up themselves. Setting the movie within the country it was made gives it bonus points.

    Luxembourg’s Le Roman de Renart from 2006 (and I’m not prodiving screenshots, sparing your eyeballs), on the other hand, is very similar to this Billi movie: done with a game engine for quick, fast and cheap rendering, it is doubly hampered with a really, and I mean really painfully stupid series of clichés masquerading as a plot, tripled with a few really, really ugly character designs and the standard for-kids overacting, yelling and general dumbing-down one expects when 800-year old stories are adapted for grade schoolers.

    The really good example is Ireland’s The Story of Kells (which should need no introduction here) – proof that it _can_ be done, if you use intelligence right at the creation point. It never tries to portray anything realistically – it’s all about design, and it has design and atmosphere to spare.

    It’s fine that this is a vanity project for Sir Connery, but as silly and for-kids as this was meant to be, it still could have been better so easily, and this is said within the cheap CGI movie frame of mind. Kudos for trying, but there seems too much excitement on screen, and too little behind it (or behind any of the line readings shown in the trailer).

  • Warhead

    Paul does have a point. A country who releases a terrible film lessens the demand for other films from this country, even if there is quality films there. If this manages a international release, it could surely kill anymore Scottish animation from coming into other countries.

  • David Mackenzie

    Paul, living in Scotland, I’m quite interested to hear about what good animated stuff this country has turned out – because I’ve never seen anything that really impressed me. Can you point me to anything that’ll change my mind?

  • http://invaderpetblog.blogspot.com Brandon Pierce

    Sean Connery has refused a cameo in a Bond film since Roger Moore took over, but here he’s coming out of retirement for a bad CGI film.

    They must have had some incriminating photos of Connery to blackmail him with.

  • Josef

    I’m sure like most actors, Sean Connery accepted his part in the film blindly without really knowing how it was going to turn out. You can’t really blame him for what Billi Productions has created.

  • Serge

    ;osef, read the earlier posts. Sean is a partner in this. He partly paid for it and is promoting it now. He’s hardly a victim.

  • http://lwnagy.blogspot.com/ Lyle

    pretty bad stuff there

  • Doug Drown

    What an atrocity. I feel badly for Connery, too. I wonder if the poor guy has ever actually watched any of the newer, really good CGI cartoons. It’s hard to believe he backed this.

  • Serge the seal

    If it’s the ride of my life I’d rather stay in the garage.

  • Biggles12

    The Illusionist was made in Edinbugh with Scottish tallent. As a Glaswegian who is a trained animator (now working in film restoration) and worked for an animation studio Glasgow (not this one), I can out my hand on my heart and say, this is dire.

    I’m embarrassed by it. It’s not a matter of saying “Scotland is capable of better animation”, anyone is better than this. As ‘annoyingmouse’ says, I’m pretty sure there are reasons for this being so unacceptable.

  • David Mackenzie

    Biggles12: film restoration, in Glasgow? Is this for the Scottish Screen Archive or is there somewhere else I should be looking for jobs? :D

  • Gregory

    I actually worked on this project several years ago.I have since gone on to do much better things,I assure you.
    It has been on-going for a long time and staff turn over was phenomenol.
    I really wish one of my old collegues would upload the original short film that this was based on.It is truly shocking.What you see today is a million light years better and the artists had to fight tooth n nail to get it to where it is now (believe it or not) due to the delusions and intransigent nature of the “creative” forces behind this disaster.Every change we tried to impliment was torturous.I actually never thought it would see the light of day.Yes,some talented folk passed through the doors of Glasgow animation only to be fettered with creative chains from the outset.There was also a policy of hiring foreign students with little English who were paid shockingly low wages.I remember one Italian chap couldnt afford to leave and go home.

    What kept many of us on was,in fact, the epicly bad nature and direction of this show.We had so much fun slating this project every lunch time.One had no idea what mad-cap decisions were coming next and they were almost a daily occurence.The Goat,incidentally is a bed wetting homosexual and this aspect of his character was pushed and pushed.I can’t wait to see if this is still the case.I would not show this film to my children as a result.

    The folk behind this project are barmy but I thank them for all the laughs. (but not the crappy wages).It sickens me though to see em take credit for the efforts of others.I know that if it were not for certain people in the studio this would never have gotten off the ground at all.Maybe that would have been better in hindsight!

  • Keith Paynter

    If it’s good enough for Scotland, then…

    …umm…

    …it’s…good enough for Scotland…

    (Draco was better…even looks like Connery…)

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    Good grief!

    I remember seeing adverts for jobs to work on this for a long peroid of time a few years back.; and I feel sorry for all of those successful applicants that actually did work on this, and hope they have found something a bit more ‘professional’ to work on soon.

  • mal

    Thanks to Gregory for his honesty. The problem seems to be the couple who created the idea. Not content to be the creators, scriptwriters and producers and writers of the songs too, apparently.
    The husband a ‘part time’ illustrator took it upon himself, by their own admission to ‘direct’ this.
    Their are plenty of talented animators, directors and even graduates and students who could do a better job, within the UK. So why they publicise that the had to ‘scour’ the world for the ‘best’ animators, (read, ‘cheapest’ if Gregory recounts his experiences correctly), I wouldn’t know.
    It is insulting to the good talent and Universities we have here.
    But it is common place now for the non-creatives to want to run the show creatively, we see this at the BBC and throughout the UK.
    They have no technical know how or basic filmic ability, they choose colours like they choose Farrow and Ball colour swatches for their home décor, and treat everybody else as lackeys or a spare pair of hands with no creative mind or experience of their own.
    This whole project seems all about their own fat talentless ego’s, and for the apparent disservice they have done others and damage to the Scottish film animation industry, they deserve to be the laughing stock they have become, and for it all to blow up in their faces.

  • papashango

    Wow…this one is quite shocking really…
    much much worse than some of the lowbudget films coming from asia…

  • ZAR

    Admit it, Sean, your children’s children talked you into it and you gave in because it’s also a Scottish production.

  • Toby

    Everyone seems to be taking this a little personally, which I find strange. Anyway I think this looks good and think people should wait and see the whole movie before passing judgement.

  • Jug

    but Toby – you are also judging it, albeit through rose-tinted classes. The script is poor, the animation worse. Why would you want to see more?