Gabe Swarr was commissioned to create this Flash-animated musical piece below advertising Radiohead and AniBoom’s “In Rainbows Music Video Contest.” As Brew readers know, I’m not a fan of contests likethese, but of all the animation contests one could possibly enter, the AniBoom ones tend to be the least icky. For example, this particular contest is structured in such a way so that storyboards are judged first and you’re not being asked to submit an entirely finished product. Afterwards, the winning storyboards are even given a small sum of money to produce their videos.
As for Swarr’s piece, it’s a large leap from his usually recognizable work. He explains on his blog: “My approach was to keep as close to Radiohead’s established video style. My natural style is kind of opposite of that, so it was a cool creative challenge.”
I see a lot of animated features in advance and, for the most part, keep my opinions to myself until the movie is in general release. Today I had the opportunity to screen Kung Fu Panda and cannot contain myself. I’m not going to write a review or post spoilers – but I just want to alert you to what I believe is one of the best CG animated films I’ve ever seen.
Yup. Right up there with The Incredibles. Dreamworks has done it. No joke.
The art direction, the voices, the character animation, the comedy, the action scenes, the opening 2-D cartoon sequence, the heart… it all works. Don’t miss this in a theatre. I don’t care what you think of the trailer, or Dreamworks track record, or anything like that. None of that matters. This film is good, and will a big hit. Mark my words – you’ll want the action figures.
Yes, this is a rave. I’ll post a more formal review as we get closer to its release. I just wanted to be the first to tell you.
[Disclosure: I am currently working on a book (unrelated to Kung Fu Panda) for Dreamworks.]
Everything’s better when it’s in CG…even presidential candidate Ron Paul. Of all the recent animated politicalads, this commercial with its grandiose histrionics and over-the-top imagery ranks in my book as the most memorable spot of this political season. It’s directed by Nathan Evans of ArcFX.
Speaking of creepy CG translations of 2D characters, the new adult-targeted Cheetos ad campaign starring Chester Cheetah is highly questionable, not only because of its mean-spirited and unfunny message but also for its incredibly poor and unappealing animation. The integration into the live-action is particularly weak, and the character’s scaling into the real-world looks wrong, probably because our eyes have difficulty accepting an adult cheetah the size of a domesticated cat.
Animation writer and critic Emru Townsend was diagnosed last December with leukemia and a condition called monosomy 7. He is in need of finding a bone marrow donor match soon. While donors can’t specify who they want to donate too, Emru’s family has started a website HealEmru.com that offers information on bone marrow donation and teaches adults how to sign up for their country’s bone marrow registry.
For those who aren’t familiar with Emru’s work, he founded Frames Per Second Magazine in 1991 and has continued its publication in one form or another up through today at FPSmagazine.com. As a fellow publisher, I can say that nobody publishes an animation-related magazine to get rich; we do it because we love the art form, and Emru has for decades been one of animation’s best friends and most intelligent critics. Both Jerry and I wish him a speedy recovery.
In this day and age of slick and mostly overwrought CG visuals, it’s refreshing to see some lo-fi cutout animation, especially when it’s as beautifully done as the latest Spoon music video “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” The video is directed by Double Triple and Ryan Junell (Junell animated the Obama campaign spots we wrote about last month). Be sure and also check out this terrific Flickr photoset offering a look at the video’s production process.
Speaking of Leslie Cabarga (as I did in the previous post below), Leslie just designed the beautiful poster for the 2nd Annual Channel Frederator Awards (click thumbnail at left for larger image).
Fred Seibert threw a great big Hollywood party last year to honor animators and cartoonists, and he’s doing it again on June 4th. This time the bash will be in New York City, downtown at Canal Room (Broadway and Canal). Fred will post more details on his blog as they are set.
Last year Seibert’s CFA honored John Lasseter as “(Animated) Cartoonist of the Year”. I’m not sure what nominees they have in mind for this year, but I’ll bet our Brew readers can name a few deserving individuals.
The latest compilation book of vintage Harvey Comics, Hot Stuff – Harvey Comics Classics Vol. 3 is now on sale (though the official publication date is technically next Wednesday, March 26). Leslie Cabarga and I present the best stories and art from this classic Harvey series, which features (in my humble opinion) the finest comic art that Warren Kremer and Howard Post ever did for the company. Leslie laid out the book, and touched up the color art and original black & white proofs for outstanding reproduction, I provide a historical overview of the strip in my Introduction, and Harvey expert Mark Arnold contributes an informative Foreword. Check out the amazon link to see a preview of several pages. For 480 pages of devilish fun (only $13.57 on amazon), you can’t go wrong.
No, it’s not Jerry Seinfeld in a bee costume – it’s Jim Carrey dressed as an elephant shamelessly cross-promoting Horton Hears A Who! on Fox’s American Idol last week. Carrey, no stranger to looking and acting silly, seems almost embarrassed to be hawking the kid flick on this show.
Carrey comes in about 1:15 and his shtick ends at the 2:45 mark.
I alert you to this Disney auction, not because I know Brew readers are financially well off and can afford these vintage cels (several with Walt’s autograph), toys and ephemera — but because I know you will enjoy the ample photographs of this material pictured on the site. I certainly am! Check it out! Good stuff!
Brew Radio Alert: Tomorrow afternoon (March 15th) I’ll spend an hour on the radio discussing 101 Dalmatians, Horton Hears A Who and other cartoon trivia on Movie Talk with Dave Dubos. The program is broadcast out of New Orleans on WGSO 990AM from 12noon till 3pm Central (I’ll be on the final hour from 2-3pm Central/3-4pm Eastern/12 noon-1pm Pacific). You can listen live – or download a podcast at a later time (also check out my previous appearance on the show last month, Feb. 16th).